This is some awesome stuff from a buddy of mine who started a company called Reach SEO. They’re all about SEO for WordPress and I’ve asked him to give us a little rundown on what it takes to get rankings that are rock solid and reliable. This is what he has to say.
If you want to reach the most folks who want to access the content you’ve created, there are a few things you can do to reach the most people possible.
So, I’ve been at this SEO game for some time now and trying to reach the most people possible with creative, effective SEO. I’ve looked for the most effective, most consistent techniques you can utilize to drive traffic to your website. For some niche markets, just having the right WordPress magazine theme is enough, but for some, it isn’t. I’ve worked hard at this for a few years now and What I’ve found is this.
That’s it, that’s easily the most important thing on the internet. Creating posts of high quality, posts that people will want to see, posts that people react well to and that give good value for your time clicking on them, that’s what drives traffic.
Sure, internal links are important too, links to similar content can also help you reach the most amount of people you can. SEO is an ever changing game but making sure you keep your content fresh is simply put, the best thing you can do to ensure you get the rankings you want to get.
If you’re looking for some amazing themes to help you get the content you need to get, the content your site deserves, another thing you can do is select the right theme. We’re in the business of finding amazing WordPress themes and reviewing them for quality. SO whether you’re looking for a WordPress minimalist theme or a personal blog WordPress theme, we’ve got you covered. These themes are the best of the best.
There are a lot of things you can do to make sure your site is ready for the bigtime. Fast load times are critical. A theme that makes visitors want to stay for an extended period of time is equally important. If you’re selling products in your own online shop, a WordPress WooCommerce theme with the right set of features, a user-friendly design and great SEO optimization, that’s also important.
The Layers WordPress Theme: A Comprehensive Review
With the current popularity that WordPress enjoys, it is inevitable that a lot of builder tools for the free website hosting platform have come out, and the number continues to grow by the day, and one of them is Layers. However, Layers claims to be different from the rest of its competitors. In what ways, you ask? The following review of the Layers WordPress Theme will attempt to answer that question. It will also help you decide if it is indeed the website builder you have long been waiting for.
What Is Layers?
An open source WordPress website builder developed from Obox Themes, Layers is among the many WordPress builder tools available today. It attempts to distinguish itself from the rest by being both:
- The easiest website builder to use (try looking around for an easier to use too), and
- Available at absolutely no cost; it’s free.
With Layers, you can create multiple custom page layouts that will help you come up with the kind of website you have in mind. The best part is you will be able to do it without having to edit codes. The builder tool is equipped with built-in layouts, as well as custom widgets that you can use to add more content to your webpages.
For some people, the word “free” is enough reason to use the product. However, what good will it bring if it does not provide what you need? A product may come with a price tag, but if it is more convenient to use and allows you to save a lot of time, and it comes with a lot of superior features to boot, then price tags wouldn’t, and shouldn’t matter.
It is an entirely different story, though, if a free product comes a long that can approximate the benefits you will get from a premium product. This Layers review intends to help you uncover and learn everything there is that you need to know about the product.
Product Features: What Layers Can Do for You
The intention of the creators of Layers is to provide a tool that can help users build their custom websites specifically for WordPress. To give you an idea on what the builder tool can accomplish for you, have a glimpse of a few layouts built using Layers. These layouts are called Coffee, Weather, and Bakery, respectively. There are many other layouts available which you can later explore should you decide that this is the perfect tool for your website building project.
One good thing about Layers is that the entire process of creation is done within the Theme Customizer in WordPress itself. This way, you can immediately have a blow by blow account on the progress of your custom design project. You can view your work in progress as you continue to work. Likewise, instant feedback will be available for any change you effect on the appearance settings.
Because the entire design process is done within the confines of the WordPress Theme customizer, it simply means that the result will be a lot more efficient, interactive and intuitive. All you have to do is point and click, and go right back to work.
While you need to refresh pages, switch browser tabs, continuously save your work in progress, and then open preview windows when working with other backend WordPress builder tools, these are not necessary when you are using Layers.
Building Your Pages with Content Blocks and Widgets
When using layers, your new website design’s foundation is created using horizontal rows. You can then populate each of the rows with a widget. The widgets act as your website’s content blocks and each one can accommodate practically any type of content.
