Build Site Membership Organically Through Relationships With Invites for WordPress, WPMU, and BuddyPress Sites

Never underestimate the power of an invitation. If a potential user receives an invitation to your site, chances are he will at least visit to check out what it’s all about, simply because of his relationship with the friend who invited him.

Relationships are more powerful than advertising, search engine optimization, or any impersonal marketing effort.

This is the same as in the world outside of the internet. If it’s a community experience you’re selling, then there’s no better way to market it than through the network of relationship that your users already have built over years and years outside of the internet. There’s something about being invited that instantly makes a site of more value to the potential member. At the very least it piques his curiosity. 

Introducing the WP-Invites Widget

The WP-Invites Widget was released this month for the purpose of adding a public user interface for BuddyPress compatibility. It adds a widget for registered and logged in users to invite friends by submitting their e-mail-address. This widget requires an installation of WP-Invites, which is compatible with WordPress, WPMU, and BuddyPress. It’s important for you to know that the combination of these two plugins will make an invitation code required for registration on your site. The widget it adds is entirely configurable from the dashboard. You can set your own title, description, invitation email and a message after the invitation process is done. It can also be configured for multiples so that you can place several different instances of the widget, each with their own configurations.

Here’s how the Invites Widget works:

  1. The user adds one or more email addresses in the textfield.
  2. The form is sent through an ajax request to the server.
  3. The plugin loads the WP-Invites plugin and makes one invitation code.
  4. The invitation code, the inviter’s username and email address are added into the invitation email.
  5. A message is sent back to the widget informing the user that the email has successfully been sent.
  6. The invited gets an email with the invitation code and an URL to the signup page (or the register page in BuddyPress), and will now be able to create an account.

An invitation-only site is not for everyone, but it can be very useful for private directories and also for blocking spam blogs. Not all BuddyPress sites are open registration networks. Many communities are using BuddyPress simply for the ease of content management and member organization all in one. If you need an extra layer of spam protection and the confidence that your community contains only genuine, connected users, check out the new WP-Invites Widget.

Comments (6)

  1. The widget idea is great. However the restriction it imposes to regular registrations makes it unusable for us. Hopefully a modified version of the wp-invites plugin is released soon.

  2. This plugin didn’t fare so well with my setup of WP single user and buddypress. There are tables missing that the widget looks for when a new user attempts to register, and there are no options in the admin to set an invite code.

    I’m assuming this works better for recent WPMU + buddypress installs vs. the original WP + BP install.

  3. When everyone starts to use invitations — it is no longer unique method and would be considered spam, Imagine you are subscribed some where and you receive so much invites that it’ll be auto considered as spam. Also, Invites are only goof for same niches, otherwise people might lose interest very quickly.

    For example, you can invite your friend from Facebook, although you are “friends”, he might have no interest in what you offer, well, unless you are both webmasters or something like that.

  4. The problem I am having is that activation code is not validated on signup page as they can signup without entering anything in the box.

    Can someone help me on how I can change that so that only invited members can sign up.