Here we list out best WordPress community plugins to help webmasters integrate communities with WordPress and get visitors involved into their sites.
Communities are great for increasing website traffic. By gathering a large number of visitors and encouraging discussion between members, they link visitors and webmasters to be more closely and improves reader loyalty. WordPress community plugins help webmasters easily build community sites with WordPress. By easily setting up a blog and installing a proper community plugin, you can allow visitors to submit content, have a real discussion in post comments, and even combine with social networks.
Best WordPress Community Plugins
To help readers save time and simplify the selecting process, our editors have tested and reviewed hundreds of community plugins and referenced user comments. Finally, we come out the below options as the best WordPress community plugins.
BuddyPress is a powerful WordPress plugin that takes the self-hosted WordPress sites to integrate with social network and community features. It allows you to handle user profiles, user groups, activities, and others within WordPress blogs. So you can use it as a social network for schools, colleges or universities or a communication tool for friends, organizations or companies; and more. As a result, you can easily develop WordPress community with BuddyPress.
User Ultra is an ideal community plugin for building talented user communities in WordPress sites. It is very easy to handle, coming with flexible and customizable modules. Besides, you can use the Fields Customizer Tool to insert fields as many as you need.
This plugin has many powerful features, such as social connections, photo galleries, paid membership, responsive design, videos, rating system, friends, and more. It even has a premium version that includes some advanced features like followers, advanced user management, user online / offline status, user wall, custom CSS, my post listings, and so on.
FV Community News
FV is a Community News plugin developed for allowing visitors to adding related news from other blogs to your site. It supports for custom post type that has a featured image and tags. With both widget and shortcodes supported, the plugin enables you to display posts and news variously and sundry.
WP Bulletin Board
WP Bulletin Board is a useful plugin that combines WordPress sites with Facebook and Twitter features. It allows visitors to sign up on your site via Facebook and display the Twitter account on the website to attract followers. In addition, it includes a private messaging system that enables users to send messages to each other. With the full compatibility with the latest WordPress versions and all kinds of themes, this plugin is helpful and practical to build WordPress communities.
bbPress is a forum plugin developed by the founder of WordPress. With no doubts, it comes with complete compatibility with the WordPress software, and is very easy to build a forum on WordPress way. It is also fast, light, simple and customizable, making the simple WordPress blog to become a powerful community and forum.
WP-United : phpBB WordPress Integration
WP-United is designed to build up a social website by combining phpBB with WordPress sites. It takes use of the power of WordPress plugins and publishing system, and integrates with phpBB format. It features with user integration, template integration, behavior integration and even cross-posting. Finally, you can make use of this plugin to create a full-featured and attractive community website.
Talki Embeddable Forums
This is a comprehensive and easy forum plugin that simply adds a forum to WordPress websites and enables your visitors to start their own conversations. It is the simplest way to insert a forum page, message broad and discussing board to the blog. Besides, it also fully works with common used login system, such as Twitter, Google, Facebook, and so on, which makes visitors easily to be your members.
Muut – Commenting and Forums Re-Imagined
Muut is a modern and fast discussion platform that can be inserted into WordPress sites and customized to match your site. It comes with a clean and simple interface, lightweight framework, fast responding speed and responsive layout. As a result, you can deeply integrate it with your site and focus on topics you like.
DW Question & Answer
DW Question & Answer is a good solution to build a Q & A website with WordPress, like Stackoverflow or Quora. This plugin is highlighted for the provision of some noticeable features.
- With multi-languages supported, this plugin enables you to reach users from many countries.
- There will be a close relationship between users and your website, because users can vote and pick best answer.
- Since this plugin provides reCAPTCHA support, your website is protected from spams.
CM Answers has been trusted more than 2,000 users who want to add a Q & A system in WordPress, like stackoverflow. Just like many others, this plugin allows users to vote and answer the comments. However, it is possible for you to control the access of comments to your website with the purchase of the pro version. This can be completed through the limitations on the user role.
