How to turn your WordPress blog into a social network

Category : Resources


Social Networks can be seen as the biggest internet phenomena, not only in recent history, but in all of history. Everyone wants to get on the bandwagon as Facebook and Twitter takes over the internet. You have more than one option if you plan on setting up your own niche social network. You can find third-party-hosted-providers such as Ning (which you will have to pay for), SocialGo or just to name a few. If you prefer and opensource solution, which you host yourself, you can find options in the form of Elgg, PhpFox and Dolphin.

If you prefer to go with any of the above that’s up to you, but I’m guessing you’re here because you’re a WordPress user and that’s where you want to stay. WordPress and the developer community never disappoints and they don’t plan on starting now. The two plugins that provide a complete social network for your WordPress powered blog, which I prefer to use, is BuddyPress and Mingle.

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress is by far the larger of the two options and offer a lot more in terms of extensions, ranging from groups, to albums to tagging and much more. You will also find an extensive list of plugins especially made for BuddyPress, which is created by the WordPress parent company Auttomatic. BuddyPress also sports a few cons, which is a limited amount of freely available themes and requires a high learning curve. BuddyPress can be installed from the WordPress Plugin Repository.

Social networking in a box. Build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community all based on the power and flexibility of WordPress.

BuddyPress is completely free and open source. Unlike hosted services, BuddyPress allows you to stay in control of your site and create a totally customized, unique experience. - Author

BuddyPress In Action

2. Mingle

Mingle is also a WordPress plugin you can install from the plugin repository, which provides you with a fully functioning Social Network powered by WordPress. Mingle is the smaller and simpler option as it install “out-of-the-box” on most WordPress themes. Because it is still in its early stages it lacks all of the options BuddyPress does, but will work well for a small group or niche blog.

The simplest way to turn your WordPress website into a Social Network comparable to Facebook or LinkedIn. Mingle makes it easy to create a social network for your family, church, business or even a premium membership site! Mingle uses your standard WordPress website and standard WordPress theme to create your Social Network instantly. So go ahead and try it out-give your users a more social experience on your website today! - Author

Mingle In Action

A larger variety of plugin useful for setting up a fully functioning social network, powered by WordPress, should become available in due time, but until then BuddyPress and Mingle is the best options and is sure to grow as the community surrounding it grows.

Comments (2)

BuddyPress is great.

Mingle is greater.
It really depends on what you want out of a social network site. :D