Social community sites come in all shapes and sizes.
Public and private.
Membership and open forum.
Social media and professional networking.
WordPress is the ideal choice for building your own social network website or app.
It’s an extremely versatile Content Management System containing a variety of powerful plugins and themes from companies all over the world, free and paid.
These plugins and themes are going to be key in letting you create your very own social network or community website on WordPress.
Ready to start creating your social community?
We’ve curated a list of the best WordPress social community plugins and themes that you can use to help grow your website and engage with your users.
Best WordPress Social Plugins
Because social networks have such a heavy communication component to them, you’re going to need a community website platform that not only allows your users to login, but provides functionality for community members to talk with each other, to engage with various types of content, to join groups, and much more.
Luckily, there are a host of community plugins that you can install on your WordPress site to save you time and money developing the functionality yourself.
Let’s take a look at some of the top community and social plugins for WordPress:
BuddyPress is the first of the WordPress community plugins that we need to address.
The cornerstone of community websites and social networks built with WordPress is BuddyPress. It’s the ideal foundation for any kind of online community website you’d like to build.
You can think of BuddyPress as the most efficient way to build a social networking website, and it comes complete with an administration area that will let you manage your community website.
It includes tools for profile management, activity streams, post reactions and engagement, internal communication, and more.
There are 500+ plugins and themes that are built to work with BuddyPress, so start with this and you’ll have lots of options for integrations and the ability to use complimentary plugins and themes along the way, which can help you continually improve your website.
When you want to open discussions between members in your network, a forum is the perfect place for them to make connections, seek support, and generally get involved with your business.
bbPress is one of the most popular social plugins available for your WordPress site.
It’s designed to help you easily create a WordPress forum or bulletin board that will encourage discussion and communication between users on your website.
It’s designed to run fast and be easy to use for site owners, which makes it an ideal plugin for quickly creating your forum.
If you want to ensure that your discussion board seamlessly fits into whichever theme you’ve chosen as well as the plugins you’re using to power the features of your site, you can feel confident that it’ll be compatible with bbPress too, as it’s compatible with over 200+ add-ons.
If you’re looking for a powerful, all-in-one plugin to help you manage subscriptions for your membership website, MemberPress is for you.
MemberPress is ideal WordPress membership plugin if you want to sell online courses, create a members-only forum, and more. It will be suitable for websites that are just getting started and still figuring out exactly what features they need to include, and powerful enough for businesses that are further along. It’s powerful and feature-rich.
It combines rich features such as the ability to accept payments, control which users see content, sell digital downloads, and more, with an easy to use user-interface and robust support system.
“MemberPress handles subscription payments, has a User Account Dashboard and a complete REST API — plus it leverages the power & flexibility of WordPress.
MemberPress comes with all of this out of the box. That’s why it’s quite useful to those wanting to write an app but don’t want to worry about re-inventing the wheel when implementing the payment and account pieces.
So, MemberPress is great for testing new businesses, MVP’s and more. We have a growing number of customers who are using MemberPress in this way and are having great success.”
– Blair Williams, MemberPress
MemberPress will work well with almost any WordPress theme too, so you can style your website however you want!
Price: Plans start at $129/year
While there are many social media sharing plugins that also include WordPress social login capabilities, you might want to focus solely on the login component for your community.
If that’s the case, then Nextend Social Login and Registration is a beautiful choice.
This WordPress social login plugin gives your users the choice of logging in through Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. It also gives you a lightweight plugin that keeps configuration simple, meaning you can spend more time on actually running your business.
“It’s not easy to get more visitors and potential customers for your website, so I believe it’s important to let them become a member of your website as fast as possible. Nextend Social Login is the easiest and simplest way to convert these visitors to members of your website.”
– Ramona, Nextend Social Login
Want to get started with it?
Here’s what their team recommend:
“If you’re still not convinced you need a social login plugin for your WordPress site, I recommend reading this blog post, which lists several reasons why having social login options for your users is essential for your website.
