Location check-ins are an exciting part of social networks that let members keep track of their friends doing fun things in fun places. Users love to broadcast their locations and the option to check in keeps them coming back to visit the site, especially via mobile devices.
Not all social networks are created the same. If you’ve settled on WordPress as your CMS and want to build a social network or add community features to an existing site, you actually have a decent selection of options for making your site more interactive. Over the past couple of years, several plugins have emerged as strong contenders for transforming your WordPress site into a full-featured social network. In this post we’ll examine the strengths and features of each of the top three plugins available for building a social network with WordPress.
Without the help of plugins and/or custom theming, there’s not a lot of flexibility with WordPress sidebars. When you’re working with BuddyPress, a set sidebar may not always be the best choice for use sitewide with your various components. BuddyPress developer @slaFFik has released a new plugin that aims to give you more flexibility in widget display, whether it’s in your sidebar or footer or any other widgetized area.
The team at PressCrew has a growing shop of WordPress products. Balance is their latest theme, due to be released in the middle of April. The theme release will coincide with version 1 of their Infinity Anti-Framework.
Check out the live demo at infinitythemes.net to see the theme in action.
The crowd at WordCamp Netherlands was privileged to have expert BuddyPress designer Tammie Lister as a speaker this year. If you weren’t lucky enough to be able to attend, don’t worry – you can at least check out the slides.
BuddyPress developer Boone Gorges announced today on the BP Development Blog that BuddyPress 1.6 will include some basic privacy options for user profile fields. This new feature will be called “Visibility”. Having some form of profile privacy is one of the most-requested features for BuddyPress and very soon it will be a reality.
Individual users will be able to edit their profile field visibility on a field-by-field basis.
Getting information about how your BuddyPress users are interacting with the community can be very useful in relationship to your development goals. It’s also especially important if you’re trying to strategize ways to monetize your BuddyPress site.
BuddyPress Component Stats is a new plugin that can help you start collecting some valuable information. It gathers statistics about the users who interact on your social network and classifies them according to the main components of Buddypress (Forums, Groups, Blogs, Activity, Friends, etc.).
You can also conveniently export the records found to PDF and XLS formats for use within other applications.
After Themeforest opened up its market for BuddyPress themes, there has been a flood of successful themes released. Buddies is the latest to be added. It’s a responsive, minimalist BuddyPress theme with bbPress styles integrated for a seamless design.
The Buddies theme uses the same framework as Gratitude, a previous release from ZenThemes, and it’s been hailed as one of the easiest frameworks to use. The theme also includes a unique widgetized homepage that changes when a user is logged in:
Besides being fully responsive to mobile devices, the Buddies theme features:
Customisable accent color options via the options panel
Custom Background Support
Want to see what designers and developers are doing with BuddyPress these days? Here’s another installation of our BuddyPress eye candy series, featuring a few of the latest communities with uniquely customized themes. Newcomers to BuddyPress always have questions about how flexible the platform is for theming. If you’re wondering what’s possible with BuddyPress, just check out a few of these sites for a bit of inspiration.
Love This Tune
Love This Tune is a community for people who love music videos. At this site users can watch thousands of music videos online for free.
BuddyPress doesn’t have enough breadcrumbs! Want to improve navigation within your community? Breadcrumbs Everywhere is a plugin that will add breadcrumb trail navigation within BuddyPress components.
Here’s what it looks like on member pages:
Here’s an example of breadcrumbs on the group pages:
The plugin includes a few admin options for changing the text for the home link, blog link and the breadcrumb divider: