It's customary and traditional that we celebrate the addition of every 1,000 new members here and share the traffic stats. This time it's 79,000!
Despite the site being on-and-off down for nearly a week over the past two month as you can see on the right side of the traffic graph above (the fault of Ning, our hosting provider -- you can see the sorry story of their tech issues here), we still had more than a million page views this month.
We've known we were going to have to eventually going to shift off Ning, but it looks like the time is now. I'm been evaluating Jamroom, which has a special service to migrate Ning networks, and so far it looks good. Anybody have experience with Jamroom and would like to help with the migration?
It's good to bring some changes, especially in the forum section, where it's more difficult than say rcgroups.com for example to subscribe to threads, have a daily or weekly summary etc. And the threads themselves could be reorganized/regrouped for more clarity. For example having different threads according to the version of APM:Plane used is not very practical because most topics discussed are for all versions.
Other than that, the number of pageviews is in constant decrease, for example at the same moment last year there were more than 50.000 pageviews per day ( http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/diy-drones-at-70-000-members ) while today it closer to half this number.
John Arne: Okay, I pushed the button, so forum replies should now be flat/chronological. What do you think?
That's also my #1 gripe @John, thank you! Yea!!!!!!!!!! No more NING! YEA!!! Outa there!
@Chris, the threaded posts option is definitively not working well. Go to any discussion that is more then a couple of pages long, and try to keep track of where people are posting new comments. If someone comments on something early in the thread you won't notice unless you read the entire thing from start to end, over and over again.
SgyRic: Totally agree. It's not clear to me that Jamroom has a better history trail, but Buddypress (built on Wordpress) should. That sort of thing -- who did what when, for accountability -- is a necessary tool for moderators and sadly under-emphasized in these more superficial hosting platforms.
Another point would be the audit trail/logs.
A real source of frustration for me, -working through logs in my day job, and up against a brick wall with NING here, as you know @Chris.
I throw this out for consideration. If users are trending to blogs more than forums, not sure I believe that, but either way , you might want to give Drupal a look. It's a very robust Content Management System, (CMS). It supports multi user blogs, user groups, and a basic forum. Although I think there has been some improvement in their forum department lately.
That's like sending a couple hundred thousand dollars (or more) direct to their stockholders....out of your pocket!
Without deep thought, DIYdrones seems more slanted toward blog...so it really may be that wordpress is the best solution. That holds true when a small percentage of members are authors. Others who are not authors or even registered can then comment via FB comment (or other means of signing in using a social media account).
I guess the only real advice I can give is to think deeply about it - no quickie decisions. It may be that the existence of other forums and email lists negates the need for some of the old chatter and therefore focus on more curated and long form content is preferable.
Measure twice, cut once!
I ended up "measuring" for many months and when it actually came time to do the deed, there was barely a burp. Never looked back because Xenforo became the top or one of the top forum platforms.
Even if WP is the way to go, the exact setup is very important. Still, most of that can be changed as you once the data is moved.
It's a big plus that so many people know how to work on WP...
I think overall this site has had a pretty good mix of capabilities, well suited to the various modes of discourse that serves this group of people well.
I would tend to avoid Facebook, because it seems pretty stratified and not really oriented towards the variety of modes of expression this site and these people have had.
Except for when it isn't working at all, I honestly think you have a good mix of features here and so believe it would be best if you could find something that would let you at least maintain a similar format and similar capabilities as are already here.
Not that it is perfect:
In many cases the built in search engine is just plain awful, you should at least be able to get results listed by a variety of means - chronological, nearest to search terms, restricted to specific sections, (Blogs, Discussions, etc.)
And I am sure a lot of other capabilities can be added that would enhance the experience, but basically saying what you already have is pretty good and easy to use.
Not saying what system to use, just a few thoughts on what you might want it to do.
John Arne: That one is my fault, not Ning's. I prefer that format and selected it. But if there's a consensus that people would rather see flat chronological format, it just takes one click and the site will change to that: