As the world becomes more and more social, the way businesses interact with their customers has also had to change. It’s no longer enough to simply have a website acting as your placeholder. You now have to create communities of customers and engage with them effectively.
The current decade has seen the steady rise of community websites dedicated to building tribes and leveraging social networks to attract more customers. No matter what type of business you’re running, you need a community of followers who believe in your business.
So What is a Community Site?
Keeping your web visitors interested in your content enough for them to keep coming back is pretty tough in today’s competition. However, the new tactic of running a community website is paying off big time.
A community site is basically a private social network where people engage on topics that are of similar interest to all members.
Running a WordPress community site has been made easier by the availability of a myriad of WordPress community plugins. They are handy tools that will get people hanging out and engaging on your site for a very long time.
What’s the Importance of a Community Site?
Community sites are great because they bring together people who are already interested in what you have to say. For someone to join your community site, they must have liked what they saw and want more of it.
Community sites are a perfect way of driving traffic to your website. The more people join your community site, the more interactions will take place and thus the higher your web traffic.
The engagement that goes on in a community site makes your website rank higher on search engine results. When people take the time to read your content and interact with others, then your bounce rate will go down increasing your street credit among search engines.
Sold on why you should have a community site? Now let’s take a look at the 5 best WordPress community plugins that you should consider.
5 Best WordPress Community plugins of 2017:-
This is one of the top rated WordPress community plugins available. Its features include:
Integration: The plugin is convenient and will integrate seamlessly so many other WordPress plugins that you might be using already. The plugin is by far one of the best when creating a community.
User profile: You can create customized, front-end user profiles with UserPro. Add unlimited custom fields, twitter-like verified badges, custom header background and more.
Member directory: Display members beautifully using a default or enhanced member directory option. Also, comes with custom search and filter options.
Follow/Unfollow: The plugin allows you follow or unfollow users, all accounts are verified before being added to your site and you can choose which content to share with your community members and which one to restrict.
Responsive Design: To add to the plugin’s versatility, UserPro comes in a fully responsive design. This means that your members will enjoy a wonderful browsing experience regardless of the type of device they are using to access your site.
Customizing: The plugin has unlimited CSS ability. You can also customize it fully or take advantage of the five ready to use skins included in the plugin.
The plugin also comes with unlimited Google Fonts support as well as 350+ Font, awesome icons that you can use for your user profiles. These two features will be great in enhancing the aesthetics of your site.
User Badges: The plugin lets you add user badges and achievements on your site to entice more interaction in your WordPress community site.
Easy and Safe Registration: Anyone interested in joining your site will be required to register using their email addresses and will be able to set a password to keep their accounts protected. In case they forget their passwords, they can use the plugin’s front end password reset and change function. This way, users will never have to access the back end of your site.
Available in 12 Languages: The plugin is available in 12 languages giving your diverse members more language flexibility.
Social login: One unique feature that makes UserPro stand out from other WordPress community plugins is that it allows your users to sync their social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Vkontakte) to make the experience even better.
Content restriction: UserPro lets you restrict content on your website based on user roles and membership status.
It is a premium WordPress Community plugin built by Azzaroco on CodeCanyon. It is packed with dozens of features like:-
Custom fields: – To create custom registration forms and user profiles.
Recurring payments: – Offer multiple payment options to users for buying memberships on your community site. These include one-time payment, monthly recurring payment, trial period, limited time offer payments, etc.
Multilevel access: – Ultimate Memberships Pro allows you to create a multi-level workflow. Create access for a limited time, long term or specific time period like holidays.
Drip content: – Release content at regular intervals using the drip content feature. You can set the intervals based on subscription time or user levels.
Easy sync: – Easily sync members from other platforms like bbPress, BuddyPress, WooCommerce, etc. into your community.
Member directories: – Create beautiful member directories using different themes and color scheme splits. Allows member search using different search and filter criteria.
BuddyPress is a great WordPress community plugin meant for social networking on your site and comes with a host of features.
Social Networking Features: The plugin allows members to create profiles, create group chats and also message each other privately just like you would on a social network.
Sophisticated Features: This plugin goes beyond being a forum plugin, giving your users extra features that make engaging on your site more sophisticated. The plugin will make your site truly social.
Easy Customization: Most of the features can be turned on or off making BuddyPress fully customizable and adaptable to your site.
Easy to Install: Besides its awesome features, the plugin is easy to install and use and does not require and technical know-how.
Another one to the list of WordPress community plugins that lets you add stunning user profiles to your community site. The plugin goes a step further and allows you to create advanced online communities. Other features include:
Hassle-Free Sign Up: With Ultimate Member, your users can sign up and become members of your site hassle-free from the front-end of your site. The creators of the plugin have one major focus; to make creating a community site simple and flexible. This plugin delivers on this fully.
Pro Version>: If you want more features, try out the Ultimate Membership Pro. This version allows you to create a community site with multi-levels that allow exclusive access to various types of users. You can base your member levels on Free packages or Paid packages. This feature makes it very easy for you to turn your community site into an income source by providing your most valuable content at a fee to those interested without losing the interest of the non-paying members.
Content Restriction: The plugin has the content restriction feature that allows you to protect your content sections, pages, categories, images, menus, products, and URLs by enabling restrictions.
5. Users Ultra
This is the best WordPress community plugin if you want to create an advanced user community in just a matter of minutes. Here’s why:
Integration: The best part about this plugin is that it can be integrated into any WordPress Theme allowing you to implement your own preferred design.
Fields Customizer Tool: The plugin allows you to add as many fields as you want to your site through the use of the Fields Customizer Tool.
Safety Feature: The plugin also comes with reCaptcha to protect your site from spammers and bots.
Flexible Signup: The plugin lets your users signup and log in by using either email or social media accounts including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Google, or LinkedIn.
Customization: You can customize all the available components giving you the power to make your community site as unique to your brand as possible. This will also let your community site stand out and attract more members.
Follow Feature: The plugin also comes with a Follow feature that allows you and your members to follow other users whose content they are interested in. This will greatly increase user engagement on your site. Because this is an advanced community, the plugin gives your users the prestige of sending a friend request to other users and also share photos privately or publicly.
So there you have it, our recommended 5 best WordPress community plugins of 2017 that will make creating and managing a successful community site a breeze. Whether you’re interested in creating a community blog, a forum or a social network on your site, these are indeed the best options for you. Here is a quick final comparison below:-
Before you get started, keep in mind the type of community you want to create, the kind of content you want to share with members, how you will provide value and keep it going. Don’t just start a community site because others are doing it, do it because you have something valuable to give your members.
Finally, when settling for the best community plugin, put in mind its speed, flexibility, compatibility, and integration. These will be the features that will determine the kind of experience your site users have on your site. You want to make it the best. So choose wisely!