Is it a forum? Is it a support ticket system? Is it the Joomla equivalent of Yahoo Answers?
Today we take a look at EasyDiscuss, a flexible extension that can be used for all sorts of applications.
What is it? – A commercial Joomla extension that provides interaction between site visitors/site owners.
Who makes it? – StackIdeas, the same people who produce the amazing EasyBlog.
Why use it? - one of the best ways to manage user interaction is with a forum. But forums can be a hassle to manage and over bloated with features that are more trouble than they're worth. Conversely, some features that you do want such as social integration and voting are missing.
Communicating with users via a public site often means you don't have to repeat yourself. And if you're using it as a support forum, you're providing enormous value because people can search for an answer and potentially find a solution immediately instead of waiting for an answer.
Another benefit of a forum or discussion board or whatever we'll call this, is content. The more content a site has, the better it looks to Google. Content can lead to back links and the more incoming links you have, the more chance you have of moving up the search engine results.
The main features of EasyDiscuss we like are:
- it's easy to use!
- clean and simple layouts
- social integration
So EasyDiscuss can be used for a variety of purposes but let’s hear what the developers have to say. I caught up with Andrew Rogers, Marketing Manager of StackIdeas, to ask him to share some thoughts regarding EasyDiscuss.
BAJW: Andrew congratulations on the latest version of EasyDiscuss. How are seeing this exactly? Is it simply a forum or more than that?
AR: It is a forum, a questions-and-answers tool, a customer service tool, an ideas factory -- you name it. EasyDiscuss is as versatile and as focused in any way you want it to work so long as there is more than two participants exchanging conversations.
BAJW: I see. There are a number of forum extensions for Joomla, so why did you choose to develop EasyDiscuss?
AR: We noticed that all these forums are a little too advanced for the standard user and at times difficult to configure. We're killing few birds with one stone, really, by way of helping users starting a forum in Joomla in a jiffy. We see more and more users adopting the Joomla CMS and we believe that by making things easily comprehensible, these satisfied users will virally bring more users in to use EasyDiscuss, or Joomla, for that matter.
BAJW: What’s your favorite feature?
AR: My favorite would be the starting of a conversation itself where a user can quickly post a question and he/she can attach pictures or URL's to make that question comprehensible by any users. The process of it is speedy and the user can tap into the Twitter audience within seconds for responses.
BAJW: Can you give an example or two of creative ways your users have implemented it?
AR: There is a movie review site that uses EasyDiscuss to engage with their fans with movie related questions and trivias. Another website about health and fitness found pleasure in using our forum component to exchange advices and knowledge from health experts and health practitioners themselves in a focused environment. In the long run, EasyDiscuss emerges as a repository of all the knowledge from users that other users will keep coming back to refer. EasyDiscuss is quite a resourceful social network in its own way.
BAJW: Well that all sounds very interesting and I’m sure this would be great addition to many Joomla powered websites. Congratulations again on producing such a high quality extension.
AR: The pleasure is ours. We wish all EasyDiscuss users smooth discussions!
If you can live with a link back to your site, then the Community version is for you and costs just $59. The Professional version has identical features but is unbranded and costs $79.
Start engaging with your site visitors today!