There is no doubt that small business owners are busy. Their task list seems never-ending, so it stands to reason that they could use as many tools as possible to make their daily lives easier. One such tool comes in the form of a WordPress plugin that many web designers or business owners themselves would overlook as not essential. But the truth is, that this one plugin could save you hours of time each week, and even allow you to build a community around your website.
The plugin in question is BuddyPress. In a nutshell, BuddyPress allows you to build your own social network—and it's quite flexible to work with for building a variety of community sites.
You can it to a small business website, using BuddyPress to develop a collaborative space between you and your coworkers. Having a dedicated company network would allow you to have an immediate overview of who is doing what and make sure every project is on track.
And, if you’re a solopreneur, or want to provide an easy way for your clients to get in touch with you, you can use all the features BuddyPress has to offer to facilitate the collaboration between you and your clients and offer immediate support. By giving them an easy means of communication, you can greatly improve visitor engagement and grow your website’s audience.
What Features Should a BuddyPress Theme Have?
It goes without saying that a quality BuddyPress theme will have an attractive and responsive design to ensure maximum compatibility with mobile devices. It should also be optimized to load fast as website speed is an ever-increasing factor in visitor interaction and search engine ranking. A few other specific features include:
- Custom page templates for user registration, login, and password reset
- User profile pages and the ability to easily edit your profile
- Live notifications
- Search option
- Activity feeds
- Private messaging
Popular BuddyPress Themes - Updated Weekly
Here are the professional BuddyPress themes that are best-sellers on Envato Market (ThemeForest), with full-featured designs, that people are using to build social and community sites with this week:
15 Best BuddyPress WordPress Themes
Now let's take a closer look at some of these themes in this curated selection. Here we showcase the best BuddyPress WordPress themes to make a social and community websites with—those that encourage visitor engagement. Learn more about each of these themes to find just the right one for your site's needs:
Kleo is a responsive and retina-ready theme that offers seamless integration with BuddyPress and 10+ impressive demo layouts to get you started on the right foot.
This theme has a responsive design and can adapt to multiple niches with ease. Aside from giving you the option to build a community, display activity on your website, and provide live notifications, you can use Kleo to showcase your portfolio, build an online store, and position yourself as an expert with a beautifully designed blog.
It's exceptionally easy to customize this community theme and style through the native WP Customizer. Also included is an intuitive admin panel, which makes tweaking and creating custom layouts a breeze.
Sweet Date was originally designed to build a dating website but after many updates and design improvements, it can now be used to build a powerful community-oriented business website as well.
BuddyPress integration gives you the option to connect all your members and display every detail of their profile. Registration and login options are facilitated thanks to a Facebook login option. Notifications are immediately visible on individual profiles and online status is shown in real time. Sweet Date includes tons of options for styling which makes this theme a joy to use.
If you want to build your very own company network, look no further than Woffice. It’s a feature-rich, multi-purpose WP theme with an attractive design that looks good on any device.
This WP BuddyPress theme includes features like project management, calendar integration, wiki-like articles, a custom login page, a notification center, paid memberships, and much more.
All of this is paired with a powerful page builder and an easy to use theme options panel, giving you everything you need to create a completely custom business and networking website.
Socialize was built with one goal in mind: to take full advantage of everything BuddyPress has to offer. The theme has every feature you would need to build a powerful community or social networking website: from detailed profiles and member directories to live activity feeds and notifications.
Socialize makes it easy to navigate from page to page thanks to the power of AJAX filtering and provides an easy way to register and login do to its integration with WP Social Login plugin. What’s more, each BuddyPress widget has been integrated with the page builder so you can easily create your own layouts and place widgets anywhere you want on your website.
The Thrive BuddyPress theme offers a complete solution to build not only a community website but a powerful company network as well. This innovative theme can be tailored to your needs so that your members can easily share messages, files, events, tickets, and forms; edit and collaborate on documents; and manage files and projects. Thrive also offers a private site option, with a secure login for members. It’s easy to set up Thrive and it’s even easier to customize thanks to the integration with Visual Composer Builder.
Salutation has a clean and responsive design focused on high-level content organization. Thanks to the well thought-out menu organization and page structures, this BuddyPress community theme is extremely easy to navigate and your users can quickly find what they are looking for.
On top of that, you can easily build custom layouts, add custom headers and backgrounds, change the color scheme, and more. The theme includes plenty of administration features which give you complete control of your website’s layout and design.
BuddyApp is the perfect solution for anyone looking to build a private community website. It’s a great choice for a company network website with features such as live notifications, file management, custom login pages, events management, live search, and much more. The drag and drop page builder makes it easy to create a unique layout and the theme options panel gives you complete control over the visual styles of your website.