The builder tool comes with a variety of content blocks or widgets. These include:
- A content widget
- A slider widget
- A maps and contact details widget
- A widget for a displaying list of posts
This does not mean, however, that Layers cannot work with widgets provided by third parties. Layers is, in fact, compatible with 3rd party widgets, including ones that you may have created yourself, as well as widgets that are built in to other WordPress plugins.
Thus, if you find the need to feature or include a widget for an ecommerce product, a content slider widget, or a social sharing widget in the custom website layout you are working on, you can heave a sigh of relief because Layers will allow you to do that. This ability to integrate with 3rd party widgets is another advantage of using Layers. This allows you absolute freedom on how to create the various pages of your website.
Options for Widget Configuration
You can configure all third party and core WordPress widgets as they are incorporated into your layouts, but these may not be as easy to configure as the widgets that are built into Layers. These widgets are a lot easier to configure, for obvious reasons.
A very good example of this ease of configuration would be the posts widget. You are allowed to set the number of posts to display using the settings. You can also set the category that the posts must come from, as well as the list style and column layout, among many other options.
Aside from the post display widget, Layers also allows you to select the particular post content that you want to be displayed on the page, including the post titles, featured images, author info, post excerpts, and many others.
Because of the superior level of control that it provides users, Layers can be considered as the ideal tool to use when you need to build a custom page with which to display your most recent blog posts. If you are a blogger like a great majority of WordPress website owners, this is an important feature.
Options for Content and Widget Customization
As you work on the various pages of your website, the WordPress site building tool provides you with access to the Layers design bar. Here, you can customize the appearance and design of all the widgets that you wish to include in the layout. Again, everything happens without you having to directly edit any existing code.
Although the available design settings are specifically tailored to the kind of widget you are currently working on or customizing, these may include fonts, colors, text formatting, columns, list style, image ratio, and layout, among many others.
Pre-Built Page Layouts
While Layers allows you to make your own page designs from the ground up, it thankfully throws in a small collection of page layout templates that include:
- A homepage layout
- A single-page homepage layout
- A video page
- A contact page
- A portfolio page
- A landing page
The pre-built layouts are easy to customize. You can remove or add the widgets that will comprise the layout in a convenient and straightforward manner. Customizing how they appear can likewise be done with the same convenience.
Layouts for Mobile Users
Your website will not only be mobile-friendly and completely responsive, it will also be easy for you to target and cater to your visitors who come to your website via their mobile gadgets.
By using the website customizer, you can designate a specific area in the sidebar exclusively for mobile users. You can then populate this particular area with content that tablet and smartphone users will find relevant.
Now, because of the steady growth of people who access the web through mobile devices, this feature can be considered as an essential feature to have, and not just a “nice to have feature.” It would not be surprising that in the near future, your website visitors will be comprised mostly of users from the mobile demographic.
WordPress Plugins versus Theme Builder Tools
There are WordPress builder tools that are delivered as a plugin like the Themify Builder. When in plugin form, the tool will typically allow you customize your current theme design. You can do this as you retain the ability to make custom page layouts. The standard WordPress post editor is not equipped with the same features.
Because Layers is delivered in theme form, it can take over the entire feel and look of your website. With the tool, you have the ability to customize and personalize each and every aspect of your website, and not merely the page layouts. Now, to settle the issue on which between a theme-based builder and a plugin is better, both options are good at what they do. Neither of the two can be considered as better than the other. They just offer different ways of doing things.
In the same manner, since Layers is a theme, it will not be easy to change your theme in the future. All your custom designs will be lost in the process. Likewise, all the content you have added to your site over time using the Layers widgets will be gone. This isn’t true for Layers alone, however, as this will most likely happen when using practically any other WordPress website builder tool as well.
A User’s Layers Experience
Because Layers is a relatively new WordPress theme, the developers mad sure that first-time users would be treated to a pleasant user experience by featuring a Getting Started Guide that is quite useful and handy. As soon as you activate the theme, the guide is immediately displayed on the screen. This review suggests that you take the opportunity to walk through the guide.
Each of the guide’s sections include brief text descriptions and a quick walkthrough video. Thus, you will find all the information presented quite easy to absorb. The screenshot below will give you an idea on how the Getting Started Guide looks like.
The guide is not only designed to help you understand everything you need to do to get started in using the tool. For one, it is not entirely passive as you can input your website’s name, your tagline, as well as upload the logo to use for your website as you walk through the steps provided in the guide.
