One of the internet’s most popular destinations for gamers to go talk about RPGs and read up on the latest news is back after nearly a week offline. EN World has a brand new look and a powerful new backend.
EN World’s visitors will likely notice just how much faster the new site is. Pages load quickly, and the forum’s search engine no longer takes minutes to rifle through the database in search of matching terms.
The homepage shows a curated collection of forum and the site, as it always has, facilitates discussion.
Less obvious is how much better the new site is for indie (and larger) gaming companies that want to advertise their systems and settings. There’s a banner right at the top of EN World and a tower banner on the right side. The old EN World, on some forum pages, had a third. This third ad was very near the bottom of the page. While it wasn’t hidden, people reading forums may not scroll far enough down the page to notice this third contender.
The new EN World now only has two banners in highly visible locations, and this is better for advertisers. It means a better percentage of ‘ad views’ will actually be viewed by readers. It may also mean an increase in prices, though, due to a decrease in inventory. The overall effect, though, is likely to be a net gain for advertisers.
Geek Native spoke to Russell Morrissey, Morrus, to find out whether the move to premium banner inventory had been the plan. It had not been, Morrus said;
It’s out-of-the box Xenforo, so it’s not really something I had much control over (I’m not a coder). It has some default ad spots you just plug some code into. All the advertising is outsourced to Ed Healy’s Gamerati, so it’s something I happily don’t have to manage myself.
Oh, there you have it.
(Geek Native also uses Gamerati.)
Why change the site at all?
vBulletin was ancient, creaking architecture, no longer supported by the company which developed it, and was bug-ridden after 15+ years of use. Xenforo is much more modern, and currently well-supported by the manufacturer.
Plus it looks prettier, it’s much easier to format articles for the front page, it is feature-rich, yet faster. We’ve been doing test installs and imports for over a year now; it was finally time to take the final step.
There’s little doubt about that. The new site, which is fixed width, has infinite scroll enabled on the homepage, and so you can just keep scrolling, and the stories just keep coming.
A note on the homepage warns visitors that some content is still migrating, the mods are still learning the new system and bugs are expected.
A popular request, which might prove to be tricky enough to require a developer, is for an RSS feed of homepage content only. The initial request was put in by a community member who wants to headline skim. The site’s current, and only, RSS feed is a summary of all the new threads.
RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is a page designed for newsreaders like Feedly to collect and then display in a human-friendly way back to readers. It’s a bit like building your own Google News but just with the sites you like reading.
Morrus has added the RSS for headline news to the ever-growing to-do list.
Missing some important content from the old site? Can’t wait for it to migrate? The stylesheet isn’t loading but you can visit old.enworld.org, for now, to access the retiring site.
What do you make of the EN World? Do you feel the site is much faster?