Invision Power Board Forum (IPB) Review: IPB Success, and What I Feel About It

My first ever site was a free one, with forumotion I think. However, my first proper forum that I was a part of came in the form of a General discussions IPB site.

IPB is expensive, yes, but you get a lot for you money-A great, full ACP, a great MCP, built in SEO, and a ton more; but IPB is not only full on the inside, but also on the outside too.

In my humble opinion, the first step to take with any forum is a key idea. Whatever that might be, it is essential to the start of any site. And the thing with IPB, is that it can be made to look in any way you wish, the free themes are great, and the paid ones are in a class of their own. It can be make to look, and work (that comes later) in anyway that you wish. If you choose to look at chatable, there are just a few themes, but everyone is slightly different, go to the community at IPB, and just a take a look-the extent of themes is outstanding. If you are starting here, you need to have the forum idea, and then really get to the drawing board-you need to give a it a style to suit the site. And the variation that you get with IPB just gives you all the more reason to actually put some time into how you would like your site to look. And guess what, life is only going to get easier to putting that ideal, visualised site into a reality. Looking forward to IPB 4.0, the easy theme editor. So now, even if you are totally unskilled in graphics (like I am) you will be able to take a basic theme, and edit it, so it is almost a custom theme, with little experience. I feel that this is going to make IPB a great forum platform looking forward.

So we have covered themes, saying that it is essential to the success and the beautiful ones you can so easily get for IPB, soon editing them will even easier.


To move on now to the internal workings. IPB’s ACP is the best I have used. The dashboard, this is a clear overview of what you need to know-has anyone tried to get into your ACP, how are your registrations going, what needs attention. And also, easy access to the most important areas of your ACP. The thing I love the most about all of this is that it is all so simple, it tells you what anything complicated means. I could spend hours going through every part of the panel, but instead I thought I would go top tips.

Starting in settings:

First of all, if the board is new, close it. Now you can do as much or as little as you please here, a simple line of text or a full blown advert with pictures and colour. The second will give you real potential for your opening. I would then make your community guidlines. Important, but if you are fluent in HTML, then you can let your design shine-A unique feature for your site?
The rest of it is usual, email setup, general config etc etc. Except SEO.

For the SEO, fill out as much of it as you can, spend time on it. This made a massive difference to Chatable-it brought it forward 3 pages after filling this out. Mind, no other SEO had been done.

The rest of the settings are pretty usual, though spend time going through it all. This is a great way to make sure your community works best for you. If you carry on down the list at the left hand side, there is all the usual stuff, fill it out as you deem necessary.

Log in management is the next thing to bring your attention to. IPS connect is something that allows you to have the same log in for many sites, if you run more than one, LDAP/AD is more for buisness users, and apparently works very well. External DB is another option if you have a large amount of members that you don;t want to have to register to just this site. There are then various others, windows live, facebook etc that can help to expand your community.

Just below is another important note, if you users are coming from a certain place, try and get a share link to it. This will help with your sites success

I might post on Hooks and plugins later, but there is FAR too much to cover here and now


If you are making a site, I would skip to members next, and configure your member groups. There is so much variety here that you may miss a vital thing if you don’t go through slowly. DO THIS AFTER INSTALLING NEW APPS AND CERTAIN HOOKS AS THEY WILL HAVE SETTINGS.

Once you have done all the member customisation to your own choice, you can return to the forums tab. Now, having come here, general advice on making a new site, not to many forums and keep them open. But there are so many tips on that, I feel I don;t need to cover it. However, a top tip:

Don’t edit the permissions at the moment. Once you are done, you can edit them group by group, this will save you SO much time. And it is much easier also.


Now to kinda start to bring this to a close-IPB is fantastic-this has covered why I think it is so good and also some of the top tips. From this point on, it is like any other site, content, members etc for success. Trust me though, if you do everything before through the ACP, it will be easier later on.

The Tabs along the top are totally and fully editable, you put what you want, and most use there. This is just so clever for ease of use, something I feel is a IPB’s strong point. Also, once everything else is done, just take a look at Security centre and SEO advice. This will help in the future, even if it doesn’t now.

And a final word on IPB 4.0 I think it will be fabulous. They are looking to strengthen IPB even further, make it even easier to use. Also they seem to be getting rid of the pink (maybe not a bad thing…) and just giving it a modern, and stylish look. It will do wonders to you site, state of the art features to really help you out, and even if your users don’t notice it, you will. You will like it, and running the site as it hopefully grows will just become easier and easier, and really enjoyable. Also, the fact that the IPB team are providing us with info and images of IPB 4 just shows a good team, unlike other businesses that hide everything until launch day.

So, IPB, if you don’t get it now, I think when 4 comes round, you will be silly not to. IPB is a great way to bring your site too look great, but also behind the doors, be great.

Thanks for reading guys.

 


This article was first submitted to our blog on 11/02/2014. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.

2 comments

  1. I’ve learned after switching from vBulletin to IPB, the site is now faster and has lots more to offer. The profiles are updated and similar to that of a social network, I like that.

    But my advice is if you decide to go with IPB, just buy the license and find some cheap, but reliable hosting. The rental service can be great for a starter, but over time and growth it can get expensive as with your own hosting it is far cheaper IMO.

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