So, why change your welcome headers to an image?
The same exact text is being read on every single page by the spiders who see it. Because of it's prominent placement on forums, they are apt to use it to describe each of your page.
We started seeing blurbs from our welcome header messages show up in search engine "descriptions" of individual pages, and it said nothing about the content of the page to people who might find us.
It also dillutes the value of other keywords on each forumhome, or thread display, because they show up on every single page.
Spiders can not read the text in images (yet! ), so we should take advantage of that to keep content relevent keywords as important as we can.
STEP 1) Make an image with the text you want for your welcome headers.
I prefer Adobe Photoshop, but many image programs out there can do it.
Make it a gif, transparent background so that it fits on all your themes and you dont have to worry about color differences at all.
Make parts you want people to click on 'bold' so they stand out.
Use the same font if you want it to "blend in" to the rest of your page, or use something different to make it stand out even more!
Make sure that the width of the image is less than the width of your page. If fixed width, make sure it's less or equal to the width of the lowest image resolution you care about for your users.
IE: If people who use less than 800x600 don't matter much to you, then make it 800 or less.
When done, it should look something like this:
Once you're done, in Dreamweaver or Frontpage (or another program if you have it):
STEP 2) Create New: HTML
Insert -> Image
Put the tag attributes you want, if any
At the bottom, you should see something similar to this:
STEP 3) Select the square:
STEP 4) Select the text you want to be a link.
At the bottom, you want to add the link you want that text to go to, any alt text, as well as whether or not you want it to load into a new page.
Repeat this step for other areas you want to select, like is done on The Liberty Lounge Political Forums
Once done, you should see some code like this in the code part of your HTML editor:
STEP 5) AdminCP -> vBulletin Options -> Welcome HeadersCode:<div align="center"> <img src="http://www.libertylounge.net/status/political-forums-welcome.gif" width="800" height="200" border="0" usemap="#Map" alt="Liberty Lounge Political Forums - Welcome" /> <map name="Map" id="Map"><area shape="rect" coords="23,96,193,116" href="http://www.libertylounge.net/forums/register.php" alt="Register today!" /> <area shape="rect" coords="504,136,587,160" href="http://www.libertylounge.net/forums/sendmessage.php" alt="Contact us!" /> </map> </div>
You'll want to click on the "click here" link under the "Enable Guest Message" part of the Welcome Headers option, and paste the above code from your HTML editor in there.
I only changed the guest one, because it's the only one spiders will see. The other ones can remain as text for your users, but now spiders wont index the same text on every. single. page.
I hope this helps some of you who've sent me a message asking how I did it.