How to Make a Forum with WordPress

  • By Darrel Wilson
  • Last Updated: November 21, 2019

When it comes to WordPress, there is very little you can’t do with this powerful CMS. From building a simple, personal blog to creating a powerful business site, WordPress can handle it all.

You can even use WordPress to create a social network or a forum-based website. In today’s post, I’ll explain why you should add forums to your site and talk about a powerful and free plugin that makes it easy to make a forum with WordPress. I’ll also share a video tutorial that shows you how to use the plugin.

Top Three Reasons Why You Should Add a Forum to Your WordPress Site

When it comes to forums or discussion boards, there are several good reasons why you should add them to your site. Here are the top three reasons to keep in mind.

1. Forums help you build a community

Adding forums to your site helps you build a community around your website. It allows you to start attracting people who are interested in a particular topic. They can then engage in discussions, socialize with other like-minded people, and continually come back to your site.

What’s more, they can even help you bring more people to your site as they spread the word about your forums to their own network of fans and followers.

By allowing discussions on your site, you can get to know your fans, followers, potential clients or customers which means you can get direct insight into their preferences. This allows you to create better content and products that they would be interested in.

2. Forums improve your SEO

Adding a forum to your site can improve your SEO rank. Since forums foster communication and discussion, they are regularly updated which means your website is always updated with fresh content. Forums also boost engagement and bring more visitors which tells the search engines your site is popular. Another reason why forums are good for SEO is that they have both follow and no-follow links which improves your search authority.

3. Forums can turn into a passive income stream

Lastly, forums can be a great source of passive income. You can set different membership levels and create free and paid forums of subforums. This allows you to charge people for access to premium forums. For example, you might share general information for free but charge access for custom code snippets or premium support.

You can easily capitalize on these benefits by adding forums to your site. Thanks to the wpForo plugin, you can make a forum with WordPress quickly.

What Does wpForo Plugin Offer?

The wpForo plugin is a free and lightweight forum plugin for WordPress. The plugin includes features such as:

  • Member profile system
  • Member ratings and badges
  • Various forum layouts
  • SEO-friendly features
  • Forum themes and customization options
  • Built-in forum and topic subscriptions and RSS feeds
  • Easy forum moderation
  • And more.

Let’s take a look at some of the main features below.

Member Profile System

The wpForo plugin comes with all the tools needed to manage your members. For starters, you can set different user groups that have different permissions and different managing options. This means you can have a user group for forum admins, one for your customers or clients, and one for regular members.

Aside from user groups, each member gets their own profile page that shows their bio, forum activity, and forum subscriptions.

Lastly, you can assign each user a different access role that allows them to manage user groups for each parent forum and subforum.

Layout System

What makes wpForo stand out from the competition, is the unique layout system. You can choose between the extended, simplified or Q&A layout. Each parent forum can have its own layout so you can adjust how your forum looks based on the type of topics.

The Extended layout allows visitors to see more information about each forum such as topics posted, similar or most recent topics, and the first few lines of individual topics. The Simplified layout shows a clean overview of parent forums, subforums, and topics.

Finally, the Q&A layout gives a better glimpse of the questions and answers posted in forums and topics.

Gamification Features

Another standout feature of the wpForo plugin are the gamification features. This forum plugin comes with the ability to give your users and forum members badges based on their reputation level. You can also customize the titles and the colors for each reputation level as well as set how many posts are needed to advance to the next rank.

SEO Features

The wpForo plugin comes with built-in SEO features that help you make sure your forum shows up in the search engines and ranks well. You can use pretty permalinks, set custom page and forum titles, and add your own meta data.

What’s more, the wpForo supports Open Graph tags, smart headings, and the forums can easily be crawled by the search engines. Each of these settings can be enabled or disabled in the Settings area of the wpForo administration screen.

Moderation Tools and Forum Hierarchy

The wpForo plugin comes with complete moderation tools for your forums. You can easily move topics into different forums and subforums, merge duplicate topics, delete comments and topics, administer users, and more.

Forum Customization

Lastly, the wpForo plugin comes with a set of customization options. You can choose between several color schemes and you can easily customize them so they match your branding. The forum comes with a simple theme pre-installed and if you’re code-savvy, you can create your own theme.

wpForo Plugin Pros and Cons

As with any other plugin, the wpForo plugin comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the pro side:

  • wpForo is easy to use – it’s a lightweight plugin that doesn’t require as many post-installation set up steps as bbPress. Creating forums is easy as well as arranging the forum hierarchy
  • wpForo has all the tools needed for forum management – this plugin can be used for both small and large communities as it has everything you need to manage your forums and your members. It also includes unique gamification features that allow you to boost engagement in your community and motivate your members to be more active
  • wpForo works with any theme – finally, it’s worth mentioning that wpForo works with any theme and thanks to the customization options, it’s easy to tweak forum styles to match the rest of your website.

As far as the disadvantages go, the only con I’ve been able to find is the fact that there seem to be no other themes available to download for your forums. This means that you won’t be able to do heavy customization unless you’re familiar with the code.

wpForo Plugin Pricing

The wpForo plugin is available for free from the official WordPress plugin repository. You can extend the functionality with premium add-ons such as User Custom Fields, Ads Manager, Advanced Attachments, and more. Premium add-ons range between $25 and $99, depending on the number of sites that you want to use a particular add-on on.

How to Create a WordPress forum with wpForo Video Tutorial

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of adding forums to your site and the main features of the wpForo plugin, here’s a video tutorial that shows you how to set it up and customize it.

Final Thoughts

Setting up forums on your site helps your SEO and it creates a community around your site. With a plugin like wpForo, making forums with WordPress is easy, so download the plugin today and give it a try.

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