The final step in the walkthrough will ask you to select one from among the pre-built layouts that come with the tool. However, if you prefer to begin with a blank page, you can do so as well. Regardless of your preferred option, the next display you will see on the screen will be the WordPress Theme Customizer’s upgraded version.
There are several groups that the main customization options fall under. More options will appear once you click on a particular group. The process will go on until you reach the actual settings level. The screenshot below provides an idea on what to expect while in the customization settings screen.
You can customize practically all the aspects of your website via the settings menu. These include:
- The navigation menus to display, and where to display them
- The sidebars to display, and where to display them
- The layouts for the headers and footers
- Whether or not your header is sticky
- And many other options
All the changes made through the customizer are applied to your project in real time. There is a live preview that will allow you to see the effects of the options you selected for your page, as well as how they will appear. It is obvious that this is one important feature that you need to have access to. You will definitely have a lot of use for it.
When the time comes that you need to see your page from the point of view of your intended site visitors, sans the customizer options on the screen, you can just press the preview button. The page, as how your visitors will experience your site, will be opened in a new tab on your browser. Having said that, however, even just using the customizer view will already provide you with a more or less accurate display of your page, and thus, you need not resort to using the preview icon too often.
The process of creating a custom layout for your site involves adding a widget first into a page. You then customize the widget to suit your particular needs. To do this, just go to the customizer’s Edit Layout section, then choose the widget you want to use from among the active widgets on your site. These include that come built-in with Layers, the core WordPress Widgets, as well as other widgets that may have come from 3rd party plugins that may be active on your site.
After you have selected the widget to include in your website, you can now proceed to customizing it. The controls may vary, depending on which particular widget you have selected. In general, however, you will find a lot of detailed settings that you can take advantage of.
The entire Layers interface is well thought-out and designed in a functional way. Thus, it is quite easy to use and get used to. Whatever icon you select is guaranteed to work as intended. You will feel like, you already know what will happen once you click on a particular icon, and the tool usually does not disappoint.
If you need to add content to your page or set up a widget, you can count on the design bar to provide you with more control on how your widget will appear. You can alter the layout, change the formatting of the text, set up a background image, as well as include your own customized CSS, if necessary. However, these all depends on the particular widget you are using.
Once you are done adding content to your webpage, and you have sufficiently customized how it looks, your work is now ready to be published. If you are making a static website homepage, you may first want to take a look at the customizer settings to select which among your designs is to have the distinction of becoming your website’s front page.
The rest of the pages you have created using the Layers tool may then be included and designated to serve as the navigation menus for the site. You can do this through the core menu editor of WordPress itself. This way, your site visitors will be able to access the various pages on your site, just like how they would do it on a regular WordPress website.
Just like when working on any other project, you may need to review or go back to any of the other pages you created using Layers for some minor edits or modifications. You can do this easily. Just access the page manager screen of WordPress, then open the page that you want to review or edit.
Recommendations and Conclusion
This review finds the Layers WordPress website building tool to be among the most user-friendly and most intuitive interfaces around. A good idea that we strongly recommend is to use the WordPress Theme Customizer to help you build your site layouts.
Layers made the right decision in choosing the interface to offer. This is because it allowed Layers to assume the look and feel of being a part of your WordPress website’s admin area, instead of being just the added-on extra that it really is. If you have been using WordPress for some time now, or have gotten used to the platform, then it is highly recommended that you soon include Layers in your projects.
Meanwhile, if you are just a recent WordPress user, and is still in the process of familiarizing yourself with the website hosting platform, getting Layers now would also bring you a lot of benefits. For one, you can quickly get started on your website building project simply because you only have a single new interface to learn and work with.
The extra controls that come with layers provide to the core controls already included in the customizer tool. More importantly, these controls are very convenient to use such as the controls that allow you to modify the content and appearance of the widgets.
On the other hand, you can easily make sense of what the icons and other visual controls are for just with a single glance. The addition of the Getting Started Guide – complete with walkthrough videos and descriptive text – is a brilliant idea. It is very useful, especially for first time users of Layers.
Layers is not perfect, however. While it obviously has a lot of advantages, just like most other products on the market, it also comes with a few downsides. To allow you to decide whether Layers is really the right tool for your website building projects, you need to know the product’s downsides as well.
