Community participation creates a sense of belongingness among a site and its core readers. If you empower your readers, they’ll share their successes and experiences with others on your website which will help grow your readership exponentially.
There are many ways to empower your community by providing a space for interaction like creating just a discussion boards or a fully featured forum. Here are some plugins that will help you to empower your blogging community.
Community driven site
Technically, building community driven site is so easy. With a basic understanding of WordPress, you can also make your own community website or blog network. Using the below listed plugins, running a community driven site will not be a hassle.
1. Public Post Preview
Allowing guest posts is common in blogging circles. Most of the blogs won’t give dashboard access for guest authors. So guest authors could not see the edited article until the post gone live. There is a nice plugin called public post preview which allow you to provide a link to anonymous users like guest authors so that they can see the post before it get published.
2. Role Scoper
Normally, websites allow you to read posts and pages without logging in. For any other actions like editing and contributing you may need to login. For the convenience of admin, WordPress defines different roles for users. By default, these roles are administrator, editor, author, contributor and subscriber.
Mostly this role configuration is more than enough for conventional WordPress use like single author blogging. But, for example if you may want to permit some users to edit only posts but not pages, then default role is not enough. You can use a role scoper plugin for such cases.
This plugin gives you CMS-like control for reading and editing permissions so you can assign restrictions and roles for your members to specific pages, posts or categories.
3. Edit Flow
Good editorial workflow can make things done a lot easier for blog networks or multi author blog. Currently in WordPress, draft feature lets you save a work in progress and after finishing it you can schedule it for publishing.
Edit Flow expands the scope of your collaborative work with additional statuses like assigned, pitched, in progress and pending review. This plugin also provides convenient month-by-month calendar-view of posts so that you can easily check if there any post is scheduled for specific day.
4. Custom Login
WordPress default login page is nice but custom login page increase the brand value of your community website. If you are looking for a customized login page, a nice option would be custom login plugin. This plugin comes with a built-in settings page and Photoshop template included in library file.
Blogs are made for 2 way communications between readers and author. Creating an interactive blog requires a lot of work that takes time, dedication and a bit of luck. You don’t need to have a bigger audience for your blog to open up discussion. Here are some cool plugins that help you encourage your readers to start talking.
Disqus is the most popular comment plugin for WordPress. It replaces the default WordPress comment system and enables social media login for commenting. According to TechCrunch, there were over 500,000 communities using Disqus for more than 160 million conversations between 18 million profiles.
Another nice option comment plugin is Commentluv. It encourages your readers to comment on your blog by rewarding them a link to their latest blog post at the end of their comment. This plugin also provide an option for bloggers to give do follow links to their readers. Allowing do follow link on comment is not recommended though some bloggers prefer so to encourage the conversations on their blog.
Premium version provides more features like allowing keywords and displaying twitter names on comment section.
WP-Polls let you ask specific questions on your blog that should generate very specific answers over an extended period of time. The question can be embedded on your site as a widget. If you are not interested in integrating third party polling service like polldaddy on your website, this plugin is a nice option.
8. GD Star Rating
This Plugin lets you to set up user submitted review rating system for post and comments in your website using single, multi and thumbs ratings. It also allows you to add widgets into the sidebars for displaying top ratings and other statistics generated by the plugin.
Once you have enough traffic-base, you can think about creating a forum. Creating a forum requires a lot of work. For you as admin, it is a nice place to cross-promote your existing relevant websites. For your readers, it is about getting more than one opinion for a topic and it is nice place for finding likeminded people.
bbPress is the best forum software available for WordPress. In simple words, it is lightweight, extensible and enables seamless integration with WordPress. bbPress is created by founders of WordPress and the same plugin is used for WordPress.org support forums.
10. BBPress Moderation
The more popular your network becomes, the more spam you receive. If you are a bbPress user, you can install bbPress Moderation plugin to reduce spam. This plugin will change the status of new topics and replies to ‘pending’ status.
11. BBPress Post Toolbar
bbPress Post Toolbar is the primary plugin you need for you bbPress forum. While writing a topic, it adds an editor bar above the text area. It also allows users to upload images directly and embeds online videos from multiple providers to the site.
Facebook is HUGE with millions of fanbase. This is why webmasters prefer Facebook Connect as a quicker way to log users in and avoid password security.
WP-FB AutoConnect plugin allow readers to login to your website using either Facebook account or local WordPress credentials. Now this plugin also supports BuddyPress.
Niche Social Networking
The idea of creating niche social network doesn’t mean creating a Facebook clone. In fact, modern forum is not so different from social network. You can easily create a niche social network on WordPress using the following plugins.
Before jumping to install it on your blog, please note that not all WordPress Theme is currently supporting BuddyPress plugin. You need to install a BuddyPress supported theme or you should customize your current theme for BuddyPress. Fortunately, BuddyPress 1.7 release will make BuddyPress compatible with any WordPress theme.
14. BuddyPress Media
After search engines, social media services are the biggest source of traffic. What makes these social networks more popular is that the ability of multimedia sharing. BuddyPress Media plugin allow BuddyPress users to upload and share multimedia files with other members.
Currently most of the themes don’t support BuddyPress plugin. This make people rely on BuddyPress alternative plugins. One of the best BuddyPress alternative plugin is Mingle. Mingle turns your standard WordPress website with a standard WordPress theme into a Social Network.
This is another nice plugin for creating niche social network on WordPress. It does not require complicated themes to work with. They are also offering development and support for paid members. Membership starts from $ 39/year.
WordPress is well known as an open source blogging platform. Over the years it has grown a lot and now it is the best content management system (CMS). With combination of suitable plugins and appropriate hacks, WordPress can be used in more unconventional ways.
There are a lot of WordPress plugin out there that would help managing multi author website much easier. One among the best is CollabPress. This plugin easily allows you to assign tasks to other users. This project and task management plugin transforms a standard WordPress installation into a full featured project management application in a single click.
18. WordPress Wiki Plugin
Are you looking for full-featured wiki plugin for WordPress? With built-in WYSIWYG editing, upload capabilities and comprehensive notification systems this plugin gives you almost all functionality you can expect from excellent wiki software.
19. Front End Editor
If you don’t require full featured wiki plugin for your site but need to make changes on published content from front end, you can use front end editor. So you are not required to load the admin backend for editing work.
20. Audit Trail
Audit Trail is a plugin to keep track of things going on inside your website/blog. It records login time of each user and information like what they do and store in the form of a log. It has a lot more features like ability to track page visits of registered users.