Welcome to The High Road, an online discussion board dedicated to the discussion and advancement of responsible firearms ownership. It is the declared mission of this board to achieve and provide the highest quality of firearms discussion on the Internet, a standard set by the discussion board “The Firing Line” in 1998.
That’s our mission statement, and since 2001 we have done and outstanding job of showcasing the best of the American gun community online. I am quite proud of the community we have all contributed to.
But complacency has greatly reduced our visibility, and it’s time to change that. Our traffic has dropped by 50% due to Google rankings adjustments that are linked to our use of vBulletin 3. People looking for answers to shooting-related questions usually won’t even see us in search results if they are connecting from a mobile device, and we need to restore our visibility.
Specifically, there are three issues that are hurting us:
- We don’t have a mobile-friendly theme, so Google won’t list us in search results from mobile devices. vBulletin 3 doesn’t offer this support.
- Google has flagged us as running decade-old software, and that’s true. While our experience has been that vBulletin 3 is quite secure, Google has informed us that their algorithms are assuming that anyone running old software releases is more likely to become a vector for malware, so our rankings are reduced on all platforms as a result.
- HTTPS is now a ranking signal, and we can’t convert to https:// connections without generating warnings all over pages where images have been linked via third-party http:// links.
This situation isn’t going to get any better until we move. I’ve been testing the inevitable migration since October of 2015, and it’s time to just get the upgrade over with. Software changes always cause frustration and confusion, and I’m sorry for the negative emotions this move will cause among our users, but we can’t put it off any longer.
We are moving off of vBulletin entirely as the 4.x and 5.x branches really aren’t appealing to us. After speaking with a few dozen other forum owners I made the decision to move to Xenforo. While Xenforo is designed by vBulletin’s original creator, the software is quite a bit more modern, and lots of features we have grown used to either work differently, or have been replaced by some other function. I will create posts below this one that detail many of the changes we will see.
I believe that the change we are about to embrace will be good for THR in the long term, and I believe most users will be very happy with the changes. We will just need to go through a month of confusion and frustration before we get to that point.