Compared to other builder tools in its class, Layers doesn’t have as many superior custom-built widgets and pre-built page templates. While there is no question that the page templates included in the tool are impressive enough, there simply is not enough of them to select from. Likewise, some of the templates do not have the “wow” factor that you see from other templates from time to time.
As for the widgets, the current lineup offered by Layers is no doubt impressive, but it definitely would not hurt if some more are added. This will no doubt make the tool’s feature list more competitive and more formidable.
Having said that, it is also worth mentioning that being a new entrant to the WordPress site builder tool niche, you can reasonably expect Layers to include a lot of improvements in the future.
Overall, Layers offers users an intuitive interface to use for creating custom website designs for WordPress. You do not need to be equipped with a good amount of design skills to make your website work, although it would be an advantage. However, with Layers, you can turn all the ideas in your head into actual pages – in a relatively easy manner. After all, that is what really matters.
So, is Layers the ideal WordPress website builder for you? After learning about all its features and weighing them against the few downsides, the answer should be quite obvious.
WordPress 4.9 Released
Well, the time has come to say hello to WordPress v4.9, so I thought I’d check in to see what you can expect to see with this new version. I did some scouring of the internet to see what people are saying and the word is, it’s a big improvement over previous versions.
WordPress 4.9 is named Tipton, after jazz musician Billy Tipton. All the major updates are named for jazz musicians and singers, if you didn’t already know that. There are tons of features to help smooth work flow and make for a better user experience overall, particularly in terms of coding errors.
There are design drafts, scheduling, preview links and locking, the theme customizer workflow is greatly improved for collaboration between different bloggers or content creators. Also, there’s code syntax highlighting and error checking. That’s meant to make for a smooth site building experience. Oh yeah, there’s also a slick looking gallery widget now too, which is very nice and it’s a great way to lay out your images.
Customizer Workflow Improvements
Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations – Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please.
Collaborate with Design Preview Links – Need to get some feedback on proposed site design changes? WordPress 4.9 gives you a preview link you can send to colleagues and customers so that you can collect and integrate feedback before you schedule the changes to go live. Can we say collaboration++?
Design Locking Guards Your Changes – Ever encounter a scenario where two designers walk into a project and designer A overrides designer B’s beautiful changes? WordPress 4.9’s design lock feature (similar to post locking) secures your draft design so that no one can make changes to it or erase all your hard work.
A Prompt to Protect Your Work – Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.
Coding Experience Enhancements
Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking? Yes, Please! – You’ve got a display problem but can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong in the CSS you lovingly wrote. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and the Custom HTML widget introduced in WordPress 4.8.1, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly. Practically guaranteed to help you scan code more easily, and suss out & fix code errors quickly.
Sandbox for Safety – The dreaded white screen. You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. You’ll sleep better at night.
Warning: Potential Danger Ahead! – When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file. Take the safe route: You’ll thank you. Your team and customers will thank you.
Tons of Widget Updates
The New Gallery Widget – An incremental improvement to the media changes hatched in WordPress 4.8, you can now add a gallery via this new widget. Yes!
Press a Button, Add Media – Want to add media to your text widget? Embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. Woo!
Enhance Your Site Building
More Reliable Theme Switching – When you switch themes, widgets sometimes think they can just move location. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme.
Find and Preview the Perfect Theme – Looking for a new theme for your site? Now, from within the Customizer, you can search, browse, and preview over 2600 themes before deploying changes to your site. What’s more, you can speed your search with filters for subject, features, and layout.
Better Menu Instructions = Less Confusion – Were you confused by the steps to create a new menu? Perhaps no longer! We’ve ironed out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. Newly updated copy will guide you.
Just for the Developers
Customizer JS API Improvements – We’ve made numerous improvements to the Customizer JS API in WordPress 4.9, eliminating many pain points. (Hello, default parameters for constructs! Goodbye repeated ID for constructs!) There are also new base control templates, a date/time control, and section/panel/global notifications to name a few. Check out the full list.
MediaElement.js upgraded to 4.2.6 – WordPress 4.9 includes an upgraded version of MediaElement.js, which removes dependencies on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.
Roles and Capabilities Improvements – New capabilities have been introduced that allow granular management of plugins and translation files. In addition, the site switching process in multisite has been fine-tuned to update the available roles and capabilities in a more reliable and coherent way.
And probably a ton more. but that’s enough of a list for now. What do you think, have you updated yet? I have and love the experience so far.
