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5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

Community building is its own sweet reward. Who doesn’t like the idea of a virtual space where your targeted audience comes together to share ideas/Q and A/ wrangle/ et al?

The next question, of course, is whether it can be done on WordPress. The answer: Come on. It’s WordPress. It can handle anything. Checkout

So for those looking to build a virtual Common Room/ Frat-house/ What-Have-You, here’s a list of top 5 plugins to make it real:

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“BuddyPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

You can’t put ‘WordPress’ and ‘community’ in a sentence together and not end up talking about BuddyPress at some point. Figured we’d just get it over with now.

I sound resigned, because really, there’s no better plugin for community/network-building than BuddyPress. Attempts have been made and failed spectacularly. BuddyPress continues to reign supreme.

It’s feature-packed and free, ‘nuff said.

This plugin packs practically everything you would need, and more, for creation and management of communities: Member profiles, Activity feeds, User groups, Messages, etc. And that’s just the beginning.

With BuddyPress core features as the foundation, you can begin layering more features with BuddyPress-compatible plugins to add even more configuration options and variety on top of your user-network.

Recommended: Start with W3 Total Cache (Check it out here) and work your way up as needed.

2. bbPress

bbPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“bbPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

bbPress is like a skinny, lanky Loki to BuddyPress’ Thor.

This plugin is another one that started or ended up being adopted by Mullenweg and co. (like WooCommerce in 2015). Regardless, the core plugin on its own is light, easy to setup and integrate, and highly extensible with other WordPress plugins and bbPress add-ons.

The plugin only adds basic forum functionality to your website. But with creative customization and crafty themes, it will work for all sorts of visual ambiance. Case in Point: Support forums for WPMU-DEV, Woothemes, and dev4press.

3. Sabai Discuss Plugin for WordPress

Sabai Discuss plugin for WordPress

Price: $23

Available at: Code Canyon

This is one of the best-selling WordPress forum plugins on Code Canyon.

Sabai adds extremely filterable and easy to navigate ‘discussions’ and ‘Question and Answers’ streams to your website. It lets you create custom fields (for the search filters), and has a visual form editor to create the search forms. It comes with 9 widgets, 10 email notification templates, and more.

Design tinkering-capabilities aside, the plugin itself is pretty smart. It has code snippet highlighting, ‘featured’, ‘flagging’ (for spam moderation) and ‘favorite’ Q&A, Role/Reputation-based access system, and more. Think Stack Overflow, focused on you.

The fact that it is also translatable and supports RTL is no surprise (good plugins and themes do that), but it sure cements the faith in the plugin. It uses JavaScript responsibly (for improved interactivity) and needs no FTP connection to update.

Plugins like these make me happy. They pose fewer problems for users to fret over later. The only damper comes from the fact that it is probably late for an update, but if you are a web development company that knows what it’s doing, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

4. WP Pro Forum System

WP Pro Forum System

Price: $21

Available at: Code Canyon

Another easy-forum plugin and it’s so shiny you can almost hear it.

Pro Forum highlights code snippets, lets registered (to your website) users create topics, replies, and comments using the TinyMCE editor WordPress packs as default (improved with some shortcodes). The topics can be made sticky (for when certain topics come up all the time).

Users can add/upload images, set access permissions on their content (Privacy). It works well with your theme and can be further customized easily.

It’s a lovely, no-nonsense plugin that sticks to the necessary and drowns the rest.

5. DW Question & Answer

DW Question & Answer

Price: Free core plugin. Free and paid add-ons (optional)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

The best things in life are free. This plugin is (mostly) one of them.

DW’s Q&A plugin covers all the basics and goes the extra mile too. Users create, edit, and delete questions, moderators order/delete them. Everyone can search using the thorough filters. There is a voting feature (best answer), content privacy (depends on user submitting the question), sticky discussions, ‘follow’ discussions, et al.

It supports CAPTCHA and at least 11 languages. It has email notification system. There is a free add-on that enables Embed question and Social Sharing, which is perfect.

The entire plugin is like a beautifully decorated suite with furniture choices available. You can work those in as desired.

Endnote

There are more, and there will be more community and forum plugins since the trend is taking hold. The plugins mentioned here are in no way latest, but they are coded for efficiency and they are reliable.
That’s all you need from a good plugin really.