If you’re looking to build a lively food community website, SocialChef has everything you need. It comes with powerful features such as front-end submission, user registration, live notifications, member profiles, and activity feeds. This BuddyPress theme has an elegant, responsive design and plenty of power behind the scenes. What’s more, the theme has been coded with the latest SEO best practices in mind to ensure your site doesn’t suffer from poor search engine rankings.
Monarch has an elegant, responsive design that’s sure to impress the users of your website. It's most suitable for online communities, social networks, team blogs, social sites, educational networks for schools, common interest networks, or fan sites with member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more.
This WordPress community theme offers three homepage layouts and plenty of widgets to make it easy to set up. Styling options are also easy to use thanks to the theme options panel which includes 10 predefined color schemes.
OneCommunity is a bright and bold, responsive community WordPress theme. This theme includes all the standard BuddyPress features such as member profiles, user registration, activity feed, and then tops it off by adding the ability to upload media, documents, and much more.
It has four homepage options and nine color schemes included, along with over 40 unique page templates for your inner pages. OneCommunity is truly a powerful social theme that is sure to please even those with the most demanding taste.
Buddy features a clean and simple site design that adapts beautifully to all screen sizes. The BuddyPress theme works best as a community website: be it for your business, school, or organization. However, it can be used without the social networking features as well.
Special features include shortcodes for various BuddyPress related widgets, icons, and an SEO optimized structure. The social networking community theme gives you the ability to change the options on each individual post, page, or you can do it globally to change them all at once.
Plexus is a clean, modern, and fully responsive WordPress and BuddyPress theme that allows you to make the most of WordPress multisite to host a blog network. Standard community pages and options are included with Plexus like user registration and login forms, as well as unique network settings. The theme comes with a custom skin manager which makes customizing this theme a breeze. The design is fully responsive as well as retina-ready, which means your community website will look good on any device.
Razor is a clean and modern WordPress community theme with a cutting-edge design and powerful backend features. Every page on your BuddyPress website can be built with the theme’s layout builder and custom layouts can be saved for later use. Moreover, every page can have a different header and footer, and you can generate an unlimited number of sidebars. Razor can adapt to your brand seamlessly thanks to unlimited color choices and various other customization options.
Klein is a responsive, multi-purpose BuddyPress theme with an impressive feature set that includes the ability to create profiles, send unlimited messages, add connections, or share important life events. You can also discuss ideas through forums and you can even sell products to your members. The admin panel allows you to easily style every aspect of your website—custom layouts are just a few clicks away thanks to the power of the included Visual Composer Builder.
WildCommunity features responsive design and over 40 inner page templates to make building your community website as easy as possible. Four homepage templates are also included to give you a quick start with theme setup.
Your community members will appreciate the ability to upload their own media and you can even create community-specific events with the Events Manager. Every aspect of this BuddyPress community theme can be customized to create the website that fits your design aesthetic perfectly.
Community Website Best Practices + Tips
Selecting the perfect theme for your community website is just the beginning. Once you’ve setup your Buddypress website, you need to promote it to encourage visitors to become members of your community and make sure proper security measures are in place to keep your community safe and free from spammers.
1. Make Sure Everything Works
Before the official launch, make sure every feature works. The last thing you want is to promote a website that doesn’t work as you intended. Go through the registration and login options yourself and consider inviting a couple of beta testers to go through the same process. Post a few status updates, upload a document, try sending a private message. In short, test everything.
2. Add Social Login and Registration Options
Nowadays, more and more websites take advantage of social login options. Since most of us already have numerous logins for various purposes and websites, adding an option to register or log in with Facebook or Twitter makes it easier for your users. They're sure to appreciate this little touch.
3. Protect Your Registration Pages
Unfortunately, a community website of any kind seems to be a magnet for spammers. Consider adding a plugin that stops the spammers at the door by asking anyone who wants to register a simple math question. You can also give CAPTCHA a try, but bear in mind that many people are turned off by it.
4. Promote Your Community
Use your existing network and promote your website through your blog and social media accounts. Consider adding bonus content exclusively for members of your community. Aside from online promotion, use offline promotion methods such as adding your website link to your business cards or creating custom magnets or mugs to generate interest and encourage users to sign up.
5. Encourage User Interaction
As the leader of your community, it’s your job to encourage users to participate. Therefore, it’s crucial to be active yourself and participate in your community on a daily basis. For the first few weeks, consider posting questions or daily polls and invite your members to participate.
You can also create a contest which requires user submission in order to win a small prize. Later on, as your users get familiar with your community, they will become more active and start conversations on their own.
Learn more about the basics of working with BuddyPress, from installation, to setup, and customizations:
BuddyPress Makes Starting a Community Site With WordPress Easy
Community sites are great for collaborating with others and networking socially within an active community. It can also helps you drive your brand recognition through user engagement.
Creating your own community website with BuddyPress can save you a lot of time and give your WordPress site the social features it needs. To make sure building your community website is as easy as possible, choose any one of the best BuddyPress themes from Envato Market (ThemeForest). You won't regret it.