If you’d like a great looking WordPress theme to install on your fresh update of WordPress 4.9, check out our WordPress video themes, WordPress personal blog themes or WordPress minimalist themes, which are three of our most popular posts. Or, check out a free theme like Silverbow or Quartz.
How to Add a Forum to Your WordPress Website
How to Add a Forum to Your WordPress Website
WordPress is definitely one of the most conventional, and easy to navigate platforms to hold your website in. If you already have a WordPress site, chances are, you are able to reach out to a good number of readers—no matter how many they are—because of how easy it is to add tags, categories, and make your posts known in the cyber world.
Then again, if you already have a handful of readers, don’t you think that it would be nice to add a forum to WordPress? You see, even in this day and age, speaking in forums, finding people who like the same things that you do, and finding a community of people whom you can engage in honest, smart conversations with is still helpful. It is still a way of reaching out to others, and fostering your own community.
But just like a lot of bloggers and site owners, you may be asking the questions: Are there any WordPress forum plugins around? Can you actually add a forum to WordPress? Well, the answer to both of these questions is an absolute and resounding yes!
And how do you make it happen, then? Read on, and you will easily learn how.
First and foremost, you can make way for WordPress BuddyPress Forums by using the BuddyPress plugin, of course. This is one of the most well-known—and probably the most popular way—on how you can add a forum to WordPress.
One thing you should know about BuddyPress is that it is rich in a gallantry of amazing features. It is pretty much a great, powerful community plugin that can provide you with a forum, user profiles, notifications, activity streams, and groups that can keep you sane, inspire, and motivate you in the crazy online world.
Some of the best things that BuddyPress can do are the following:
Provide an internal communication tool for your website / company / service—so there will be no need to use the confusing Facebook messenger, or some of those very unprofessional chat apps that are better used for personal conversation, rather than professional ones;
A campus-wide social network for your college, school, or university—to keep conversation exciting, and safe, at the same time;
Focused communities for services and products—so that you will have a better idea of who are patronizing your niche, and get their opinions to help make your work better;
Niche / social specific groups, so you can foster camaraderie among your readers, and;
The best part is that it provides you with an intelligent, enhanced forum experience that you probably have not tried anywhere else!
WordPress BuddyPress Forums are also open-source, making sure that you will not have a hard time getting hold of them, and that you can turn your website into a more prolific, engaging community—definitely way better than just a simple blog.
However, if you feel like this is not the best thing for you, well, you will be glad to know that there are other WordPress Forum Plugins around—and you can get to know them below.
For a big selection of WordPress BuddyPress themes, click here.
Speaking of other WordPress Forum Plugins, maybe BbPress is more your thing—especially that it is currently one of the most popular plugins around, making it one of the most trusted, too!
One of the things that most WordPress users like about it is that it is easy to set up. And from there, you already know that you will not have a hard time moderating this forum because it would not be too cluttered for you—which is especially helpful if you are still a beginner in the online blogging community. It also makes use of the following philosophies:
That it will always stay open source ;
That simplicity will always be its main feature;
That less code is more—again, perfect for beginners, and;
That it will always be secure and speedy!
Aside from that, you can also be sure that you will be able to get a fully integrated central account—all in a one-click install process, which is something that most plugins cannot give! Upon doing so, you can then divide your site into sections—so members who have nothing to say about certain topics could just go and talk about what they want to—making sure that animosity would not rule your site!
Why not CM Answers?
Now, here is another one of those amazing WordPress Forum Plugins: CM Answers!
If you are the type who always likes to hear your readers’ opinions, or at least, get some gist of how they think by providing them with thought-provoking questions, CM Answers may be the right forum plugin for you!
Dubbed as WordPress’ very own Powerful Q & A Discussion Plugin, CM Answers would be able to improve your site because of its customizable mobile-responsive services. As you might know, most people read articles or blogs on their mobile devices these days—as they are often on the go—so it is important to make sure that your blog—and the resulting forum—would be optimized for mobile.
With the help of this plugin, you will be able to do that, and enjoy the following, too:
Be able to edit or have questions answered after posting;
Change templates so it would work well with your blog;
Great multiple file upload support so you could multitask and save loads of time;
Generate a list of logs and statistics to help you understand what is going on with your website, and understand the kind of readers you are dealing with, and;
Provide Geotags—to understand where your readers are coming from, and how impactful your posts are, for them.
