One of the greatest features of WordPress is its ability to become nearly anything you want it to be. Don’t want just a blog? Want to build a community? Want to promote discussion but don’t want the hassle of a third-party hosted forum that’s outside of your WordPress website? A WordPress forum plugin may be the right option for you.
Why Choose a WordPress Forum Plugin Over a Third-Party Hosted Forum?
There are plenty of forum programs and services out there that allow you to turn your website into a bulletin board where users can post, share and ask questions. However, these types of forums are often hosted by a third-party, and you pay a monthly fee for the service. This also means that the community that you build is not on your website, no matter how much it may be branded to look like your website.
You will still be able to administer the website, but you may be limited in terms of how you can change the look and feel of the pages, or how many different forum categories you can have, in addition to what you can upload as far as images and media.
Even if the forum is hosted by a third party company, there is still a considerable amount of setup. Managing a forum is not an easy job, and as the forum becomes more and more successful, you will find that it’s very difficult to handle it all yourself. As with a WordPress blog, you’ll need to be on your toes and fight against scammers and spammers who are looking to turn your forum into their own personal advertising haven.
Of course, this general advice applies to any forum software or service you choose, whether it’s hosted on WordPress or not. Like a blog, a forum must be nurtured and taken care of over time. However, by choosing a forum that bolts onto WordPress, you have several notable advantages, including:
Easier Maintenance – Because your forum is nestled within WordPress, it’s easier to manage. Since you’re already familiar with the WordPress administrative area, you’ll have a much easier time navigating and learning your way through the forum plugin as opposed to learning a third-party hosted system from the ground up.
More Effective Management – Managing a WordPress forum is much more straightforward and simple than trying to learn all of the ins and outs of a third party hosted forum service. Since it’s hosted within WordPress, you’re in complete control of every aspect of the forum’s growth and customization.
All of the SEO Benefits – Because the forum is hosted on the same site as your WordPress blog, you can interlink the two and benefit from all of that sweet link juice and search engine optimization that every forum post, article, image and other media can bring to your website.
Affordable and Easy to Use – There’s generally no added fee or monthly charge to add on a WordPress forum plugin. Additional premium options may be available, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want them, and your forum will work just fine without them.
The Best 3 WordPress Forum Plugins
With that being said, we’ve reviewed the best three WordPress forum plugins currently available from the free WordPress plugin repository.
One of the original, and still one of the best WordPress forum plugins, BBPress attaches effortlessly to your WordPress installation and gives you a sleek, attractive forum and discussion board layout so that you can build a community. BBPress is open-source, so anyone can contribute to it, and even WordPress’ founders and contributors have helped to make it more streamlined within the WordPress system. When you want maximum functionality and ease of use, it doesn’t get any easier and more customizable than with the BBPress WordPress forum plugin.
Lightweight and adaptable, wpForo is a modern forum layout for your WordPress website that’s easy to use and mobile friendly, so your users can easily view your forum on a mobile device including a smartphone or tablet. In addition, the forum can be configured with a variety of layouts, including a question and answer-style (like Quora), a traditional forum, a threaded forum (conversation-style, like Gmail) and more. wpForo is also fast – boasting a five-minute installation and setup!
While it might not have all the bells and whistles of BBPress, it’s nevertheless a great, simple and flexible forum plugin for WordPress that helps you get up and running quickly so you can make your community grow!
A sleek, professional-looking forum can be yours with the Asgaros Forum plugin. Include ads, guest posts, polls, surveys, reactions and more to make your forum more interactive and attractive to users. It’s even compatible with WordPress Multisite, so you can have several forum instances for your entire WordPress network – a great way to build a feature-rich, “blog empire” just brimming with SEO juice. If you need some help with managing your forum, you can create user groups and assign privileges specifically to help ensure that certain users only have access to certain areas.
Getting Started Installing WordPress Forum Software (And Where to Turn if You Need Help!)
Overall, these forum plugins are a great way to add interactivity and audience engagement to your WordPress blog in a way that encourages people to come back and continue participating. If you need help managing or maintaining your WordPress blog, it’s good to know that professional developers are just a click away! At WPDandy, we specialize in efficient, affordable WordPress maintenance. Whether you need to update plugins or you need help installing your new WordPress forum, count on our talented team to help you get up and running quickly and easily!
Contact us today to learn more about our cost-effective WordPress management services and put our team of experienced WordPress programmers to work for you, so that you can focus on growing your forum and building a thriving community!