How To Set Up A Social Network And Community In WordPress With Buddypress And bbPress
Running your own social network can be confusing and very complex to set up, but it does not have to be. Buddypress was created to give you a simple way to bring WordPress user profiles to the front-end. This gives members the ability to view their profile information and interact with network components that are necessary to engage on your site.
BUDDYPRESS SOCIAL NETWORK
Buddypress has several features that are designed for communications and interaction. Here are the Spotlight Features:
• User Groups. Allow your users to create micro-communities.
• Activity Streams, for members and groups. Site-wide directory and single threads.
• Notifications, get notified. Smart read / unread options fully integrated.
• Friendships, create connections. It's always about who you know!
• Private Conversations with multiple members at one time.
• Extend BuddyPress with hundreds of third-party WordPress plugins.
If you are planning to set-up a network on your WordPress site, I suggest that you do not set it up when you launch your site. I have personal experience with setting up a network prematurely, and it's not a good idea if you have little traffic coming to your site. You will end up spending valuable time tweaking your site and playing with features instead of creating quality content for the growth of your site. Remember, a network will not grow your business just because you install a few plugins. Instead, focus primarily on content marketing and aggressive advertising campaigns to reach your target audios.
If you have followed this series, then you know the X Theme is fully integrated with Buddypress and bbPress. That means the set-up time will be dramatically reduced than if you tried to setup network configurations on a WordPress theme that is not integrated with these plugins. You can always install Buddypress later down the road with a few clicks of a button if your subscribers are asking for intelligent interaction on your site. It's always good to be prepared, but these features may not be a necessity for your business model. Try to always manage your time properly and do not just install plugins just to install plugins. That mindset could be the death of your business!
X THEME INTEGRATION
You can easily integrate Buddypress and bbPress with the X Theme. X uses the WordPress Live Preview Editor to handle these plugin configurations. It also has built-in menu functions for both Buddypress and bbPress. This makes the setup time very fast.
bbPress is forum software, made the WordPress way. It was also created by the people who developed WordPress. So you know the plugin will be lightweight and secure. Here is the Philosophy behind bbPress:
1. Open Source, always and forever.
2. Less (code) is more.
3. Code is poetry.
4. Simplicity is a feature.
5. Speed & security are paramount to a great user experience.
I really enjoy the simplicity of bbPress. It really is a quality forum software that is perfect for support forums, community discussions and even mastermind groups. I have installed it on a few of my sites and it has been proven to be very reliable. Once you install bbPress you will notice three new menu tabs in the WordPress dashboard – forums, topics and replies. You can moderate all your activity from these 3 tabs. Optionally, you can delete and pin posts from the front-end. Out of the box bbPress is simple and has basic features. But there are hundreds of add-on plugins you can install to bring greater functionality to your community. The options are almost endless!