Building and Running an Online User Community with WordPress

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Interested in building an online user community website using WordPress? Well, you’re at the right place. In this article, you’ll learn about building good, interactive, sustainable online community.

After that, I’ll walk you through a leading WordPress community plugin that’ll help you build a strong online user community.

Why use WordPress for building your community?

online community website on wordpress

WordPress powers nearly a quarter of the entire web – a whopping 25%. I don’t think you need a source to back this info because WordPress is that big and you know it!

Well, if you don’t believe me, look for yourself.

This figure is growing every day making it even more crucial to ensure that your site is as good as it can be. Creating a WordPress community might be difficult, but not impossible.

So how do you use the power of WordPress to build a community?

You can build a WordPress community using one of the many community plugins that are available in the market. These plugins can be integrated with various add-ons to enhance your online user community.

So what kind of user community would you like to build?

Now that you’ve decided to build a community using WordPress, you need to narrow down on the type of community you want to create.

Keep in mind that your community should be user-friendly, and the members should find it easy to connect to each other. Your users should get a clear message of what help or advice you’re offering.

There are three types of online user communities – forums, social networks, and community blogs. The ultimate goal of these three types of communities is the same.

What’s the ultimate goal?

You want your customers or potential customers to interact with each other and your company.

Let’s talk about these three types in detail.

Want to build a WordPress social network website?

social media on wordpress

What’s a social network?

A social network is nothing but a revamped forum. A forum loaded with features. With this type of online user community, you can allow users to create usernames, customized profiles, and build friends.

This is the reason, WordPress social network is one of the most valuable tools to build your brand. It forms a sense of trust amongst the users and clients and gives them space to interact amongst each other.

Want to setup a WordPress forum?

wordpress forum

This is probably the fastest and most popular way to build a WordPress community. Creating a forum from scratch is quite easy thanks to different WordPress community plugins available in the market.

When should you go for a WordPress forum?

You should choose this type of community if you offer a specific service or sell an unusual (niche) product. People are always ready to discuss a niche product.

How about a WordPress membership community?

Community blogs is an opportunity for WordPress users to make their voices heard. The content of a WordPress membership community is user generated, meaning it will look after itself.

Publishing a blog post written by you takes time, and by using a WordPress community plugin, you can make your customers do the work for you.

Make content that is related to your business/niche. Reviews, tutorials or tip-based articles are the best way to add value to your site.

Must have features of an online user community

There is always scope to create unique communities with a plethora of features available in the plugins. But, there are some features that have to be in your community website to ensure that your users get a wholesome experience.

Let’s take a look at them.

Content restriction

The content restriction is important as it sets boundaries along your community. Admin should be able to restrict full pages/posts as per the roles of users and verified accounts.

When a user is logged out, the site or at least specific pages should be locked for that particular user.

Custom redirection after login/registration

With the custom redirection feature, you can choose the page where your user will be redirected after logging in or registering to your community.

This feature will help you create a certain path for your users.

Multiple registration forms

Creating multiple registration forms with custom fields gives you the freedom to create a more comprehensive community. You should be able to embed registration forms anywhere in your website.

Social features

Integration of social media with your community website is a must. Your users should be able to follow/unfollow each other, like posts and do other social media activities directly from your community.

Afterall, user engagement is vital; you should make your users stay on your website for as long as possible.

Which community WordPress plugin should you use?

wordpress plugin for community social networking website

Now that you have a fair idea of online user communities. Let’s see which plugin you should choose to build your community.

There are many community WordPress plugins available in the market. UserPro is one of them. You might want to give it a go.

Why so?

Well, apart from all the “must have” features, it has a lot to offer. UserPro is a robust community builder plugin that has a plethora of features in it. You can build your dream community with it without much hassle.

So, what are the features of UserPro?

Here’s a list of some of its features:

  • Frontend registration: Embed a fully customizable registration form anywhere you want.
  • Badges and achievements: Manually or automatically assign badges to users based on different criteria’s.
  • Social connect integration: Enable social connect and instant profile sync via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
  • Integrate with the best: Smooth integration with more than 100 WordPress plugins, including, BuddyPress, bbPress, MailChimp, WooCommerce etc.
  • Member listing layout: Display members list in whichever way you want. May that be in table format, collage layout or customizes your own layout.
  • Fully responsive: Communities created using UserPro can be viewed perfectly on any device with any screen dimension. That’s the beauty of being fully responsive.

UserPro has tons of add-ons as well. Use these add-ons to enhance your online user community.

With more than 16.5K sales on CodeCanyon, I think UserPro is one of the best community builder plugins out there.

Wrapping up

Whether you choose a social network, forum or community blog, choosing the best plugins make your WordPress community is vital.

You should be clear about what features you want in your community website and how you’re going to monitor it. You also need to think about speed, compatibility, and integration when choosing a plugin for your online user community.

Communities bring people of similar interests together. You can use it wisely to grow your business.

All the best for building your very own online community. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section 🙂

2 thoughts on “Building and Running an Online User Community with WordPress

  1. Hi,

    Love the article. What I also loved is the background colour and the text. Is this Proxima Nova? If yes which one? Also what is the background colour? Its like a slightly off white/Grey tint. I love it.

    UserPro looks pretty good too. Im currently using BuddyPress but.. May end up switching in future.

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