If mobile optimization is your thing, and you really want to keep up with the times, this one is right for you!
DW Question and Answer
Another one of those amazing WordPress Forum Plugins is none other than DW Question and Answer!
More than just a forum, you would be able to create a Question and Answer site—ala Ask.Fm, Quora, or the early FormSpring. Sites, and forums like these often cater to the younger generation, which is good, because admit it or not, the youth has a lot of influence on people these days. It is also a means of learning more—and easily—about various topics, which means that gaining knowledge could be fun and never boring.
Some of the best features of this plugin include the following:
Email Notification System—to check if someone has posted either a question or an answer;
Vote and Pick Best Answer System—just like the classic Yahoo! Answers, so your readers would at least have a gist about which answer is right, and so the questions in their head could easily be cleared;
Submit / Filter / Order / Edit Question Ability;
Questions / Answers Follow Function—same as following comments on websites so you will not have to follow what you do not want to;
Shortcodes—so that sharing would be easy and more professional-looking, and;
Answer and Comment Options, of course!
Basically, it is an easy way of allowing your readers—and you yourself—to give opinions and have good conversations on your website—and that is always something good as it increases traffic, and provides you with more followers!
Here is another convenient way for you to add a forum to WordPress: AnsPress.
AnsPress is a Q & A-like forum plugin that you can use to enhance your blog or website. As you can see—and as provided with the choices here—people these days are often looking for ways to express themselves, and one of those ways is to add a Q & A type forum to your site—and AnsPress can help you out with that!
The great thing about this plugin is that you can control or manage it both on the Admin Menu, and also on the Settings Page. It also has a great interface—which can add to the aesthetic value of your site! With this plugin, you will also be able to experience the following:
Custom Fields—so your readers could provide both questions and answers;
Various Categories—in pages and lists, so that questions and their corresponding answers could easily be found;
Email Notifications, so you will know what is going on—and so you can follow the questions and answers that you like, and;
Easy tagging features—so with the help of the right tags, your readers can get to find what they may have long been looking for.
Therefore, if you want more questions and answers, you can definitely go for this one.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a premium option that can help you add a forum to WordPress, why don’t you try SabaiDiscuss?
While it also uses the Question and Answer format as its forum type, it is a more defined unit, and has this façade that looks like Yahoo! Answers or Stackflow—two of the most trusted Q & A forums on the internet!
With the help of this plugin, you will have chance to turn your website into a more community-driven place, which is important when it comes to building your list of followers, and making sure that you get great reputation in business. This way, you could have your very own helpdesk portal—courtesy of your website, and your readers could experience the benefits of the following features, too:
Easy search and filter forms created with Visual Editor;
Be able to search questions, keywords, and answers with the help of user-friendly features;
Flat and fully responsive design—which is one of the keys to having a great website these days;
The ability to reopen or close questions, as preferred;
Vote for questions/answers, as well as comments;
Add file attachments to enhance the way of answering questions, and providing more realistic answers to readers;
Make way for hierarchal categories—which means that everything would be properly segregated;
Have questions and answers filtered the right way;
Create a good user reputation system—to make sure that your readers would come back and enhance their online profile;
Add user profile pages;
Flag questions and answers that are deemed derogatory, in one way or the other, and;
Have restrictions ready, among others.
As you can see, this plugin offers a lot of features, makes sure your site is aesthetically pleasing, and also makes sure that your readers get what they need from it—which definitely makes it one of your best bets!
This was first known as a social media plugin, but is mostly used to add a forum to WordPress. From WP Symposium, it is now known as WP SymposiumPRO, with its name giving you an idea that it provides you with all your forum needs—all in one place!
Aside from the usual email notifications, reply voting, favorite, and sticky topics, there are other things that this plugin could provide, and these include:
Updated Directory—to help you get in touch with, and get to know your readers more;
Easy compatibility with your blog—no matter what it is;
Multi-lingual features to work wherever you are in the world, and;
Loads of customization features to make this forum YOUR forum!
It does not have lots of features, compared to others, but it is still good in the sense that it allows you to create a forum for your website, without having to deal with problems when it comes to installation and updates. If a fuss-free plugin is your thing, you definitely have to go for this one!
