Have you ever thought of incorporating a community or social Network with your blog? You have options of using a forum but you consider that has a diversion from blogging? You need not look further because there is a software to every problem on the internet. You will be glad to know that this WordPress Social Network Software from BuddyPress is free. The only thing you will have to pay is your implementation and design skills.
BuddyPress, is an open source software that allows bloggers who use WordPress to create a social network on their blogs. With BuddyPress, you can build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community all based on the power and flexibility of WordPress. BuddyPress will let users register on your site and start creating profiles, posting messages, making connections, creating and interacting in groups and much more.
To get this done, all you need is the BuddyPress WordPress plugins. There are already more than 125 BuddyPress plugins available, the list is growing every day. You can see the list of plugins by visiting the BuddyPress.org plugins page. Once you have made a choice of which plugin you want to install, you can them download them into your hard drive.
Installing buddypress is as easy as installing a wordpress plugin. For detailed instruction read How to Install Buddypress in WordPress MU.
You can download and install BuddyPress using the built in WordPress plugin installer. If you download BuddyPress manually, make sure it is uploaded to “/wp-content/plugins/buddypress/”. Activate BuddyPress in the “Plugins” admin panel using the “Activate” link. You will need to enable permalink support in your WordPress installation for BuddyPress pages to work correctly. You can set this up using the “Settings > Permalinks” menu in your WordPress admin area.
Finally, you will need to activate a BuddyPress compatible theme. Two BuddyPress themes are bundled with the plugin, you can activate these using the “Appearance > Themes” menu in your WordPress admin area. To install other BuddyPress compatible themes, use the “Appearance > Add New Themes” menu and select the “buddypress” checkbox before hitting the “Find Themes” button.
BuddyPress also includes support for discussion forums. Each group created on your blog can have its own discussion forum. If you’d like to enable this feature please use the “BuddyPress > Forums Setup” menu in your WordPress admin area and follow the on screen instructions.
Now you might be wondering if you can use your existing WordPress theme. Yes, you can. First install and activate BuddyPress, then download and activate the template extension pack. This plugin will run you through the process step-by-step.
Be sure to also try out the default theme bundled with BuddyPress. It provides all the awesome features of a standard WordPress blog, but also integrates the BuddyPress features both seamlessly and beautifully. It’s also really easy to modify with custom header support, widget support and via a child theme.
Finally, BuddyPress works on standard WordPress and WordPress MU.
Do you use BuddyPress? What has been your experience so far? Share your opinions about BuddyPress in the comment section below.