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  1. #16
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    @VIPStephan

    That's why I told Jon to try something like Moz Pro or SEMrush first. I've learned a few things about SEO in my line of work, and this is always the first step: Generate detailed SEO analytics leveraging a service like this.

    Plus we already have engaging, relevant, and dynamic content. Tons of it, actually, dating back to 2002 (I think). So we have all the content we need; we just aren't leveraging the correct techniques to optimize that content for search engine visibility.

    SEO techniques and trends are highly volatile, so, if CF management is behind the curve in terms of what needs to be done to optimize their existing content, then naturally this site is going to be impacted.

    So the analytics reports will tell us what we're doing wrong and what could be done better, and then we must systematically address and resolve these issues. And it doesn't matter if we do this via some vBulletin plugin or not. It just needs to be done (one way or another). At the very least, a forum plugin would enable us to perform many of these optimizations without needing direct access to the underlying code.

    And after the SEO work is complete, then we simply wait some time and evaluate the effectiveness of our optimizations -- before doing anything else.

    In other words, we optimize what we have -- imperfections and all -- and see what happens. If further action is required after addressing SEO, then we deal with those issues when we need to.
    Regards, R.J.

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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chump2877 View Post
    @VIPStephan

    That's why I told Jon to try something like Moz Pro or SEMrush first. I've learned a few things about SEO in my line of work, and this is always the first step: Generate detailed SEO analytics leveraging a service like this.

    Plus we already have engaging, relevant, and dynamic content. Tons of it, actually, dating back to 2002 (I think). So we have all the content we need; we just aren't leveraging the correct techniques to optimize that content for search engine visibility.

    SEO techniques and trends are highly volatile, so, if CF management is behind the curve in terms of what needs to be done to optimize their existing content, then naturally this site is going to be impacted.

    So the analytics reports will tell us what we're doing wrong and what could be done better, and then we must systematically address and resolve these issues. And it doesn't matter if we do this via some vBulletin plugin or not. It just needs to be done (one way or another). At the very least, a forum plugin would enable us to perform many of these optimizations without needing direct access to the underlying code.

    And after the SEO work is complete, then we simply wait some time and evaluate the effectiveness of our optimizations -- before doing anything else.

    In other words, we optimize what we have -- imperfections and all -- and see what happens. If further action is required after addressing SEO, then we deal with those issues when we need to.
    A few members here have really helped me and I personally can not thank them enough.

    It would be a real shame for all the help and knowledge to be lost to somewhere else.

  3. #18
    Senior Coder deathshadow's Avatar
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    To be brutally frank, if you're worried about SEO dicking around throwing some garbage magic bullet black-hat plugin at a forum software is NOT going to deliver when the markup is a non-semantic train wreck of how NOT to write HTML. You want to fix the SEO issues, get rid of that trash altogether and clean up the bloody markup!

    in the typical "If you don't know what's wrong with this:"
    Code:
    	<div id="contentMain">
    		<div class="contentTL"><div class="contentTR"><div class="contentBL"><div class="contentBR">
    			<div class="contentWrapper">
    <div id="navbar" class="navbar">
    <div class="navLeft"><div class="navRight">
    	<ul id="navtabs" class="navtabs floatcontainer">
    		
    		
    	
    		<li class="selected" id="vbtab_forum">
    			<a class="navtab" href="https://www.codingforums.com/">Forum</a>
    		</li>
    		
    		
    			<ul class="floatcontainer">
    Kind of way.

    Endless pointless DIV for nothing, endless pointless ID's and classes for nothing, zero logical document structure, gibberish use of numbered headings, blockquotes around things that aren't even quotations from other sources, DIV around actual huffing quotations, <font> tags like it's still 1997...

    Some garbage plugin that screws around with meta tags inside <head> and screws around keyword stuffing meta and "title attributes" for nothing isn't going to fix that -- if anything it's more likely to get the site slapped down for abuse!

    Admittedly this is why I'm building my own forum software from scratch (in a "it's done when it's done" hobby way between paying gigs) as I can't find a single off the shelf one anymore that would be any less work to fix than just starting over clean.
    “There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.” – C.A.R. Hoare, The 1980 ACM Turing Award Lecture
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  4. #19
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    As VIPStephan says basically. The old version of the site was well indexed and i found it one page one of a google search.

    The changes that the new owners made were reinventing an unbroken wheel. In the process they broke it.

    My instinct is that while the above is correct, as chump says the owners now need to concentrate on their SEO act and get this site listed again but as DS says, I don't hold out any hope of a magic plugin doing the hard work and coughing up a miracle cure.

    The guys at MAS are going to have to accept that to make money sometimes you have to put in a bit of actual effort...
    "Tango says double quotes with a single ( ' ) quote in the middle"
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  5. #20
    Senior Coder durangod's Avatar
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    I agree with SEO there is no and will never be any magic bullet. As we all know and was stated before, the forum has the content and content is what mainly drives SEO. Content gets visitors and the more visitors the more google pays attention to where the google users are going and hanging out.

