Have you ever wanted to incorporate a community or social network into your blog?
Now you can. With BuddyPress.
You will be glad to know that this WordPress social network software is completely free.
BuddyPress is open source software that allows WordPress users 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 lets users register on your site. From there, they can:
- Create profiles
- Post messages
- Make connections
- Create groups
- Interact in groups
- …and much more.
To get this done, all you need is one of the BuddyPress WordPress plugins.
There are already more than 125 BuddyPress plugins available and the list is growing every day.
- You can see the list of plugins by visiting the BuddyPress.org plugins page.
Once you have made the choice of which plugin you want to install, you can download it onto your hard drive.
Installing BuddyPress is as easy as installing a WordPress plugin.
- For detailed instructions, read How to Install BuddyPress in WordPress MU.
You can also download and install BuddyPress using the WordPress plugin installer.
If you download BuddyPress manually, make sure it is uploaded to:
Activate BuddyPress in the “Plugins” admin panel using the “Activate” link. You will need to enable permalink support in your WordPress installation for BuddyPress 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 already 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, 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 of 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 this theme with custom header support, widget support, and child themes.
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 comments section below.