How to Make a Social Networking Site with BuddyPress
The idea of making a social networking site must have come across to many of the young entrepreneurs’ mind and many thinks that it is extremely difficult to have so many exciting features as Facebook have. When I started learning about the social networking, I also thought that if it is possible to make a site like Facebook. Fortunately, the answer is yes. But my question is what you will do after making a social networking site and if it will get any decent amount of traffic at all to sustain the daily expenditure for the site... So, before you make your social networking site you need to have a clear understanding and objectives of that site, otherwise it will be completely a waste of time and money. I have figured out that there are a few practical application of making a social networking site targeted for a highly professional and likeminded people. Let’s go back to the main idea of this post: how to make social networking sites with Facebook like features. There are a number of CMS that you can use to build your customized social networks, but in this article I will give you an idea about what you can do with Buddypress-a wordpress powered social networks.
The following features you can have with your BuddyPress social networks:
- Activity streams: you can create your Facebook like activity streams where you can see the activity of your groups as well as your own. Other functionalities are twitter like @mentions and RSS feeds.
- User group: just like any other online groups, you can create your own groups and share information with each other, which will be restricted only to those groups only.
- Multisite blogging: each user of your social networks can create their blog and share it with others, just like the wordpress blogs.
- Friend connections: this is one of the most useful and loved features of BuddyPress, which let you connect with your friends to share and to communicate.
- Extended profiles: this feature will allow you to create an editable profile according to your needs. You can add your short bio, interest and links.
- This is another much matured feature of BuddyPress. You can start a discussion with a topic and engage in deep conversation with your friends and audience.
- Private messaging to your friends: by sending private message to your friends you can enjoy the privacy of an email system within you social network.
- Customized user settings: online privacy is now a buzz word and there are a significant number of users who pay more attention than ever to protect the online privacy and do not want to contact with unknown persons. This user setting option of BuddyPress will let your users set their privacy settings and notification options about the other users’ activities.
Picture: Example of a social networking site made with Buddypress ( The City University of New York, Academic Commons)
Useful Plugin to Expand Functionality
BuddyPress has tremendous potential to grow its functionality overnight with the help of a wealth of readily available plugins; and the good news is that most of the plugins are available for free. The following are a list of most popular BuddyPress plugins that may help you increase the functionality of your social networks.
- Buddystream: this plugin helps to synchronize the other social networking streams to a BuddyPress site. Basically, this function as a social networking management tool.
- Picatcha: in order to protect your BuddyPress site from spammers and autobot, this image captcha is the plugin that will certainly add value to your site.
- User registration auto group: this plugin let a user to create his own group when he signs up for an account with BuddyPress and to send invitation to his friends to join his group.
Profile search: this will enable a user to search for another user’s profile.
- Invite anyone: this plugin can create a tab called invite on each users profile page and any other member can send invitations to his member to join him in your social networks.
- BuddyPress Docs: this is a Google Docs kind of service that you can use to convert your site to a collaborative work space, where everyone can contribute to your documents either by adding a new document or editing an existing document.
There are over 400 plugins that you can use to make your site suitable for any specific social networking purpose. If you consider the potential and functionality of BuddyPress for your social networking venture then you need to think exactly what you want out of this software. Of course, you always have to option to customize BuddyPress or to develop your own plugin to adapt the site according to you needs.