BuddyPress is plugin that adds social network like abilities to the acclaimed CMS WordPress. Adding features like a better profile for your blogs writers which combined turn it into a fully fledged social networking site. Most of the possibly for this great plugin aren’t even existent yet! As more and more sites start to use BuddyPress its true power, and that of WordPress is astonishing.
Despite all this BuddyPress isn’t too hard to set up and use. In its early days a BuddyPress install required WPMU to run on, although since 1.2 that’s all changed, as BuddyPress can now run on a single WordPress install.
BuddyPress adds the following functionality to WordPress.
Activity Streams: Members can follow the activity of their friends or groups on your site.
Extended Profiles: The default WordPress profiles don’t even compare to these ones. The profiles can include friends, activity, groups, the latest posts by the member, a profile bio, and contact info, and that’s only the default options!
Friends: Members can add each other as friends, this allows them to communicate and track each other easily.
Private Messaging: Allows members to message each other privately so discussion doesn’t have to be “out in the open”.
Groups: Members can create and join groups on whatever topics they like.
Blogging: BuddyPress can tap into the power of WPMU and as of WordPress 3, multi-site therefore allowing you to give all of your users a fully functioning WordPress blog, the blog is integrated into the activity stream, and members can post on the blogs using their own account for your site.
These features can be turned on or off in the Admin Panel depending on how many of them you want to use for your site.
As BuddyPress is built as a normal WordPress plugin its extremely easy to customize to your liking and needs, if you know the basics of WordPress plugin development then you should be able to develop for it with only an extra bit of work, referring to the BuddyPress Codex or Support Forum
You can download BuddyPress here on the official site, which also includes support for the plugin as well as being the main place for BuddyPress discussion and development.
As powerful as BuddyPress is here is some useful plugins that you may like to consider adding to your site. Most plugins that work for a normal WordPress site should work for your BuddyPress site, although there are many great plugins that require BuddyPress to function correctly.
10 Extremely Useful BuddyPress Plugins
Allows your users to decide who can view their profile
Allows your members to send each other images as gifts. Site Admins can add / remove different gifts as they like.
Adds photo album capabilities to your site much like Facebook photo apps. Comes with plenty of options, although its recommended to test this plugin before use as there are a few known issues.
Integrates twitter into your BuddyPress site, allowing members to post links of their activity on your site, to twitter.
Integrates Facebook into your BuddyPress site, allowing members to post links of their activity on your site, to Facebook.
Adds two new widgets that you can use, “members” and “groups” allowing newest, Active and most Popular members or groups to be shown.
Allows members to earn points as a reward for taking part in the site, (requires CubePoints to work).
Works in the same way as the friends feature of BuddyPress except members don’t need to accept other members in order to be followed. Works the same as twitter.
Adds BuddyPress support to a normal WordPress theme. Allowing you to use any WordPress theme you like without needing to customise it to work with BuddyPress.
5 Great BuddyPress themes
Although the default theme is a great looking theme, here are 5 more great themes to choose from.
BuddyPress theme framework, is based on Thematic a WordPress theme framework.
What’s Up Next here on 1stWD?
This article was our first post in the BuddyPress series which gave you an introduction to BuddyPress. If you are not satisfied with the themes we listed here, feel free to browser the directory of themes over at BuddyPress official website or just wait for the 2nd article of series, in which we will show you how to create your own theme from scratch.
Have some question or confusion? Shout at us via comments section.:)