Success stories: WhichInvestmentTrust uses DiscourseHosting
Another great customer has been running a community on Victorian-era investment vehicles for a long time. We spoke with Dice of WhichInvestmentTrust.com and how their experience with community management and Discourse look like. We learned a bit about investments as well….
Can you tell us a bit about your project and its history? When did it start, what is its mission or purpose?
I had an existing community on BBPress, but I was incredibly frustrated by it. The multitude of plugins and updates frequently caused a multitude of problems where certain features wouldn’t work because of clashes. It took a lot of resources to manage. I also thought it was quite ugly and not user friendly so I was on the lookout for something else.
Who is the main audience of your site and how did your community evolve? What’s the degree of activity you’re currently seeing?
My audience is UK investors managing their own investment portfolio by investing in an old Victorian era investment product called Investment Trusts. In Victorian times there were a lot of scoundrels and crooks and so investment trusts were designed to counter fraud and to ensure they represented the interests of the small investor. To this day the features the Victorians designed to protect investors are still the best there are and investment trusts enjoy much better performance than more modern investment products.
Users use the community for advice and support. Some community members are very experienced and knowledgeable about investing, some are not. Bad or poor advice and recommendations tend to be filtered by being challenged, so it has become a trusted source for advice and information for many users.
Why did you pick Discourse? What are you initial experiences with Discourse?
I picked it because it looked beautiful. It seemed like a reinvention of what forums could be that was way ahead of anything else. It doesn’t integrate with WordPress as elegantly as BBPress did, and that took some getting used to. What I mean by this is, that although you can have a link to a forum on a WordPress post you can’t display the actual forum as yet. Nonetheless I love how it looked and early adopters loved it and they did spread the word.
If you migrated, how was the change received by your community? What forum did you use before?
We introduced the new forums initially via our newsletter and then through posts on the site. It was received very well from the onset, and although there was a learning curve for some, it didn’t seem like it was too much of an effort for them to get up to speed.
Which lessons would you like to pass on to other community administrators? What have you learned?
I think what I initially found off-putting with Discourse is, that it is designed by techies for techies and Discourse.org are not always the best at dealing with and communicating with non-technical people, entrepreneurs and website owners. That’s where using DiscourseHosting really helped.
How does your WordPress integration work, what commenting mechanisms have you used before?
As I mentioned earlier I used BBPress, which integrates much better with WordPress than Discourse does. Discourse works far, far better than BBPress, and by a country mile. Also, it is beautiful and it’s easy to search for content and to find and make contact with other community members.
What are your favorite Discourse features, which one would you call a “killer feature”? Which features are most popular among your community?
Aesthetics would be my killer feature, it just looks so good but I’d also highlight how it scrolls infinitely and how easy it is to learn to use.
Lastly, some numbers. How does your community look like and how big are you?
My audience is almost all UK, and across the whole country from Scotland down to England and Wales. We have all age ranges from young to old with a 60/40% split for male versus female. Although we are niche product, traffic is large and has increased since we switched to Discourse. Our team size is eight company wide.