According to the latest statistics, WordPress powers around 75 million websites. Perhaps this information is even more astounding if we say that WordPress powers around 27% of all websites globally. Needless to say, there are numerous valid reasons for this.
One of the biggest reasons why WordPress is so popular is because of its robust structure and ease-of-use. Thanks to this platform, you no longer need to be a web designer to build beautifully crafted and unique-looking web pages. On top of that, anyone can become a blogger and contribute to the World Wide Web with their knowledge and opinions.
Among numerous different types of websites that WordPress supports are so-called community websites. Even though it might seem complicated to build and maintain private profiles and groups, there is one WordPress community plugin that makes this job easy and straightforward. One of them is a community plugin called UserPro.
What is UserPro?
Simply said, UserPro is a robust tool that allows you to build a website that offers private profiles and interaction between registered users. In other words, it allows you to build a Facebook-like website, but based on your own rules and sense of aesthetics.
There are actually numerous reasons why community-based websites are a great idea. For starters, you can attract like-minded individuals who like certain things and are interested in exchanging ideas. You can also create study groups, forums, or a platform to simplify communication between your employees.
In case you’re a website owner looking to extend your website’s functionality and reach new audiences, here are some of the main benefits of having a community website:
- Organic SEO: Instead of having to plan and create your own content (that should be informative and unique), you can let your registered users do this job. Google loves forums and discussion communities since they can be places of knowledge and useful information. If you don’t believe us, take a look at Quora.
- Building personal relationships: Many website owners are aware that having a personal relationship with their following is of vital importance. In many cases, this helps them promote products and services without being pushy. Nonetheless, a community website will more easily spark discussions and inspire relationships than just a comments section on a website.
- Marketing: We are not talking about the direct marketing of your products or services, but your website’s own marketing. Engaged users who actively participate on your website are more likely to recommend it and promote it to their friends.
Installation and Main Features
Installation of this WordPress community plugin couldn’t be simpler. Since this is a premium priced plugin, you’ll need to find your purchase code in order to access updates and to get support. In case you installed and activated any WordPress plugin before, you won’t any problems installing UserPro.
Once you get to the main configuration screen, you’ll see lots of different options. This might be a bit intimidating for new users, even though this is the case with any other WordPress community plugin. There are twelve different pages of settings that offer everything from custom fields, email notifications, content restriction, up to import/export options.
You’ll spend most of your time in the main Settings panel as well as within the Fields panel. Using these two, you can configure the looks of your website and most of its community-related options. For example, you can choose to activate/disable social features, activate/disable online statuses, and more. More importantly, this is where you can create connections with other popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The Fields panel allows you to fine-tune your users’ experience when registering and using their accounts. Just like with the rest of this WordPress community plugin, you’ll see a pre-defined set of options. Still, you can fine-tune each one of these options and add custom fields like country, gender, and social media information. In other words, this is where you decide what kind of information you need from your users as well as if you want to display that information to their peers.
Now, you must be wondering how this information can be used. Let’s say that you fine-tune how the registration form will look. All you need is to use the provided code and embed it into any page of your website. This is how you can create customizable and interactive registration forms.
As you could have seen by now, UserPro comes with hundreds of different options. However, the question is how those options transform into an interactive front-end design. To give you a glimpse of different designs of registration forms, take a look at the photo below. As you can see, you can create very simple or very complex forms that include other social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
This also goes for other forms like the Login or Reset Password forms. Even though this WordPress community plugin does a good job of automating everything, you still have a lot of freedom when it comes to forms and their looks.
It is also worth saying a few words about front-end user profiles. Upon registering, users will be able to take a look at other users’ profiles. Below, you can find a screenshot of how a user’s profile looks. As you can see, it offers a lot of information grouped into several categories. Users can set up their profile photos, similar to how Facebook and Twitter work. They can also connect their accounts to different social networks and invite their friends over to your website. This doesn’t only allow more people to see your community-based website, but also to easily make the transition from some other social network.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget about shortcodes that are of high importance when it comes to front-end design. This WordPress community plugin offers plenty of different shortcodes designed to showcase your members and their profiles. You can create different kinds of grids with small or large profile images. Fine-tuning is also available, where you can choose bits of information that will be presented along with their profile images. As you can probably know by now, once you set everything up, you will get a piece of code that needs to be placed onto one of your existing web pages. It’s that easy.
UserPro is definitely one of the most comprehensive WordPress community plugins. This is why we’d like to take a moment to introduce you to some of its most interesting features. This is a good way for you to learn what kind of things you can expect if you decide to purchase this plugin.
- Content Restriction: The main reason why many of you create community-based websites is to restrict access to their website’s content. In other words, only registered members are able to fully explore these websites. You can do this easily using UserPro, where you have several options available. You are free to restrict content to registered members, verified accounts, or to specific roles.
- Content Publishing: If you decide to allow content publishing, you can let your user post different kinds of articles (text) and media. These can be mini-posts, just like on a blog. This is done by the Front-End Publishing Form whose shortcodes can be placed in the content area of any page.
- Follow/Unfollow: If you’re interested in creating a social network, UserPro can be of great help. With just a few clicks within the Settings panel, you can allow registered users to follow/unfollow each other. In addition, this reroutes their already published content and makes it visible to their following.
- Social Activity Stream: Once you log-in to your Facebook account, the first thing you see is your stream of activities, statuses, and photos. Something very similar can be done using UserPro. This feature is called Social Activity Stream and allows your members to review each other’s activities.
This WordPress community plugin comes with everything you need to set up a community-based website. However, there are other interesting features that you can add to your website and expand its functionality. These add-ons are made and supported by the same team behind UserPro, and they are premium priced (this means that you have to pay for them individually; they’re actually very affordable).
- Messaging: Not all communications should be private, which is why UserPro comes with its own built-in own private messaging system. This system allows your members to chat and interact with each other. Additional features include quick reply, emoticons, and the ability to block/unblock other users from sending private messages. This add-on is priced at $13.
- Social Wall: We previously told you about the Social Activity Steam that allows your website’s members to review each other’s activities. However, if want your members to share posts and images, you can integrate an add-on called Social Wall. This feature is priced at $11.
- WooCommerce Integration: We also shouldn’t forget e-commerce websites. UserPro offers a premium priced add-on that connects your registered members to your online store. For example, their login credentials can be exchanged between the two (UserPro and WooCommerce), and user profiles can be used to review purchases and order details. This add-on comes priced at $11
In comparison to similar community-based WordPress plugins, UserPro is one of the most comprehensive. Even though this means that it’s not the most user-friendly since it comes with hundreds of different options, it does come with an unprecedented set of features.
This WordPress community plugin is available on CodeCanyon, where you can find it priced at $30. As we previously mentioned, several add-ons are also available for those who seek to expand their website’s functionality.