WordPress is a platform for many different websites, including social networking sites. Many social networking websites rely on BuddyPress to build their community platform. This plugin adds a whole basket of features necessary for social networking capabilities like user registration and creating profiles and groups. Over and above these features, you’ll find that many BuddyPress plugins add functionality to your networking sites.
You can get started on your social networking site if you get these tools in place—WordPress installation, BuddyPress, quality BuddyPress themes, and suitable BuddyPress plugins. Or else, you can add a social group to an existing site, for instance, a study group on an educational institution’s website or even a dating website with help from some neat dating themes.
Free BuddyPress Plugins
With WordPress, you’re almost certain to find a plugin for any function you need. These free plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory can enhance the user experience on your networking site.
1. rtMedia for WordPress, BuddyPress, and bbPress
rtMedia can elevate your BuddyPress community experience to a whole new level. Media elements play an important part on a social networking site, and rtMedia can handle these elements efficiently.
There’s not much you have to do by configuration with this plugin. The BuddyPress-related settings in the plugin will be turned on automatically once the plugin is inactive mode. You’ll not have to worry about compatibility with smaller devices as this plugin adopts a mobile-first approach.
When clicked, the media tab on every profile page opens up many media options—albums, photos, videos, music, playlist, and documents. You can upload media, add comments, and create albums and slideshows here. Uploading to BuddyPress Groups is also possible if the Groups are enabled on your BuddyPress.
With the plugin active on your WordPress, it’s possible to attach all kinds of media to any activity on the site. A user must attach a file, select appropriate privacy settings, select the group or profile to post to, and then update the post.
In addition, rtMedia offers 35+ premium add-ons for uploading, editing, and managing media on BuddyPress. They include a shortcode generator, sidebar widgets for uploaders and galleries, an extension for Instagram effects, a view counter, and a custom thumbnail for audio/video.
2. BuddyPress Group Email Subscription
Whenever there is any activity in the group, all the group members will learn about it with this plugin’s help. The plugin keeps all group members in the loop by sending out emails whenever any activity occurs.
The emails will go out automatically to group members at a frequency of their choice. Users can choose from five subscription levels—daily, weekly, as soon as there is any activity, or whenever there is a new topic. Of course, they can also choose not to receive any email. Group admins can select any of the five options and apply it group-wide to new members.
The daily mail will digest all the emails from the group the user is subscribed to. The emails and a helpful summary for each topic will go out each morning. The mail’s summary and timing can be managed from the backend. Users can also choose to follow or to mute any discussion.
The group admin has overriding powers and can send emails to all subscribers irrespective of their subscription status. These features make BuddyPress Group Email Subscription a convenient option to keep all group members up to speed with group activities.
What good is a social network without a chat room? Users or group members ought to be able to enter into a discussion in which other members can participate. iFlyChat is a free plugin perfect for group discussions and chat rooms on a community or social networking site. Further, it allows any two members in the group to enter into a private conversation with each other. Using a shortcode, you can call up the records of a conversation.
This plugin will be useful for dating sites, online courses, fan clubs, and similar groups. Not only that, but you can also configure the plugin to provide online support for any product or service.
All chats are routed through cloud-based servers, so the response time is fast. Moreover, you need not fear that a heavy chat traffic may slow down your site. By adjusting the settings, you can set up moderation for chat rooms and allow participants to chat anonymously. Participants can attach files, share pictures, videos, and URLs, and use customizable emoticons.
If security concerns you, you’ll be happy that chats are automatically encrypted for SSL secured sites. Logged-in users are spared the bother of signing into chat. Most importantly, the plugin automatically integrates with BuddyPress, and users’ avatars and profile links appear in a chat. It can also access the BuddyPress friends list.
You’ll need to upgrade to the paid plans to remove branding, unlimited chat rooms, and longer retention of chat records.
4. BuddyPress Xprofile Custom Field Types
You can now take your BuddyPress members’ profiles to an entirely new degree. With BuddyPress Xprofile Custom Field Types, you add new features to the profile that they can fill out at free will. Regardless of the type of community, you are growing, chances are, additional fields might be necessary. With BuddyPress Xprofile Custom Field Types, you can add them swiftly. Speaking of custom fields, you can now introduce date of birth, image, file, email, website, min/max number values, etc. Besides, with the plugin’s future updates, you can expect even more custom fields to be available for you and your members to use.
5. BuddyPress Registration Options
With BuddyPress Registration Options, you have complete control over your users, preventing spam and bot traffic. Upon installing this BuddyPress plugin, you can manually approve and disapprove new users, which will help you keep your community in order. This way, you can create a fully private network of users and members, without anyone accidentally slipping through. Indeed, super convenient if you will.
When approving or denying access, a custom message is sent to the user, letting them know whether they are in or not. Of course, you can fully modify and alter the message to your themes and topic precisely. There are five different messages you can set up and send out automatically. From approved and denied to admin and user pending to name a few.
6. Verified Member for BuddyPress
When a social account becomes large, an authority, the network marks it as verified. Of course, not all become a verified member because not all qualify. If this interests you in adding to your forum or online community, you can now realize it with Verified Member for BuddyPress plugin. You can now manually verify each user with the tool, displaying a “verified” badge in the front-end.