    But i also have to be alittle blunt here myself which i am not very often. I personally think its totally embarrassing that the forum is still using PHP 5.3 . I would think that especially since we are a coding forum and cover server related items as well that we would want to set the example of staying current. We seem to preach it here but we dont follow what we preach it seems. I dont feel there is any excuse for that other than just plain laziness and lack of pride. Shoot i was done with 5.3 i guess its been 5 years now or more. I also agree with the code issues as people do look to see if the site itself is properly coded. If we are going to try to be the flagship we need to act like a flagship first and then it will come back.

    As other resources like stackoverflow and the others shoot themselves in the foot, this creates a huge opportunity for this site to capture and hold their unhappy traffic.

    I do also agree that all suggestions need to be in a well formated, thought out and well presented posting, it makes it so easy for those who make the decisions to get to the point of the suggestion as im sure there will be many and some quite lengthy.

    Thanks im glad to see this has starting a real conversation and i do feel good about CF's future.

  6. #21
    Administrator VIPStephan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by durangod View Post
    I personally think its totally embarrassing that the forum is still using PHP 5.3 . I would think that especially since we are a coding forum and cover server related items as well that we would want to set the example of staying current.
    Well, as the saying goes: The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot.
    But to be honest, we can’t actually put the complete blame on MASMedia or ourselves. Keeping a big and active forum current isn’t a trivial task and can’t be taken lightly. There are extensive tests needed to rule out any errors, and this takes quite some time and resources. We all remember the hassle of the rushed version upgrade that came with the change of owners. That shouldn’t repeat. And since this is a major undertaking it’s not always possible to stay up to date. Plus, I’ve read a lot of people complain about the latest version of vBulletin and how they stay on version 3 because it used to be the best. It’s not always the choice of the operator of a forum whether or not it’s feasible to upgrade something. However, that is not to say that we shouldn’t try our best to keep it as current as possible, of course.

    And in response to deathshadow’s usual rant: I challenge anyone to find a forum software with perfectly valid and semantic HTML in the background (except of deathshadow’s unfinished one ). Also, while it may have some influence, I don’t think the code bloat is a major contributing factor to the SEO of this particular forum. There are lots of bloated sites out there that rank well.

    But yeah, we should see what the analytics recommended by chump2877 come up with to figure out which measures are to be taken.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by durangod View Post
    I personally think its totally embarrassing that the forum is still using PHP 5.3 .
    I personally wouldn't worry about that too much. While it is possible google might examine this header, it did not cause the decline of codingforums. That was the new owners who rushed out an update that wasn't ready, didn't work well and caused a lot of annoyance - to the search engines as well as the users. Therefore I would doubt that the search engines are ranking the site down based on the php version. While it isn't public knowledge that the site runs 5.3 most newbies don't know anything about http headers (hence so many topics about headers already sent over the years). Personally it just doesn't worry me. Yes it's old, yes it's got security flaws that other versions may have fixed but good coders can work around those anyway. Considering we've also seen many members banned over the years who claim to be great experts, you'd expect the site to have been hacked repeatedly by now.

    I think it's unfair to blame suggest that the php version is a major problem here. What has been put forward time and time again is how the site was killed almost overnight when Mas updated it.

    Quote Originally Posted by durangod View Post
    Shoot i was done with 5.3 i guess its been 5 years now or more.
    Locally i still use it. I'm stuck midway as one site I code for is still on 5.2 which causes me issues. I have no hope of getting that upgraded as it is on a shared host but the owner of the site wants to keep it there. I'm not going to fall out with him over it despite two known members here demanding I should - it doesn't affect them personally but it would affect me and I'm not going through that just because they demand it. As I said above, if you code well you can survive most threats.

    Quote Originally Posted by durangod View Post
    I also agree with the code issues as people do look to see if the site itself is properly coded. If we are going to try to be the flagship we need to act like a flagship first and then it will come back.
    Most folks that come here are looking for advice / assistance and thus won't be too phased about looking at the huge amount of source code each forum page consists of.

    As other resources like stackoverflow and the others shoot themselves in the foot, this creates a huge opportunity for this site to capture and hold their unhappy traffic.

    I do also agree that all suggestions need to be in a well formated, thought out and well presented posting, it makes it so easy for those who make the decisions to get to the point of the suggestion as im sure there will be many and some quite lengthy.

    Thanks im glad to see this has starting a real conversation and i do feel good about CF's future.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    Keeping a big and active forum current isn’t a trivial task and can’t be taken lightly.
    Thing is this forum isn't that active really is it. It's pretty damn dead. While DS and others will blame that on social media I'm on several programming groups on facebook and most of the posts there consist of "guys i need to make this / do that help me plz" with multiple replies along the lines of "jeez man go and use google" or "learn the basics" and other non helpful stuff. I personally can't really see it being down to the likes of facebook for the downfall of a site that was successful until it was overhauled and thus yes I do hold MAS accountable for it. I know they won't like me for it but they have to accept some responsibility in this - they were drooling over visitor numbers and money, decided they could do better and fudged it. There is a reason why so many other long standing moderators like Fou-Lu have jacked it all in and left.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    And in response to deathshadow’s usual rant: I challenge anyone to find a forum software with perfectly valid and semantic HTML in the background (except of deathshadow’s unfinished one ).
    LOL!!!