How to install WordPress

If you are new to WordPress and want to learn how to install WordPress on your own server for testing, or if you want to install it on your main, live server for building websites.  In either case, this tutorial will show you how to install WordPress from scratch, without having to use the automatic installers that sometimes come with shared hosting environments.  It is sometimes best to install WordPress from scratch to avoid some bugs and issues that can some with other methods.

Please don’t forget to checkout our other video tutorials about WordPress:  If this WordPress video tutorial helped you please don’t forget to click the like button to the left of this page and share it with your friends.

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Change WordPress Permalink Structure Without Losing Backlinks

Change WordPress Permalink Structure Without Losing Backlinks

When it comes to changing settings within WordPress, the permalink structure is something that people often leave alone after their blog is established. The permalink structure, however, is one of the most important settings within your blog. This setting dictates how your blog’s URLs are to be written and ultimately affects your SEO and readership.

If you have a blog with timeless or “evergreen” content (meaning that the posts are not at all related to the date), then I would suggest using the /%postname%/ permalink for both SEO and practicality purposes. The only type of website that should have dates in the permalinks is a news blog such as 9 to 5 Mac or CNN. The problem, however, is that the default WordPress permalinks include the date and many people do not think about changing the setting until it’s too late.

My permalink settings way back in 2012, were set to show the year, month, and then the post name. So a basic post written in December 2012 would have a permalink like www.omegaweb.com/2012/12/basic-post. Most of my content is evergreen content, so I wanted to change the structure to be www.omegaweb.com/basic-post instead.

Lucky for me (and you), the developer of the leading WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast has created a tutorial (don’t worry, you don’t need to use Yoast SEO) on how to change the permalink structure without losing Google rankings and backlinks from other sites.

1. Find Out What Permalink Structure You Use

WordPress Permalink Settings

The first step to changing your WordPress permalink settings is figuring out what configuration you are using now. To figure this out, go to Settings > Permalinks inside your WordPress dashboard.

2. Use the Yoast SEO Tool To Generate The Redirect Code

Change Permalink Structure

Now you need to use the Generate Redirects tool to create the code that you will need to add to your .htaccess file in step 3. Once you get to the tool, enter the URL of your blog, then select the current permalink structure that you discovered in step 1.

3. Add The Code To Your .htaccess File

When you hit the Generate Redirect, you will be given a single line of code that needs to be added to the top of your .htaccess file. If you don’t know what your .htaccess file is, I would suggest contacting your web host and asking them to change it for you.

4. Change Your Permalink Settings In WordPress

Postname WP PermalinksNow that you have the code added to your .htaccess file, you need to change the settings within your WordPress dashboard to make the redirect active. The code generator that I shared in step 2 only converts your current structure to /%postname%/ because it’s far superior to any of the other methods (according to Joost of Yoast SEO).

You will need to go to Settings > Permalinks and change the settings to post name. Once you do that, your new permalinks should be active and the old permalink structure should redirect to the new one.

Did You Run Into Any Problems?

Did you run into any troubles in the process of switching your permalink structure? Did it work perfectly for you? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to share it with your friends.  If you need help with a project or would like to refer a lead to us, please visit our web design website.

How To Install Hello Bar Solo On a WordPress Site

How To Install Hello Bar Solo On a WordPress Site

After purchasing Hello Bar Solo, I found that there is hardly any documentation showing how to enable it on a WordPress blog. I have put together a nice YouTube tutorial that goes over every aspect of installing Hello Bar on a WordPress site. The video is embedded below.

You will need the following code for this tutorial:

function hellobar_scripts() {
wp_register_script( 'hellobar_solo_js', 'http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-content/themes/yourtheme/hellobar-solo/hellobar.js');
wp_enqueue_script( 'hellobar_solo_js' );
}
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'hellobar_scripts');

function hellobar_styles() {
wp_register_style('hellobar_css', 'http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-content/themes/yourtheme/hellobar-solo//hellobar.css');
wp_enqueue_style( 'hellobar_css');
}
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'hellobar_styles');

 

<script type="text/javascript">
new HelloBar( "Giveaway: Free Web Hosting Accounts From Zyma Technologies<a class='button' href='https://www.omegaweb.com/2012/10/giveaway-free-zyma-technologies-web-hosting-for-one-year/'>Enter To Win!</a>", {
showWait: 6000,
positioning: 'sticky',
barColor: '#bc0c0c',
borderSize: 0,
helloBarLogo: false,
transition: 'bouncy',
speed: 750,
}, 1.0 );
</script>

Hello Bar Solo