I would prefer an IPS made app. Just because I think it can be polished and would like IPS support, but since it's not something in the works I'll probably jump for one of the custom apps.
FACT: New members don't like navigating forums. I can understand that. It's a hassle, especially with multiple apps. Most people like to scroll brainlessly until something catches their eye - just like watching TV. That's the way it works. The way users find new information to interact with currently is far inferior to the vast majority of users. Most of my members have never seen, used, or understand the View New Content button.
If it isn't intuitive within three seconds and one page load, your potential new members are probably going back into their facebook groups to discuss your topic.
Not that I believe we should cater to everyone, but I think it's something that should be thought about in these times. Some communities have different needs, and a feed among other social-y things would broaden the IPS customer base quite a bit I imagine.
edit: Just to be clear, I think users should be able to directly reply to threads on the feed, blog entries, and possibly create new topics from this feed. Expanding divs "See more" to accommodate long content, the option to set the feed as the default community / log-in page, and the whole enchilada. I'll pre-pay for mine. :D
I notice when I import a blog through RSS I am not automatically following the blog, and entries. But, when I create a local blog I am automatically following the blog and all entries.
This causes an issue with notifications. I never receive any notifications when a comment is placed on one of my RSS blog entries. My suggestion is to mimic the settings and notifications of a local blog for the RSS imported blogs.
Another feature that would be nice is allowing admin to make certain blog categories through ACP. This way members could select what category their blog should be place in when creating it and editing their settings. And then a sidebar hook on the blogs page to allow members to sort blogs by a specific category.
I believe IP gallery has something similar, but i'm not 100% positive as I do not use it. And as far as I know IP Blog does not have this feature, but I may have missed it, so please let me know if I did.
I am not an SEO expert, so I do not have any opinion on that specifically. But, I do notice my Wordpress blog gets better rankings than IP. Like I said I'm not an SEO expert, so I do not know how to improve, but based on personal findings, Wordpress seems to rank better.
I did have a difficult time finding where to add a meta title and description in ACP for IP Blog, though. Maybe this could be a little easier?
Another: Adding announcements to the IP Blog homepage like you can do with the forum. This may be possible already, and I may have just missed it. If so, please let me know how to accomplish this. I've only had IP Blog for a few days.