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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


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Posted
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#72537 (In Topic #15216)
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Community saint

It has been quite a while but if I remember right I found ocPortal on another forum when someone referenced it.

How did you find ocPortal?
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Posted
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#72540
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Fan in action

Google.

I was searching for a way to add a wiki, a download manager, and forums to my gaming fansite when I stumbled across a review of ocPortal.  I downloaded it to my computer, played with it, and, after only 5 days, I'm almost ready to completely convert over my (still a bit small) website from Joomla 1.6 to ocPortal.  

The more I discover about ocPortal, the more I'm thrilled to have found it.


a community-oriented site for RIFT
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Posted
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#72541
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Community saint

hahaha good question. So far I know I was searching the internet 3 years ago. And now it was in my memory for a site I needed, because the cms (dolphin) i'm normal use was not the perfect match.


greets Harry


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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#72544
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Aieny said

The more I discover about ocPortal, the more I'm thrilled to have found it.
:thumbs:


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Posted
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#72551
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Community saint

You expect me to remember four years ago?  :lol:

Good to say that even after four years, I still love ocPortal!  :wub:

Eric DeMars . com
My electronic portfolio and personal site. Uses ocPortal!
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Posted
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#72556
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Community saint

Just found it as one of the apps on Installatron in March.

Can't say that I had every heard of ocPortal before that, but then I have never really looked hard for a CMS before then either.

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#72562
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Community saint

I honestly can't remember and it was only a few days ago! lol In my defense I recently came out of a revisioning surgery (less than 2 weeks ago) that involved removing  the fibia (smaller of 2 bones) from my residuum (stump part of my below knee amputation from 1.5 years ago) so I was a little exhausted and medicated likely the day I stumbled upon it but I do know it had nothing to do with looking for CMS I am sure it was weird off topic stumble that somehow led me here and I went hmm never tried this lets look around. Dang wish I'd seen it sooner!
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Posted
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#72593
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Honoured member

google search for open source cms.

I was looking for something more than a base with available 3rd party plugins and themes.

I wanted something fully integrated with a slew of features that I could use to rapidly deploy any number of websites with a wide variety of features.

When I hit the ocportal link… I about fell out my chair.

I recall my body trembling with anticipation as I downloaded it.

Once I had it on my dev environment running… my bubble burst like a dot com BOMB.

the "default" was/is at best a blast from the past.

All the juicy goodness I had read on the website about the cutting edge ridiculously awesome features… just wasn't their out the box visually.

Heart broken, I continued to explore and slowly peeled back the onion.  Watery eyed I left ocportal and the community in search of the holy grail again.   So much promise with an initial delivery that was so far from the expectation was just too much for me to surmount and so I left.

I've since tried all kinds of CMS's and settled on WP for all my work.  Of course, their I was again in plugin hell, working compatibility issues.  Sure, I was sleek, modern, beatuiful out the box… but at what cost?  anyone of those plugins was a potential security breach and i was always just a click away from bringing down the entire site.

I had been spot checking OCP, hoping they'd shed the tired appearance, but to date it's still meh..

What excited me to return was the work done for a client on their showcase page.  That showed me what could be…It was unlike anything I had seen OCP do before.  Sure that was OCP doing it…but still the fire was rekindled and I was an a quest again!

And here I am.

I warm welcome to all those who quest as I do and heart felt congrats to those whom have enough with what OCP offers out the box.

This is a fantastic community with incredible support from OCP.

I salute you all for your efforts!
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Posted
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#72600
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the "default" was/is at best a blast from the past.

You know, I take objection to this kind of point, and quite a few people make it so I'm not singling you out.

Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal all have extremely plain default themes too. This is nothing unique to ocPortal here. The reason is the default theme has to be a common denominator for whatever more sophisticated visual styling wants to be built on top. Otherwise the themeing task is doubled, forcing you to deconstruct styling before you can construct new styling.

