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Beginner's Guide to BuddyPress and bbPress - Two plugins to keep the conversation going

An interactive blog is much more interesting than one in which only the author of the blog writes. A conversation between two people or a discussion between readers may be of interest to other readers. They hear different points of view in one place, meet other people who share the same interests, and learn new things through discussions.

WordPress makes it easy for blogs to get feedback, start discussions and conversations. Two plugins - BuddyPress and bbPress can pretty much do the job for blogs and WordPress websites. BuddyPress is a plugin for adding a social network and bbPress helps you add forums. Both plugins are built by the WordPress team, so they are tightly integrated with WordPress.

BuddyPress

With BuddyPress you can create your own social media community. It now has over 200,000 active installs. It's the perfect tool to help you build small, local online communities such as a sports team, church band, drama club, or music band fan club. This also works for larger communities.

You can install the plugin directly from your WordPress dashboard. After installing it, you will need to customize the components, pages, and settings to suit the specific needs of your community.

Components

A social network is made up of many components. And most of these components - there are only 10 of them - are present in BuddyPress. You can use these components to enable these features:

  • Any user can register, create an account, edit or remove it from their profile.
  • Detailed profiles for users to describe themselves.
  • Users can chat with and follow other community members.
  • Adding new friends in the community.
  • Any number of users to continue the conversation confidentially.
  • Create groups that users can join and participate in.
  • Display the latest exchanges in an activity stream with support for RSS feed and email notifications.
  • To send notifications of any activity, allowing users to customize notification settings.

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Pages

After you've finished choosing the components you need for your community, go to the Pages tab to set up the pages that BuddyPress will use. Three are already created for you - members page, activity page and user groups page. You will need to create two more - for registration and activity. Use the page settings in your WordPress dashboard and select pages for each feature. Save when you're done.

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Options

The third and last tab is for options and you can enable/disable options as you wish. BuddyPress will then use the assigned pages to display the relevant content for your site.

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If you are on multiple sites, you can activate the plugin across the entire network or only on selected sites. And when you enable the multi-blog feature, the central sme data is used to display BuddyPress content across all sites.

A feature was recently added to allow embedding an activity. Any action shared by a community member can be included in a post or page by simply copying the action URL and pasting it into the post or page.

Themes and extensions for BuddyPress

BuddyPress works with most WordPress themes. However, if networking between users is important to your blog, you may prefer themes that include templates for each built-in BuddyPress component.

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One of the themes we recommend is Buddy - Multipurpose BuddyPress WordPress Theme. This theme has a clean and customizable design with full BuddyPress integration so you can easily create your own social network. Other great theme features include easy-to-use shortcodes, Retina support, individual or global publishing options, unlimited sidebars, child theme included, and translation files.

What's more, there are hundreds of third-party extensions and add-ons that enhance the capabilities of BuddyPress. With these add-ons, you can improve your network components. Some add-ons that might help,

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