In addition, this plugin is in support for file attachments, allowing users to upload files in a discussion board format. Admittedly, the free version comes with many functionality. However, the premium version is much more powerful than the free one.
Why Build User Community?
With the aim to save much time for content creation, most of you want to have content generated by your customers from the front-end. In fact, there are more than one good reason to encourage user generated content.
- Your website content can be more relevant to your users. There is no doubt that your audience can better understand what your audience care much about.
- According to Demand Gen Report, three to give piece of reviews will be taken for reference before 47% survey respondents’ purchase of services or products.
- A closer engagement between you and your customers will be created. This is because customers will have a sense of being treated seriously. As a result, they are willing to spend more time staying on your WordPress site and listen to more voices from others.
- Customers will have more trust in your brand after taking a closing look at reviews. And they will come to a conclusion that your products or services are trustworthy.
- Search engines will give preference to your site where there are high quality user generated content. Therefore, you can have a higher expectation for improved SEO.
Enabling front-end content submissions is of great importance to your business. Below are some tips you can use to get more user generated content.
- Encourage users to leave comments on your website. It is recorded that 71% users are willing to make a deal on the product or service which comes with positive reviews.
- Allow users to better express their ideas with videos and photos.
- Be open to user-generated blog posts with the showcase of ads.
- Establish a closer relationship with users via a forum, message board, wiki, and more.
- Allow users to enrich your business directory.
A BuddyPress Tutorial for Installation & Configuration
As a popular social networking plugin, BuddyPress has been widely used by a lot of webmasters, communities, organizations, and companies to set up a communication platform. It is open source and free of charge, and is 100% compatible with WordPress.
To be honest, this tool is very powerful and useful for setting up the forum, online discussion board or dating site. Thus, we’d like to present a detailed BuddyPress tutorial, with which you can install, set up, and configure this software for better performance easily.
At present, the latest version of BuddyPress is 1.9.2 that has been released since February 5, 2014. You can download it from BuddyPress.org. Simply click the red Download button the navigation bar of the official site, then you can be directed to BuddyPress WordPress plugin page. After clicking the Download Version 1.9.2 button with the orange color, you can upload it to your WordPress site with ease.
In addition to this method, you can also download it from your WordPress dashboard directly. You click the Plugin tab in the left-sided bar, and click the Add New button. After entering the term of BuddyPress into the search box and clicking the Search Plugins button, you can see your target being displayed at the search result page. Then, simply click the Install Now button.
Next, you will be directed to an activation page. You only need to hit the Activate Plugin button, then you can use this tool immediately.
Set Up BuddyPress
Since a “Welcome to BuddyPress” page comes out automatically and an item called “BuddyPress” appears under Settings, you have successfully installed this plugin on your website. A list of features is shown on this page and that helps you have a rough idea about this powerful open source social networking software. After glancing over all details, click “Get started” to access to BuddyPress setting page.
There are three tabs available for BuddyPress customization, including Components, Pages and Settings. Here, we are going to explain those tabs one by one as below to help you have a better understanding about BuddyPress settings.
Components tab includes 10 options that can be shown on the website front-end when selected. You first have to read over the brief introduction for each item and then determine whether to put it into use. Do it according to personal needs. The status is shown clearly above the list of options, in the aspects of Active, Inactive, Must-Use and Retired.
Pages tab is further divided into two pages, namely, Directories and Registration. The Directories is where to associate an existing page on your site to a BuddyPress component directory, and it includes “Members” page and “Activity Streams” page. By default, two pages are newly created named as Members and Activity for that purpose. You can leave the default setting or select other pages to be associated with component directory from the drop-down list.
Likewise, the Registration section allows you to associate certain pages to the Register page and Activate page respectively. Select a page from the drop-down list or leave the default one to save trouble. Perhaps, if there is no page satisfying your needs, go to Pages > Add New and create a new page as planned. You can check the page on front-end by clicking “View” button.