I think what you're really saying is ocPortal doesn't have a lot of themes like other CMSs have. But that's little to do with ocPortal itself as a package that we've built, it's to do with the size of the community. Ultimately, people need to not just complain about the lack of themes (or phrased as ugly default theme), they need to do something about it, just like people have for Wordpress or Joomla. It's easy to say a situation is poor, but it's meaningful to improve it or at the least write enough to give some clear direction and inspiration. (I should not that a few great people here have been releasing some themes, full credit to them.)

Another possibility is you may be alluding to the disconnect between the features and the default theme not having everything laid out to make them immediately work together in a kind of "super site". That's very intentional. Frankly it would be complete madness if we released ocPortal with everything in the navigation by default and every option turned on, people would have these incredibly bloated default sites. People should only really on average use about 10% of ocPortal's features, otherwise you're not creating sites in terms of serving the visitors best needs.

My last point is that the web design process is very important for people making websites, regardless of what leg up some software gives. We can't create a system where people have a finished web site when it is installed. Functionality is just 50%, design is the other 50% and each site should have a unique one. They may share the same 'theme' as another site, but a lot of work defining navigation, layout, and all kinds of other design areas, really needs to be done. This is inherently something that has to be unique to each site because it depends so much on what the site is for.
If we were creating a "facebook clone" for instance, that would be a different story, each site basically would be the same. But not only is cloning existing sites a terrible idea in most cases (the only cases where I think it is okay, is if offline organisations in a particular sector have similar kinds of sites), it's not the kind of flexible situation ocPortal was designed for.

So in summary:
  • good default themes are always basic, so as not to get in the way of the designer and make bad heavy assumptions
  • we need more themes, not just design criticism of ocPortal itself
  • if all features are turned on by default it's going to lead to dreadful sites
  • the design process is very important, good sites can't be delivered 'out of the box'


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#72604
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Community saint

You have 100% right. What cms system you choose, its the knowledge and fantasy of the owner to make something out it, with or without help from other. Its the vision of yourself when you start an site. :)


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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#73707
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Honoured member

Chris I definitely hear you.

I'm listening… however…


Even the other guys release themes to inspire the user base, designers, etc.  I see OCP is now starting to do that (at least from our vantage point - I understand it's been in the works for a long time).

Second, working examples of every feature touted on the FEATURES page is that to much to ask?  Maybe a demo site with the whole kitchen sink turned on.

Look, who better to strike a blaze in the community for this incredible CMS than the creators - you guys know what AWESOMENESS it can muster.  I'd say it's fairly trivial for you guys to crank this out. call it an Inspiration site.

Thanks again for everything.
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Posted
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#73718
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The features page does link to all the features on the shared demo, although I can see that is currently not working since we moved servers (will fix soon).


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#73721
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ocPortal_Noob said

Second, working examples of every feature touted on the FEATURES page is that to much to ask?  Maybe a demo site with the whole kitchen sink turned on.
We'd love to! But the notion of 'time is money' always comes into play. We make no money from distributing ocPortal itself, so it's very difficult for us to be able to afford to take the time to embark on something as ambitious as this – that's why we'd be eternally grateful if the members of our fantastic community pitched in and helped us out.

We'll always try and balance our two aims: 1) to distribute and maintain an incredible open source CMS so that those with passion can build great things, and 2) to make sure that Chris gets fed at the end of the day. ;)


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Posted
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#73735
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Community saint

I understand the "time is money" argument but I think ocPortal must step up its marketing efforts if it wants to be considered more broadly. Fortunately, the additional themes will help in letting people see what can be done with ocPortal. However, I do think you might want to consider throwing in the occasional free theme into releases. The fact is that many would-be users can't get past the fact that there is no suitable theme included for them to use as a base.

I also think that you can not rely so heavily on the community for marketing. Yes, it's important and the most effective means but it is largely a network-effect operation and the community is just not large enough at this time to create an adequate network effect.

I saw on Twitter that Chris mused how to get large businesses to consider ocPortal without hiring a bunch of sales people. The answer is more low-cost marketing along with community promotion. You might also reconsider the target market - include more free themes and target mid-sized businesses more. Sure the budgets are smaller but smaller businesses are much more open to considering a solution not supported by a huge organization.

