How do you feel about growing your own community? A community that discusses about you and your website and where people come to ask for help.
No, I am not talking about Facebook groups or Google+ communities. I am talking about forums. Have you ever considered starting a forum on your website?
Many people think that running a forum on a website is a very painful task as it requires maintenance. This is one of the main reasons why people do not run forums on their website.
But what if you can start a forum on your website for free and without wasting a lot of time? Sure, you will have to give some time to your community but not too much that you end up spending your whole time on your forum.
There are many WordPress plugins out there that help you in starting a forum and running it effectively. These plugins will help you add a forum, maintain it properly and help you grow it. In this article, I will share some really awesome plugins for WordPress that will help you out with forums.
Whether you have a forum or want to add one, this list of plugins provides the best plugins you will ever need.
So let’s get started.
AnsPress is a free question and answer plugin for WordPress. It lets you turn your website into a forum. To make your forum more attractive to users, it provides some great features like:
- Featured Question
- Theme system
- Moderation settings
- Voting on question and answer
- Tag suggestions
- Comments on answer
- Email notifications
Users can edit their profile, add a bio and cover photo. There is also a rating system that will set the most reputed members apart from others. Users can have friends and followers too.
The question and answers are SEO optimized so that they can rank on the search engine and drive you extra traffic.
You can check how many times a question was viewed, close questions automatically and block bad words.
The design of the forums, profile pages and other pages is very cool too. This free plugin requires nothing. You just need to install the plugin and start building your community.
Created by the WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, bbPress is a lightweight software to support forums on WordPress.
To beginners, this plugin might be a little confusing because they don’t know how to use it. I would recommend you to read this article on Smashing Magazine and get started with bbPress.
bbPress is the best forum software for WordPress and can be customized to a great extent by installing plugins specifically made for it. Yes, there are many plugins just for bbPress which means this is the best free plugin for creating a forum on your website.
BuddyPress is similar to AnsPress as it also helps in building a community on your website. It also provides the functionality to create member profiles, user groups, activity streams, private conversations and much more.
With some extensions for BuddyPress, you can add more to your forum and customize it your own way. BuddyPress is secure and fights spam so you don’t need to worry about the spammers.
This one simple plugin can help you turn your website into a social network and build a community of thousands of readers.
4. CM Answers
Don’t want to get too deep in creating and maintaining forums? Well, then CM Answers is a great choice for you.
Just like AnsPress, you can add question and answers to your website, let people leave comments on answers, vote and also upload files with this plugin.
To keep it clean, you can filter unwanted content and track the actions of your users. The biggest con of the free version is that it is not responsive. So you will have to get the pro version.
And pro version is really worth the money as it provides private answers, anonymous posting, BuddyPress integration, social networks integration and much more.
So boost your website traffic and build a real community by installing this plugin.
5. DW Question Answers Pro
A free version of this plugin is also available but I would rather spend some money and get a load of features.
Make a forum like Quora or Stackoverflow with the help of DW Question Answers Pro. Here are some really awesome features of this plugin:
The plugin is loved by many users and supports over 20 languages. It is used by more than 10,000 websites around the world.
The reason why I prefer the pro version is that it has some really cool features like leaderboard that shows the most active and reputed members of your community. The pro version also supports 7 custom widgets while the free version supports only 4.
Lastly you can check the demo of the plugin to get an idea of what this plugin offers.
6. Groups Forums
Add a lightweight forum-system on your website with Groups Forums. You can make topics sticky, pick moderators and more.
Compared to DW Question Answers Pro and AnsPress, this plugin lacks many features but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
It lets you create unlimited forums and customize them in different ways.
Technically a forum, but MiwoVoice mainly helps in getting feedback from your visitors. Visitors can discuss and decide what is best for you.
You can add unlimited ideas, filter bad words and configure it to provide the best experience so you get the best feedback.
So if you are not interested in creating a forum, you can atleast consider getting feedbacks from your visitors.
Muut is another discussion platform that lets users add unlimited comments, unlimited threads and more. It is SEO optimized which helps in getting traffic from the search engines.
Some cool features include:
Online Visitors: Find who is online and find who is viewing your website.
Trending Topics: This will boost the activity as users can see the most trending topics so that they can jump in the conversation.
Discussion Channel: Add a discussion channel on your website’s sidebar and users will be able to watch what’s going on.
If you want a free plugin to create a forum, then this plugin offers many features and you must give it a try.
SabaiDiscuss offers many features and lets you post questions and answers just like Yahoo Answers. It can be used as a discussion forum, knowledge base and also as a helpdesk portal.
It’s fully responsive with a flat design. Users can search questions, filter questions by custom field, post comments on answers and questions, file attachments and vote both questions and answers.
The plugin has a user reputation system and also profile pages. There are 9 widgets available that you can add on your website.
Create a forum for your WordPress site with this plugin. It is light and fast. You can design your forum from the themes available and customize it to match your website’s design.
It is secure and SEO optimized. Simple:Press integrates with other tools and plugins without any problems.
One cool feature I like about the plugin is that you can create hidden spoilers in your posts.
11. WP Pro Forum System
Add a clean forum to your website that is easy to manage with this plugin. With this plugin, registered users can create topics for discussion, reply on topics, add comments and much more.
One great feature this plugin provides is that a user can create private content that only some specific users can view.
12. WP Symposium
Create your own social network on WordPress with WP Symposium. You can create a forum, get email alerts and do a lot more with this plugin.
It is highly customizable and is compatible with all plugins and themes. Still it lacks in many features we discussed in the previous plugins.
But most of them were premium and this is a free plugin. Also its primary focus is not just on forums. The plugin offers many other features which are really great.
13. WPMU DEV Forums
Create forums that can be embedded on any post or page with this plugin. You can create unlimited forums, style them and manage them hassle-free.
You can limit topics per forum and also limit posts per page. It also lets you limit the number of forums. The plugin is highly customizable and has many styling options.
It’s secure and mobile-friendly too.
Here’s How You Can Benefit From This List
Download the free bonus and get access to the PDF version of this article that will help you choose the best plugin.
Also, leave a comment and tell me which plugin you think is suitable for your website. I'll be waiting for your comment. 🙂