Various settings are available in the Settings tab and that falls into three major sections, including Main Settings, Profile Settings and Activity Settings. Each section further includes two options for different purposes and that requires you to make a decision to check or uncheck certain options. Read over the details for each item and then click “Save Settings” since you have all changes done.
Set Up User Profile Fields
There are two items coming under Users once you install BuddyPress on your website, including Manage Signups and Profile Fields. Profile Fields is where to set up a signup field on your site while Manage Signups helps you take full control of all pending accounts. Here requires you to set up user profile fields via Users > Profile Fields at first.
One field group named as “Base (Primary)” is added to profile fields by default, which is shown on the signup page for collection of user’s personal information. BuddyPress allows you to modify a group by clicking “Edit Group” button. In fact, the only field group cannot gather comprehensive information of your members. Thus, you should set about adding more fields under the Base group like email, gender, birthday, first name, last name and so on.
Click “Add New Field” button under Base (Primary) and enter the name of this new field along with a brief field description. Select “Required” from the “Field Requirement” drop-down list and that means users have to fill out this field when signing up an account on your site.
Besides, multiple field types are available for that field, which are designed for different purposes. For example, the default setting “Text Box” is great for an email field while “Drop Down Select Box” is designed for the question with fixed answers, like Gender field. For the Birthday filed, the “Date Selector” is just about it. Make the right decision according to actual situation.
After having the Default Visibility and Per-Member Visibility set up, click “Save” button to create this new field. Add as many fields to this group as planned in the same way. As thus, the field group on backend should be like the following example and that allows you to edit or delete certain field if needed.
When visitors get started on registration, then the page would be redirected to Profile Details as below.
Since the Base group is used to collect some basic information of your visitors, you can add more field groups to further gather profile details from them. Click to “Add New Field Group” setting page and enter the name & description that new group. That is used to collect more information from registers after signing up. Create field group and go back to Users > Profile Fields. Target the newly created group and add as many fields as needed to it.
Set Up Groups for Better Interaction
BuddyPress features User Groups that allows users to create and manage groups to share updates with other members in the group. If there is no item called “Groups” on the sidebar, go to Settings > BuddyPress and check the option “Users Groups” under the Components tab. And then, go to Groups interface and click “Add New” button. The page is automatically directed to the Groups page on your website front-end.
You are required to create the first group by finishing three steps, including Details, Settings and Photo. Give the new group a proper name and a brief description. Click “Create Group and Continue” and move to the next step.
The Settings mode enables three privacy options for the group founder determines who can join this group. Set the permissions by selecting a proper privacy option from public, private and hidden. That is exactly a great method for privacy protection. Besides, the Group Invitations helps group founder determines which members are allowed to invite other users to join this group. That is further divided into three options. Select one according to personal needs and then go to the last step.
The Photo tab requires group admin to upload an image and set it as a group profile photo. Choose file from computer and upload it to the website. The recommended image size should be larger than 150 x 150 pixels. Finally, click “Finish” button to confirm all changes.
And now, the group admin can get started to post the first update in this newly created group and make a decision which content should be shown in that group by setting the “Show” option. Since the first update has been published, members are allowed to Comment and Favorite this update as needed.
Create more groups in the same way and that is great to stimulate interaction between you and your members. Certainly, you are able to Edit, Delete and View any group via the Groups setting page.
If you check the option “Activity Streams” under Settings > BuddyPress > Components, an item called “Activity” appears on the sidebar. This is where to check all activities since users create a group, post an update or leave a comment on your website. That makes it convenient for you to track any activities once happening.
You can check the author, submitted date and action for all activities as well as Reply, Edit, Spam or Delete certain activities if needed. That makes it much easier to prevent comment spam on your website. Besides, a filter helps you search for activities in an effective way according to various criteria, including Members, Profile, Xprofile, Activity and Groups.
And now, you are encouraged to install and activate BuddyPress on your site right now and explore more than just what we have mentioned above.