I do think that ocPortal may just be at an awkward stage right now in terms of growth which is compounded by the economic issues. Since I love the software to much (even when I do not agree with every decision), I will do my part and it appears that many others are actively promoting the product (I'm especially looking at Brian Hay).

Bob
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Posted
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#73738
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Suggestions are very welcome, but I can say that no improvements made to ocPortal or our marketing efforts in the past have made any difference to our take-up stats (has increased our satisfaction stats though), and that it's got increasingly more expensive to make improvements as we have moved the threshold further. We've actually done a lot of PR work, and rolled out continual improvements to our website and presentation. There's an "always over the next mountain" kind of thought process here – "if ocProducts just does this, the user floodgates will open" – and we've responded many times and it just results in a higher complexity of user requests but no actual stats change. We already do a lot more than other CMSs – how many others have professionally produced video tutorials, or a large collection of official documentation? Have a look at Drupal's documentation sometime, it's absolutely terrible. People rightly see there's lots more we can do, and assume the other's are doing it, but actually relative to other CMSs we're already doing lots more. Heck, I'd like to make an online ocPortal "TV station" and have constant coverage making example sites and taking "phone in" questions – but it's just far too costly to pay for someone to do that full time from the income we get, even though the value to users would be far greater than that cost. The problem is that people actually looking for CMSs are the minority, most people just go with what they've heard about, or with a web design company who then use the 'industry standard'. We don't have millions of dollars to flood media with advertising, just to persuade people to use a free product unfortunately. So if the product is to gain usage, it really needs to be community growth, referrals, and so on, because that's exponential. Unfortunately right now I'm pretty sure even most of the active users here would admit they haven't actually successfully brought in a single user to the community - obviously for exponential growth each user needs to on average bring in more than one.
I think the themes will make a difference, it will lower the entry barrier, allowing people to refer less technical or motivated people, and converting more of our existing traffic. I don't want to put any out for free, they've costed a lot to make, and frankly if people can't pay for a relatively low cost theme after trialling it, won't accept any of the free themes already out there, and can't make their own either, I'm not sure they are the kind of users we want to see around here as they're not going to contribute anything.

We're committed to keeping ocPortal stable, fostering a great ecosystem, and structuring the project for growth, but unless we get a big cash injection there's just no way we can fund big marketing or development pushes – so that stuff either needs doing by enthusiastic or incentivised people in the community, or we need commercial clients to fund the steps they require for their own projects (which does happen, it's a lot of how ocPortal has been built already).


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#73764
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Community saint

Chris-

I understand what you are saying and you are absolutely right about the "just over the next mountain" mentality. You certainly have a lot more data to make decisions regarding marketing ocPortal than I do, it's just that in my past experience both with my own businesses and working for others, that sometimes thinking smaller in terms of your target market bears more fruit.

I can give you two examples, somewhat related. I was a partner in an LA-based digital imaging business in the late 80s-early 90s. One partner wanted to push us to try to get the big design firms and studios. I kept arguing that these people already either had resources in-house or existing associations with other more established companies. I steered our marketing to pro photographers - the people who actually did the work for these bigger entities. In a year we were getting business from design firms and some stuff from studio marketing groups that didn't want to pay the freight for the typical post-production work. Within two years, our biggest client was Buena Vista Pictures Marketing - then the marketing arm for Disney Studios.

I later worked for a large photo print lab in San Francisco as their marketing and sales director. They had once had the business from the major local ad agencies tied up. The owner and GM wanted to pursue a costly frontal assault that would have relied on us giving away a great deal. I went after the photogs and design agencies that did the work for the ad agencies. Within a year, most of the major ad agencies were using us as their primary source.

My point is that people always want to pursue the big players because they have the budgets but they overlook the fact that they often have the resources in-house or demand terms that are not nearly as profitable. You will frequently do much better by pursuing smaller targets who will have smaller budgets but who are also easier to work with. I'm guessing the ideal market for ocPortal at this point is companies with say 50/75-300 employees. Many of these companies will lack the internal resources but will have budgets for outsourcing projects. They are approachable and don't require an army of sales and legal people to do a deal. Companies smaller than this will normally turn to a web designer like Brian Hay.

