Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have dominated the digital space for quite a while now. Today, it’s going to be quite challenging to find anyone not linked to any social networking sites. However, a major concern that’s popping up among these social networks is privacy and security.
Both Facebook and Twitter have faced lawsuits over data privacy and data harvesting issues. The most notable among them being the 'Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal’ in 2018.
So, it’s no surprise that people are ‘signing off’ from famous social networks and ‘signing in’ to private social networks.
Private social networks can be an attractive option for users worried about privacy concerns. For private social network owners, a couple of additional benefits stand out. You can monetize memberships and content through selective restrictions or tier-based accounts, put in extra layers of data security, and also, create member directories.
In this article, we will focus on plugins that offer all the important functionalities of a social networking site.
Here are some plugins that are great for their respective functions:
• BP Better Messages (Replacement for BuddyPress Messaging)
5 Best Plugins That Offer Core Features
Here is a list of plugins that can help you build your own private social networking WordPress website:
One of the most popular names in the market, BuddyPress offers an impressive suite of features similar to most top-of-the-line social networking sites. With BuddyPress, you can customize your website with the ability to host private messages, create social connections and allow users to create groups or interact inside them. The plugin has a simple learning curve, making it a go-to choice for newcomers. Moreover, the powerful features coupled with the ability to effortlessly integrate it into your WordPress website, makes this plugin a crowd favorite.
• Packed with different BuddyPress plugins, all available for free.
• Built-in support for Akismet (anti-spam) and bbPress
• Users can create blogs and share them with their friends
• Create micro-communities (a group within groups) and have discussions on specific topics while being part of the primary group
• Build custom profiles and customize profile visibility settings
2. Ultimate Member
Another popular option when it comes to plugins, Ultimate Member allows members to have their user profiles and sign up to your social networking website easily. It is mainly geared towards building advanced online communities with front-end profiles, login, and registration. Regarded as a one-stop-shop for all managing problems, Ultimate Member is a great choice for site owners who wish to work with basic or advanced social network building tools.
• Create multiple registration forms for specific roles or purposes
• Manage your user profile by customizing the appearance and securing your profile with email and password.
• Advanced member directories to easily find other users
• Customizable Nav Menus based on user roles.
• Custom profile tabs for users to create notes and private messaging.
3. Profile Grid
Profile Grid focuses on group creation, memberships, and overall user profile building. While described primarily as a ‘user profile plugin’, Profile Grid can do so much more: collect payments for members, accepting and sharing blog posts, and even becoming friends with group members. It is one of the few plugins that offer advanced messaging services as a part of its core features.
Coupled with a host of other features, Profile Grid can be an affordable and seamless way to integrate social network features (as well as monetization) to your website.
• Set group badges (unique identifiers), member limits, and membership fees for each group
• Content restriction features within groups
• Posting of wall posts and blogs within the group
• Groups can have user privileges based on their specific interest. (These privileges are different from WordPress User Roles)
• Private live chat and instant user notifications features
ProfilePress is a great membership plugin that allows you to build and customize user profiles, login pages, and account dashboards. You get the freedom to create custom frontend forms for user registration and password reset options. You can even control the interface of users when they edit their profile information. While ProfilePress is generally a go-to option for seasoned developers, the simple interface is a blessing for those who are new to the field.
Comments is a WordPress plugin that allows users to comment in real-time on your WordPress website. A highly responsive and functional plugin, it comes with three modern comment layouts and has full integration with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The plugin allows you to have a comment thread present and is also powered by AJAX for the best speed, optimization, and storage.
Use a Community Plugin Such as AtomChat to Make it Even Better
AtomChat is a very powerful community and messaging plugin that can easily be integrated with your WordPress website. You can replace the messaging service feature of BuddyPress or other plugins with AtomChat and adopt its powerful real-time messaging and video conferencing features. This amps up your social website even further by providing multiple advanced features for communication and collaboration. Using plugins such as AtomChat can truly allow you as a site master to enjoy and actively contribute to creating an ever-growing online community.
Creating your own social media website and building a safe and private online community can seem like a necessary task in the current environment where personal data and privacy can be compromised at any moment. On top of that, if you want, you can even create a private social network based on your interests and draw like-minded people to build a strong community around it. So, why wait? Start building your private social network now!