Price: Starting from $50
If you’re going to build a social network, then you have to give users ways to chat–privately or publicly. No popular social network exists without this functionality, so it’s crucial that you consider it!
You can easily allow this functionality with user chat systems.
Wise Chat is a user chat plugin for your social network that going to want to use. With this plugin, you can create a chat system that rivals the styling and functionality of Facebook Messenger or Slack, and take your website engagement rates to the next level.
Here’s why Marcin from Kaine, the company behind Wise Chat, recommends it:
“Every site admin wants to increase visitor engagement. The best way to accomplish this is to add social features, such as a chat! Wise Chat Pro plugin for WordPress makes adding this social element to your website easy. There is a huge amount of useful features like private chats, moderation, social networks integration, and more!”
Price: Free plan or $40 for the Pro license.
Another plugin that you might need for your WordPress community or forum is Content Censor.
It’s easy to setup and works out-of-the-box.
Depending on the type of website and user base you have, you might want to restrict certain content such as profanity from being posted in the forums, and having this automatically moderated is likely going to save you lots of time in the long run.
Price: $39 for a single site, other plans available.
If you want your community to grow quickly, friend referrals are going to be one of the best marketing channels available to you.
Invite Anyone is a friend referral plugin that’s ideal for your social network built with BuddyPress.
Social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more have had their growth heavily driven by friend referrals in this way, so it’s worth implementing if you want your user base to grow organically without spending money on advertising.
Best WordPress Community Themes
Your website will need a community theme that not only matches your brand, but that lets your users navigate and use your community website with ease.
Here are some of the best WordPress community themes you can use for your website:
BuddyApp by SeventhQueen is a flexible intranet/extranet theme for community websites.
With a mobile-first approach, this theme is an incredibly helpful tool when it comes time to turn your WordPress site into a mobile app too. It’s optimized to function on all devices – which is important considering mobile apps account for 70% of social media usage time – which makes BuddyApp a great theme choice if you expect your users to access your site from their smartphones.
As well as this, you’ll be able to manage your community site from both your desktop or mobile!
“BuddyApp theme brings a bold design to the table. You can easily create your intranet site and allow only registered users to access site content. It also allows you to have an open community or an awesome shop.”
– Gabriel, SeventhQueen
You can easily get started with BuddyApp documentation here.
Price: Starting from $39
In 2018 it’s the best-selling BuddyPress community theme, thanks to it’s flexibility, great designs, and ease of use. It also works with bbPress forums and integrates with lots of other WordPress plugins!
In addition to including social networking, forum, and other community features, it also comes with functionality other business concepts would find useful.
You can easily enable features that will let you include features related fto eLearning, eCommerce, and business directory websites.
“KLEO incorporates all the tools you need to build a community, portfolio or shop. You can install a demo you like with a click of a button. Another great thing in KLEO is that it will work nicely with other WordPress plugins you might need for your business. With over four years of existence, KLEO keeps getting better and better each day.”
– Gabriel from SeventhQueen
Want to get started with KLEO? Check out their dedicated resources here.
Price: Starting from $59
Woffice is our final theme recommendation. For those of you building an community website for professional purposes or educational environments, this is the theme to use. The reason for which is because of the features included in Woffice: project management, event scheduling, Slack integration, etc.
But, you don’t just want to hear it from me.
Baptiste Debever, Co-Founder of Alka-Web, the company behind Woffice explained why it’s an ideal theme for your new WordPress community website:
“Starting up a business is tough, and Woffice can help! Woffice offers the ability to create and host a community online in less than 10 minutes, completely personalized, self-hosted and branded.”
And, he recommends reading this documentation when getting started with Woffice.
Price: Starting from $75
Socialize is a multipurpose theme that integrates both with BuddyPress and bbPress–two plugins essential to building out online communities.
What’s great about the Socialize plugin is the special attention paid to social integration. It has its very own social login feature, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about creating or installing for your social network.
Price: Starting from $59
A social community website can be a great addition to your existing brand’s presence, or a great way to start a revenue generating online business.
Use these WordPress community plugins and themes to take your website to the next level in terms of both functionality and design!