I learned this years earlier when I was mentored by the owner of a company that did turn-key computer solutions. We were a relatively small company (between 75-100 employees between hardware and software) and yet had large accounts like Epson America, Seiko Instruments USA, Aisin (Toyota Parts Distribution), two very large unions including NAB, Columbia Manufacturing and many other large accounts. What got us these accounts? We were the system vendor for half of the 8 largest local accounting firms in Los Angeles. Their consulting groups would routinely recommend us to their clients who were looking to automate.

I think there is a huge opportunity for the community to make a difference but you noted the very problem: the network effect works much more efficiently when you hit a certain scale. ocPortal has not yet scaled large enough. So, sure, we should all recommend that people consider using ocPortal but that is mostly going to recruit people like me - like the product but no budget. I like the product enough that I will be making modest contributions over the next few months and I hope others consider doing the same as their finances permit.

I guess what I am getting at is you might want to consider who that ideal target customer is. Is it the guy with $100k to spend or might it be easier to find 5 customers with $20k budgets.

I'm just tossing this out there as I want to see my platform of choice prosper for entirely selfish reasons: I don't relish shopping for another vendor who offers less. Hopefully, this post might have you consider alternatives you have not been pursuing with your marketing. And this marketing need not be expensive - it's a matter of choosing the right venue.

Just my thoughts.

Bob
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Posted
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#73767
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While that strategy will work for a business model that involves selling a specific commodity, you need to remember that we don't sell ocPortal. The people you want us to mass-market for aren't the same people who will end up hiring us for those 20k projects. Instead, they're like you – keen to do things themselves with no (or low) budgets.

We'd love to gain critical mass in the CMS arena and become the number one CMS, but we need way more of those 20k projects coming before we're able to do it. ;)


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Posted
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#73769
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Community saint

I've never had to deal with competing with myself by giving something away but I acknowledge that it must be a huge challenge.

I guess what I was getting at is that it seems that you want your marketing to exist in the low-end from the community and at the high-end with "large" accounts with big budgets. From previous posts, I've always read that to mean enterprise customers, especially after reading Chris's post on Twitter. My point is that ocPortal is the ideal product not for the enterprise (well, maybe it could be) but for mid-size businesses.

I guess one way of summing it up is the following: if you had the choice of having a story done about ocPortal in The Economist, Forbes or Inc., who would you choose. I know who I would want to write that story.

Small companies will usually lack expertise in-house and seek out a small web developer. Large customers will usually have resources in-house or will require you run the committee gauntlet to get their business. Mid-size businesses will often lack the resources but will be willing to pay to have work done. This is where I would make my play and I would make sure that all my marketing time and dollars were spent here.

As I said, it's easy to comment from the outside without having the actual knowledge of what your prior marketing efforts have earned you and where your typical ocProducts customer have come from.

At any rate, I think the new skins will be very beneficial. While we may disagree on the value of tossing in a free additional skin, the new skins should help to attract small businesses who may or (more likely) may not have budgets for customized work.

Bob
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Posted
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#73822
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Community saint

Chris and Robbie-

I spent some time reviewing all the on-ste marketing material and have to say that it is top-notch. In particular, the PDF that explains the agency services is really good. It is something I would definitely point a referral to.

I also liked the schematic diagrams showing the flow of the design process at the top of the page. It is very clear and makes people aware of not only their approval at each step but also the high standards that ocProducts sets internally. Unfortunately, I could never get the video to play in Mac Safari.

I think that if community members review these materials, they will become more effective ambassadors - they can really just suggest people review the materials themselves.

I am going to try to do some marketing of ocPortal online in the scripts review sites. I plan to use my "three Cs" argument that I mentioned in this post (View topic: Hey I am newbie. - ocPortal)
and point them in the direction of your marketing materials.

EDIT: The video does not play in Mac Safari - it works fine in Firefox and Chrome.

Bob
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Posted
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#73833
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Thank you very much for the constructive feedback!

The video plays fine for me (I'm using OS X 10.7, Safari 5.1, and Flash 11,0,1,98). What about you?


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