Today, businesses and entrepreneurs cannot afford to ignore their customers. A vibrant community's real-time interactions and feedback are essential to get reliable and invaluable information about your customers or users. Online communities positively impact business outcomes.
Creating an efficient online community can be intimidating, especially if you try to develop one from scratch. Social networks let you achieve this quickly. Yet, these platforms cannot be your choice if you want to create and have end-to-end control of a dedicated private community that centers around your niche.
The entirely free WordPress (WP) plugin, BuddyPress, may be your best bet to succeed at this challenging task. Presented as a "social network in a box," this plugin enables you to build a winning online community on your WordPress website effortlessly.
The open-source BuddyPress solution brings the best out of your site with its many core community features—even as it helps you scale up. You need not code or spend a dime, either!
Why choose BuddyPress for your community
The BuddyPress plugin enriches your community website immensely in many ways. These advantages include the following:
1. Direct contact with visitors
2. Invaluable information about these users
3. Be more productive
4. Lasting relationships with members
5. Members' trust and advocacy
6. Custom feeds for users
7. Users' joy of creating their profiles
8. User notifications about site activity
Maximize the efficacy of your BuddyPress community
The BuddyPress plugin's expandable community functionality unlocks value for all stakeholders—regardless of the nature of your business. It will help if you put your BuddyPress integration's core functions in place first to get the best community outcomes.
BuddyPress offers 500-plus free high-quality extensions along with customized themes. If used optimally, BuddyPress can be the backbone of your WordPress-based community site.
The first step is to optimize your BuddyPress site for speed, performance, security, and more. This step ensures a riveting community experience for your members—even during traffic surges.
1. Optimize BuddyPress community functionality
Once installed and activated, BuddyPress adds a new page to the backend of your WP website. From the "New" option under Settings, choose Features, Pages, and more through the respective sections.
Here is a quick rundown to get your BuddyPress community site up and running:
Step 1: Enable the components
To activate the components necessary for your community site, go to:
Settings >> BuddyPress >> Components
Step2: Configure the settings
Click the Options tab to manage additional options such as Notifications and Private Messaging. You can Enable or Disable them to suit your requirements. Next, set your BuddyPress pages from various Directories page options based on the enabled components.
Step3: Map Pages
This critical setup step ensures the creation and mapping of all pages. Enable "Membership: Anyone can register" so new members can sign up for Register and Active pages.
Step 4: Configure the menu
The last step is to create a new menu. Go to:
Appearance >> Menus to create your new menu and add BuddyPress-specific components. Click On-screen options and check the box.
2. Use the menu smartly
Go to new tabs in your WordPress dashboard.
The Activity tab allows you to filter the activities by type, such as:
- Created a group
- New member registered
The Groups tab lets you create and manage user groups:
- Public – Communications are open to all members who can search through these
- Private – The same feature sets as Public
- Content – Hidden in the group directory or searches, group members access this only with a group admin invite
3. Empower your community site with 12 rich features
1. Activity Streams — Let members post updates to their activity stream and amass your site's activities. These include activity stream, group activity stream, member activity stream, and more.
2. Extended User Profiles — Allows you to create infinite relevant and crucial extended profile fields (like activity, notifications, messages, friends, and groups) to enhance user experience. Members can edit profile data and customize account settings. You can also group the fields under sections.
3. User Groups — Brings together members, posts, and user-generated content. Any member can create a group and become its administrator. Each group page allows the addition of avatars, names, and friends and the cancellation of friend requests.
4. Force User Login - This feature lets you hide your community from public view. Only logged-in users can see your site activity.
5. Extended Friendship Request — Lets a member request friendship. Members can follow each other's activity feeds, communicate directly, and participate in group discussions.
6. Notifications — The admin bar profile menu displays new notifications as the member tags you or replies to your update or comment.
7. Messaging — Private messaging is your community site's internal email system for members. Each user has their inbox and sent message folders.
8. Media Add-ons — Provides support to background photos, featured images, videos, audio, and traffic engagement.
9. Community Content — Contact the Author add-on helps users to contact the author of a post, product, or service.
10. Global Search — Streamlines members' searches through old posts, members, forums, and activities.
11. BuddyPress Social — Delivers traffic to your community site by adding share buttons to each activity item.
12. Block Members — Helps you deal with trolls and unruly users.
The next step is to install some top-grade BuddyPress plugins. This will go a long way to make your community site robust and businesslike.
4. Consider these five innovative BuddyPress extensions
This comprehensive social plugin changes the look and functions of your community site. Youzify's advanced community features and management solutions help create Facebook-like profile pages. You can also use the social login feature to connect existing social media profiles.
A top-selling must-have extension for WP/BuddyPress community sites, Ultimate Membership creates multi-level exclusive access. You can offer users free or paid plans that define various levels of access or the addition of 40 other add-ons.
AtomChat is ideal for creating a community chatroom on your BuddyPress site. The plugin's rich spectrum of features ensures simple and engaging text, video, audio, and group chats. This advanced chat plugin works across WP/BuddyPress websites, devices, and browsers.
The extension has all the crucial features to keep your members motivated and engaged. If you want to highlight specific members on your community site, you can mark them as featured members.
rtMedia is the answer if you require an add-on compatible with a large ecosystem. Or if you need a feature-rich media solution for your BuddyPress community site, bbPress, or WordPress website. It lets you attach media to the activity streams with no code.
Lastly, install a suitable theme from numerous WP themes compatible with BuddyPress. These extra features are handy for building a community site that meets your and your users' goals.
The BuddyPress Advantage
An impressive BuddyPress community translates to a website you can quickly scale up. When complemented by customized, one-on-one interactions, BuddyPress ensures that your business has a game-changing community by its side—24x7x365.