BuddyPress is one of the most popular WordPress plugins which helps in transforming your WordPress site into a fully fledged social networking site. The WordPress CMS is insanely powerful and this is a plugin you’re absolutely going to need if you want to create profiles, groups, and make your website interactive. It’s as easy as installing the plugin and activating it. Do remember that BuddyPress is a resource hogging plugin. So, make sure you have at least a VPS server. Most shared servers won’t be able to support it.
Here is a good BuddyPress YouTube video I found:
What you need to know about BuddyPress is that, it’s divided into different components. Each of the component provides a dedicated offering.
The extended profiles feature provides users the option of adding more information about themselves. It’s similar to how any social networking site works. But before that, the administrators need to add those fields in the backend. For example, if you’re an admin of your site, you need to go to Users >> Profile Fields.
Once you’re there, you will see the only field that is enabled by default which is the Name. To add a new field, click on Add New Field. You will be taken to a new page on the WordPress dashboard.
The first thing that you need to do is add the new Field Name. After that, you can add the Field Description and also select the Field Requirement and Field Type. From Field Requirement, you have the option of selecting either ‘Required’ or ‘Not Required’. ‘Required’ will make it mandatory for the users to fill it in. Field Type can have multiple values. Check out the screenshot below.
Also, make sure you enable registration so that new members can sign up which you can do from General.
Now let’s take a look at some of the basic features that you’re going to get after installing BuddyPress.
Activity stream is kind of like the Facebook NewsFeed where you’ll get all the updates like Personal, Mentions, Favorites, Friends and Groups. If you have any of the activity related to any of the above, then it will be shown on Activity Feed. The more active your site, the more crowded your activity feed is.
The Activity stream can be viewed both from your site as well as from the WordPress dashboard. You can view all of the activities. If you’re the admin, you’ll be able to view all the member’s activities.
The Notifications Feature is same as what we get in Facebook. In the Notifications page, you will get 2 types of notifications – Read and Unread. The
notifications that have already been read will come under Read and the ones which have not been read will come under Unread.
The users have the option of sending private messages among them. You will have a separate Inbox, Sent, Compose and Notices. Inbox will have all the messages you receive from other members. Sent will have all the messages that you sent to other members. With Compose, you can create new messages for sending to other users.
Like any social networking site, members have the option of creating groups. From the backend, you have the option of viewing all the groups. You will also be able to view the number of members.
The Settings page provides the user with a lot of global options. For example, if you’re the admin whatever changes you make will be reflected among all the users.
The two main settings are Toolbar and Account Deletion. Enabling the Toolbar option will show the toolbar for logged out users. Enabling the Account Deletion will enables existing users to delete their own accounts.
In Profile Settings, you get two main settings – Profile Syncing and Profile Photo Uploads. Enabling Profile Syncing will sync your WordPress profile from BuddyPress profile. Enabling Profile Photo Uploads will give the users the option of uploading their own avatars.
In Group Settings, you can enable the option of creating groups. Enabling this option would allow your users to create groups among themselves. It’s similar to how a Facebook Group works.
In Activity Settings, you have two options – Blog & Forum Comments and Activity Auto-Refresh. Enabling Blog & Forum Comments will allow activity stream commenting on blog and forum posts. In Activity Auto-Refresh, it will automatically check for new items while viewing the activity stream.
So, make sure you check out BuddyPress. Also keep in mind that it’s a resource hogging plugin. So, at least have a VPS account with your host. It’s not a good idea to run it on a shared server. You can download the buddypress plugin here at https://wordpress.org/plugins/buddypress/