With the plugin’s quick and straightforward installation and activation process, anyone and everyone can take it to their maximum advantage. You can also choose where you would like to display badges, like activities, profiles, members lists, comments, you name it. A similar blue check badge appears on Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms.
7. BuddyPress Notification Widget
BuddyPress Notification Widget is a simple plugin that adds – needless to say – a notification feature. All your logged in users can now get notifications about admin mentions, friendship requests, new groups and other useful information. Of course, each user can manually clear all notifications before or after reviewing them. This BuddyPress plugin is a simple widget you can add to your website by dragging and dropping it to the appropriate area. Quick to activate, easy to use, and beneficial to the end user. Add more features to your existing web network and offer your users an even better experience engaging with others.
BuddyForms is a drag-and-drop form builder that comes with ready-to-use templates. The plugin is compatible with BuddyPress and gives you control over user-generated content. It automates the process of generating content within a community or a network. Besides the usual forms like contact forms and registration forms, it also supports collaborative efforts. For instance, you can build a showcase where users can submit their products as well or create comprehensive articles with content contribution from many users.
BuddyForms offers a user-friendly interface that helps build contact forms or any other advanced form without coding skills. Users can submit content from the front end, and site admins get to moderate submitted content in a streamlined fashion.
BuddyForms is a great option for social marketplaces as it combines well with BuddyPress, WooCommerce, Ultimate Member, and WooCommerce vendors. The form supports multiple field types and allows admins to set validation rules. Forms can be embedded anywhere on the site using shortcodes.
Custom Profile Menu for BuddyPress is a nifty and easy-to-use solution that will help you get the job done without needing much work. You can use it for all sorts of intentions, like adding home, activities, profile, and notification pages, to name a few. A plugin does just that if you want to expand your BuddyPress website with more pages in the profile menu.
Installing this free WordPress plugin for BuddyPress is also swift and user-friendly. Once you install and activate it (in two clicks!), a new BP Custom Menu section appears in your admin dashboard. There, you can create new custom pages and publish them as well. You can also create a sub-menu page (mark it as “parent”).
10. BuddyPress Global Search
BuddyPress Global Search is all you need to add a solid search function to your BuddyPress community. This free plugin allows users to search the entire website, not just the forum or the community section. They can also search pages and posts and anything else you have going on on your BuddyPress website. How convenient! This new feature also beautifully integrates into BuddyPress, as part of the default search. It also supports live search results!
Moreover, once you complete the installation and activation, all it takes is to define which components to include, and you are good to go. BuddyPress Global Search supports blog posts, members, forums, groups, activities, messages, and custom post types. If you want to exclude something, now you can, or tick them all.
Premium BuddyPress Plugins
You do not have to restrict your search for BuddyPress plugins to the WordPress Plugin Directory. Many third-party premium plugins are also available. They can add specific functions to extend your BuddyPress capabilities. Some plugins filter bad language, plugins that play nice with WooCommerce and BuddyPress to enhance online shopping experience within communities, and many more plugins. Three plugins are featured here.
11. WP Content Filter
You’ll surely run into all kinds of users on any social network. While some add value to the site with interesting profiles and discussions, others spam and use swear words. It’s best to catch unwanted and indecent language before it hits your discussion pages. This kind of language merely brings shame to your website.
WP Content Filter is effective in cutting down profanity on your WordPress website. It also comes with a built-in scanner that sweeps the entire content and makes a report of matching items. While the plugin can be downloaded from the WordPress repository for free, you’ll have to choose one of their paid plans to filter BuddyPress content.
To block select content on your network, you must list words to filter. That’s all you need to do by way of configuration. However, there’s many options that you can alter to control how unwanted content is displayed on your site. You can apply strict or liberal filtering. Strict filtering will blank out the words you specify even if they form part of a bigger word. You can choose the sections of the website that you want to filter. If you wish to blank out words leaving the first letter visible, that’s also possible.
The database content does not change at all. The content merely passes through the filter before it is displayed on screen. It’s also possible to exclude specific pages and posts from filtering.
12. WooCommerce BuddyPress Integration
To know about the shopping habits of community members, you should try WooCommerce BuddyPress Integration. The plugin is easy to use, requiring no configuration. All the shopping data from WooCommerce are integrated into the BuddyPress member profiles. With so much information about each member, you can attempt to personalize their shopping experience.
All customer reviews find place in the activity stream. It encourages members to talk to one another about your products or brand and syncs all WooCommerce data with BuddyPress data. Users can edit their shipping and billing address via their member profile and access all personal information on one screen. Even checkout is possible via the shopping cart on the profile page. The members can track the order status on their profile with the order ID received in a confirmation email.
13. BuddyPress Featured Members
If some members are active on your networking site or want to showcase any outstanding member, you can mark them out as featured members and display them prominently on the site. This serves as an incentive to other members to be more active on the site. BuddyPress Featured Members allows site admins to mark profiles as featured and display them on a list or slider.
Multiple members can be marked and featured with the help of a shortcode or a widget. The members list can be customized as well.
BuddyPress is a versatile, reliable, time-tested plugin that can serve as a secure platform for your community network. It’s compatible with WordPress and has an active community supporting it. While the plugin works just great out of the box, the plugins in this list can improve user experience and help you build a vibrant and active community.
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