In early November 2009, I made the decision to convert four vBulletin 3.8 sites over to Invision. I was not happy with what vBulletin was becoming and I had been doing the comparison-shopping bit for nearly a year prior to pulling the trigger. I had a really good year with Invision, before the bottom dropped out. As time went by, I was concentrating so hard on trying to keep two sites alive that two others shriveled up and died. I was hoping IPB 3.2 might represent a turn-around, but it was quickly obvious I was wasting my time waiting and hoping. By August of this year, I was giving serious consideration to simply closing the sites down and finding something else to do with my time. When I saw Azhria had converted this site over to XenForo, I decided I might have written it off my list of possibilities too quickly. A week ago Tuesday, I purchased a XenForo license. My plan was to set up a test site and spend some time getting familiar with how XenForo works. By the time I had downloaded the files and installed them in a test directory, XenForo 1.1.0 had been released. Within 3 hours of setting up my test site, I was already upgrading it. But it was good practice for me and I found the upgrade process was smooth and simple. Since the 1.1.0 release had an IPB 3.2 importer, I grabbed one of my smaller databases and gave that a trial run. Very smooth, very simple and very fast. By noon the next day, I was already so pleased with XenForo, I was making plans to convert one of my live sites. I gave a few of my members access to the test site and their enthusiasm was driving me forward. So on Thursday, while those of you in the States were waking up to the smells of a cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I was busy converting my site. The T-Bucket Forums The site is still small, a little over 87,000 posts. The actual database conversion took just 34 minutes to run, which I thought was pretty outstanding. Since opening that site, back in October 2006, we've always had a red style as our default. I had discovered Xenique's DXF-Red style and I felt it just worked with the site. I think Kim really designed those gradients to set off my logo, to be honest. As mentioned, I was already comfortable in the XenForo Admin CP, so I was interested to see how my members would respond. And their response has been overwhelming. It's been six days since the conversion and I'm still getting complimentary messages from them. I'm seeing my active member number creeping upward. Posting activity is on the climb. And everyone keeps commenting on how easy things are to use. The DXF-Red style was a release for XenForo 1.0.x, so it was looking a bit odd without node icons. Yesterday, I decided I was going to fix the problem and managed to make up a node-sprite image. So things are looking a lot better. I'm really impressed with how quickly I learned my way around the XenForo Admin CP. After using IPB for two years, I was still having to hunt high and low to find application settings hidden away in obscure locations. Not so with XenForo. I'm seeing much faster page loads than I ever had with IPB. Speeds were much faster with XenForo, straight out of the tin. When I started adding the caching code to the config file, I was really impressed. Some tweaks to PHP today picked up speeds a bit more. It's only been six days, but I am already seeing improvements on Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. My bounce rate has dropped 1.8% and average time on site is already up a full minute. For months, I kept pointing my finger at IP.SEO as being a large part of IPB's SEO shortcomings. I'm using the XenUtiles sitemap generator and in six days, my sitemap URLs are 104% higher than they were. Google is re-indexing pages well and I'm seeing that number climbing, as well. And to have these kinds of results already appearing within the first week really has me excited about the future. When XenForo was initially released, I was still having a pretty good run with IPB. I took one look at XenForo and turned my nose up at it. Today, I'm wishing I hadn't been so hasty to dismiss it. If everything can go from negative to positive on my site in just six days, I'm thinking XenForo is one of the best moves I've ever made. I see IPB is coming up on a new release and it looks like they have made some positive strides with respect to SEO. I'm thankful they waited until after my conversion to XenForo to mention any of it. Had they announced those changes a couple weeks ago, I might have been tempted to remain with them. So for all those negative observations I made about XenForo a year ago, about all I can say is to pass me another slice of that humble pie. I'm suddenly excited about my forums again and I've XenForo to thank for it. After another month or so, I'll get back in here and post some results from Analytics, to let everyone see how the site is doing.