Groups Forums is one of those WordPress Forum Plugins that you have to pay for, but the good thing about this is that it has a number of special features that you may want, especially if you have already been on the site for a long time. These features include:
Topic Asignees and Topic Moderators—creating the feel of a “real forum”—all in your WordPress blog;
User Support System, which can help readers provide feedback, and tell you if they are experiencing something wrong with the site;
Front and Back End topic submissions;
Various widgets, such as forums, topic tags, topics, and topic search, amongst others;
Theme template support—so you can easily customize both your blog and the forum the way you want to—and without having much of a hard time;
Published / Pending topic notifications that work for the site admin, the moderators, authors, and readers, and;
Various shortcodes that can be used, such as edit topics, let users submit, list forums, topic searches, topic tag clouds, and front end editing, amongst others!
And while you do have to pay for this blog, it might be good for you to know that having it would easily help you manage your website, which is good, especially if you are quite meticulous about your blog. However, if you are a beginner, you might want to try the free ones, first, but hey, if you like this one, then, why not?
BubLaa Forum and Comments
The next plugin on the list is Bublaa, and what you have to know about this is that it is somewhat different from its contemporaries, in the sense that it really makes way for an old-school discussion community. In short, you would have real-time discussions on your site, just like Twitter, which could also help your readers express themselves more, and know that their comments or questions are actually being heard.
It also has amazing features, such as the ones listed right here:
Unique forum interface, which makes way for the modernization and easy navigation of your blog—and can easily be appreciated by others;
A fully responsive forum—which is important in helping your readers and followers realize that your site is prolific, active, and definitely around to hear them out, and help them, too;
Rich text, links, video, and images previews;
Search-engine friendly mechanism to make navigation and use easy;
Social sharing—which also makes way for more traffic and free advertising for your website;
Admin and Moderation tools to help you take better control of your site, and;
Request and bugs support—so you could provide the best services for your readers!
If you like the kind of website that is modernized, and that most netizens today would like, it might be good for you to try this one out!
Now, here is a fun way to add a forum to WordPress! You see, ForumEngine has that old-school forum feel, so aside from usual posts, and comments, users would also be able to create their own profiles—and badges—and over time, as they keep on using the site, they would notice various titled being handed to them. It is nothing extremely special, but it stays true to form, which is great if all you want is a proper forum for your readers. It also makes way for the following features:
Optimized discussion—so your readers would not find it a hassle to state their opinions on your website, and connect with fellow readers, too;
Frontend controls, for you to make sure that the forum is going well;
All screen size support, which means it would be optimized for whatever it is that people are using to access your website, and its forum;
Easy administrative tasks—so that managing the website—and the forum—would not be a hassle for you, and you would not be lazy about it;
Simple Interface, so reading and discussions would be easy, and;
Weekly updates—to make sure that the site is going well, and also to help you understand whatever is going on!
If you want to foster camaraderie between your readers and followers, this plugin might just be what you are looking for—and more!
Or, Go for Simple:Press
Finally, there is Simple:Press. And you know what the good thing about this is? Well, it has almost all the features of the other WordPress Forum Plugins combined into one—so you are definitely getting a lot if you would choose to have this installed on your blog—complete with widgets, badges, and smileys that make way for fun discussions—and user-friendly experience!
This plugin was one of the first plugins that were known to help create forums on WordPress. It has a lot of amazing features, such as:
Sub-forum support for any given level;
Features could be added by means of a simple plugin system;
User defined signatures;
Theme and template driven capacities;
Customizable icons for both forums and groups;
Online list, as well as other forum stats;
The ability to create hidden “spoilers”—to give that feel of excitement for your readers;
WordPress integrations and registrations, as well as log-ins;
Comprehensive Administrative Options—making way for that old-school feel, but with an enhanced, modern twist;
Coded to make way for WordPress security routines;
Private or Public forums;
Page and Browser title settings;
IM and Social Network identities;
Ability to set own user time zones, depending on where they are;
Data inspection tools, and;
Growing translation tools, amongst others!
This has most of the things you need, especially if you are new to blogging—and to the forum world—so you might want to start with this, just for sure.
Choose Your Type
Now that you know how to add a forum to WordPress, you just have to make your choice as to which of these plugins you would like to try. What matters now is that you have to know what your site needs, and what would work well with your readers. Once you have chosen what you want and you feel like it does not work the way you want it to, you can always go for something else.
Good luck, and have fun!
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