In a recent blog post, we wrote about the threat that new, more engaging social media platforms pose to forums running on legacy forum software. While discussion forums remain the best format for people to come together and exchange ideas online, several new platforms are vying to replace traditional forum communities by focusing on better engagement and usability for end users.
To help communities make the switch to Vanilla Forums, we are now offering a free migration service to anyone signing up to our Enterprise plan. Our service includes migration of the database, basic customization of your theme, and perhaps most importantly: counsel on ensuring that the migration is a positive experience for community members and moderators.
Vanilla has done the migration of dozens of forums including vBulletin, phpBB, bbPress, Invision Power Board, Jive, Lithium and many more. No matter how old and outdated your forum software, there will always be a vocal minority of users who will be resistant to any kind of change. The best way to ease people’s fear of change is through a good communications campaign. For example:
- Announce the migration in advance
- Get moderators on board before announcing to the community at large
- Share with members the technical pains that your current software is causing which may not be apparent to members
- Highlight the new exciting features that will be available after migration
- Share details of the migration logistics with members, but only once the migration date and time is set in stone
After the forum migration, some best practices include:
- Create a temporary discussion or category where members can ask questions about the changes and new features
- Recruit a moderator or admin to become a subject matter expert and respond to migration related discussions
- Sink any unfairly negative discussions (or let the community use Reactions to decide if it’s fair or not.)
Migrating your forum can be a scary prospect, but when done right it becomes a positive experience for you and your community members.