How would you like it if you could create a forum in your existing WordPress site? Wouldn’t it make your website more interactive and attractive for your visitors? It surely would. In fact, it would result in your website becoming a live and dynamic community instead of the static, informational website it is now. What this means for you is more engaged visitors, more visits, more recurring (i.e. returning) visitors. Simply put, having a forum in your WordPress site is a paradise for your business as well as your visitors. In this guide, you will find out how you can have this excellent addition to your WordPress site and begin interacting with your visitors on a daily basis; and the best part of it is that you won’t have to code at all. Everything is done for you. A brand-new forum is waiting for you if you know which WordPress plugin to use to create it.
Forums in WordPress: what are my options?
When it comes to adding forum functionality on your WordPress sites, there are many options for you. However, in this guide, you will know how to use one of the best forum plugins for WordPress. It’s called bbPress, and it is the most popular forum plugin for WordPress with over 300000 active installs so far.
How to install the bbPress forum plugin on your WordPress Sites
When it comes to building forums in WordPress, bbPress is a dinosaur. It’s one of the very first plugins created for this purpose. With a steadily growing fan base and an expanding range of add-ons and shortcodes, bbPress provides everything you will ever need to build an active online community using WordPress. To install and use bbPress, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 2: Navigate to Plugins>Add New in your navigation menu.
Step 3: Type “bbPress” in the search box that appears at the top of your screen.
Step 4: After you find the bbPress plugin, install and activate it to enable the creation of forums on your site.
You are now ready to create your first forum.
Create your first forum using bbPress
As soon as the plugin installation is complete, you’ll notice that three new items have appeared in your navigation menu. They are the Forums, Topics, and Replies tabs which will help you create, modify, and moderate your forums, topics, and replies.
To create a New Forum, just click on the “New Forum” button which appears under the “Forums” button. On the page that loads, enter a name for your new forum and a description in the relevant text boxes, as shown below:
Click Publish when you are ready.
The next step, after you’ve finished creating your first forum, is to create some topics on which the members of your forum will comment. To do so, click on the “New Topic” button that exists under the Topics button on your navigation menu, as shown below:
On the New Topic screen, you will have to input a title and some text to let your visitors what the topic is about. Finally, you will have to select to which forum your new topic will belong. So, pick the right one from the drop-down menu that exists in the “Topic Attributes” section at the upper right of your screen. You are ready now to publish your new topic. Just click the “Publish” button and the new topic is created and put in the appropriate forum.
This is how your forums will look like:
And this is how your topic will look like when a visitor lands on it:
You see that your new forum and its subtopics is a really professional-looking and clean forum that can become a real cornerstone of an active and growing online community.
One last thing about the bbPress plugin is the variety of shortcodes that its creators offer. They can make your life really easy when it comes to manipulating your forums. For, example, if you wanted to create a link to your forums that appears on the navigation bar of your website you could do it following the next steps:
Step 1: Create a new page on your WordPress site
Step 2: Give the new page an appropriate title. Forum or Forum Index should do the work.
Step 3: Paste the following shortcode in the editor box: [bbp-forum-index]
Step 4: Publish the page
Step 5: Navigate to Appearance>Menus> on your WordPress Dashboard, and add the page you’ve created on the top menu of your website. Your website will now look as follows:
You’ve probably noticed that the primary navigation bar now includes the links to your brand-new forum(s). Your visitors will now be able to view all the forums and all their subtopics by clicking on the appropriate link. Here you are! Your precious website now contains a fully-functional forum. The possibilities and customization options are endless!
bbPress Shortcodes: What’s more for you?
The bbPress creators offer various shortcodes you can use to adjust the forum elements that appear to your members. This is very useful if you want to only show a subtopic or a subforum instead of the whole forum tree. A link for the shortcodes page is the following one: https://codex.bbpress.org/features/shortcodes/ .Pick any shortcode that suits your needs best and just paste it on the page which will contain the other forum shortcodes.
This sums up our guide on how to create forums on your WordPress website. Even though there are many plugins suitable for this job, bbPress is your safe bet when it comes to creating professional forums. With a variety of customization options, active support, and its tremendous collection of shortcodes bbPress is a nuclear weapon in your arsenal. Create your forums and build active online communities that will help your websites and business grow. Good Luck!