    Dear old DS.. he does love to whine about perfect coding even though others have pointed out glaringly obvious defects with his own website lol. I'll also be interested to see his completed forum as I'm surprised it's taking him so long. He's previously boasted about being able to write thousands of words in record time in his overly lengthy posts and with his supreme knowledge and incredible typing speeds there is no real excuse for it not being available for download already!

    Sorry DS.. I'm only teasing lol.. you have to see how it can be interpreted though! In reality there is no such thing as a perfectly written website. There will always be something overlooked somewhere - from spacing / indents to sql efficiency, something somewhere will be amiss and as stated, there's tons of other websites out there that are successful with tons of bloat and slow loading times. Clearly nobody here has run into lithiums forum (ebay use it). It's horrendous but all the big ISPs seem to love the damn thing (lesson there, useless stuff is respected among big bosses as long as it looks pretty).
    Last edited by tangoforce; Jan 3rd, 2018 at 11:18 PM.
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  8. #23
    Administrator chump2877's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    I challenge anyone to find a forum software with perfectly valid and semantic HTML in the background (except of deathshadow’s unfinished one ). Also, while it may have some influence, I don’t think the code bloat is a major contributing factor to the SEO of this particular forum. There are lots of bloated sites out there that rank well.
    I 1000% agree. If Google penalizes sites for code bloat, semantics, or even PHP version, then that penalty is almost negligible. We are much better served fixing any problems that turn up in these SEO analytics reports, first. Later, we can fix any other problems -- IF they are, in fact, problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by durangod View Post
    I also agree with the code issues as people do look to see if the site itself is properly coded. If we are going to try to be the flagship we need to act like a flagship first and then it will come back.
    The people that visit this site are primarily looking for help with their coding issues. So, personally, I highly doubt that most people are scrutinizing the site's source code, or that fixing sloppy code would generate any tangible boost in traffic or site credibility. In any case, if we were to address this, then it would be "after" implementing some common SEO strategies and gauging their effectiveness.

    Quote Originally Posted by tangoforce View Post
    What has been put forward time and time again is how the site was killed almost overnight when Mas updated it.
    I understand the need to hold MAS accountable for their actions, but continuing to tear into them serves no practical purpose in the future. I think they are aware of how you feel, and now we need to work with them -- not against them -- to turn things around.

    -------

    Again, we have good content here, and "content is king" in terms of SEO. So, if we employ some tried and true SEO techniques (as per the analytics reports), then that should go a long way in helping to rebuild site traffic.
    Regards, R.J.

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  9. #24
    Administrator VIPStephan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangoforce View Post
    Thing is this forum isn't that active really is it. It's pretty damn dead.
    I meant active in terms of lots of posts and members in the database that you wouldn’t want to lose because you hastily upgrade the forum/server just for the sake of being on the cutting edge. New versions deprecate some old functionality and this needs to be tested thoroughly before going live.

  10. #25
    Senior Coder deathshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    Plus, I’ve read a lot of people complain about the latest version of vBulletin and how they stay on version 3 because it used to be the best.
    I know of more than a few sites that told vBull to kiss off and moved to Xenforo and myBB for that reason.

    But even so, staying THAT far behind -- on forum software version and PHP version -- is HOW hacks like injecting a bitcoin miner happen. That's actually why I'm not a big fan of mods or extensive overhauls to forum software that break the upgrade path, regardless of what "functionality" you might miss out on.

    I used to like SMF (I've soured on it as they talk about code overhauls but don't fix a blasted thing, more so since they announced the next version is going to use jQuery) as it did 99% of what I needed out of a forum software out of the box and was probably the easiest I'd dealt with on actually fixing the markup. The only major mod I ever installed was StopForumSpam -- and I kept it that way so that I never risked neutering the upgrade path.

    That's often the problem with mods/extensions/plugins/pickANameAlready. Quite often you can't expect them to work across upgrades or to even be as securely written as the original software. Take turdpress for example; I rag on it pretty hard since it's only got "one ring security" and more entry holes than lorraine swiss, but that one ring has actually held up far, FAR better since 3.x dropped than 2.x ever did. Which is why the CVS entries for Wordpress up until this past year were 90%+ about mods and not the core system itself.

    Unlike back in 2007 when it was so bad it won the 2008 Pwnie award for M4ss 0wnage, or the outright horrible year 2017 was on the security front for it. It's a new record for it, made even more of a concern by so many of them (17 out of 46) are XSS exploits!

    https://www.cvedetails.com/product/4...vendor_id=2337

    Ouch... and as much as I use it as a whipping boy, I guarantee you the core of Wordpress is better maintained with more eyes on target than any forum software (or mods to wordpress to add a forums) these days! At least this time it wasn't 13 code elevation attack vectors -- which with Wordpress' UTTER LACK of internal security practices basically hands any cracker the keys to the kingdom. (since they're hanging in plain sight behind the main gate)
    Last edited by deathshadow; Jan 4th, 2018 at 01:44 AM.
    “There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.” – C.A.R. Hoare, The 1980 ACM Turing Award Lecture
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