So, you decided to start using WordPress MU (Multi-User), but have no real clue what to do with it. You know you want to encourage people to visit it and utilize the new service you are providing. However, you just don’t know what to do to keep them coming back. Well fear not, let me tell you what I am doing with WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and Wibiya toolbar.
WordPress MU is the multi-user cousin of the stand alone WordPress installation. It allows you to become your very own blog power house. You can host blogs, give users their very own nifty blog at your domain. It lets you have all of the power and control that you are accustomed with WordPress, but being a trust worthy name that your friends and family are used to. There isn’t much different here with MU over standard. The only difference is the ability to allow everyone to create blogs.
So, what is this “BuddyPress”? It is a powerful plug-in for WordPress MU. It works with standard WordPress, but you loose some of the desired functionality if done so. With MU, you can quickly create an easy to use, extensible, flexible social networking platform. Not only that, there are a slew of great plug-ins that compliment BuddyPress that add even more power and flexibility to the BuddyPress platform.
How does BuddyPress stand up to Boonex, or even Ning.com? Well, Boonex and Ning are great platforms. They allow for so much. However, some of the requirements for Boonex mean your server needs certain features turned on that some servers may not allow on lower level shared servers. You also can not opt to install those features separately. Ning is a pre-hosted network that really doesn’t allow for a great deal of individuality. Your members can nearly jump around to other Ning networks, meaning your community gets a little washed out.
Wibiya is a great application that can be plugged into your WordPress site as a plug-in. It gives you the ability to create a perfect interactive environment for your site. It offers a great chat app, links, translator, and SO MUCH MORE. It not only is a very extendable app, but gives your site even more reach with its rich feature set.
One last thing for your WordPress+BuddyPress powered Social Network and Blog site, OpenID. OpenID is a fairly new standard in universal log ins. It allows you to create a single log in at one site, and use it ANYWHERE. No need to create new accounts at numerous websites. Find a site that supports OpenID that is a trusted site, then use that log in at any other website. Most standard profile information is instantly propagated out to various places upon signing in with your OpenID.
What major sites support OpenID? Here are a couple! Yahoo, AOL, Google, Fox News, WordPress.com, Myspace, and a lot more. It is a great way to get your fledgling site noticed and endorsed when it is seen as an OpenID supporting site.
With all of these great features set up properly, there are numerous other plug-ins that one could use to adapt their WordPress+BuddyPress powered site to their own needs. Search through WordPress.org’s extensive list of plug-ins and themes and discover what you can do. You never know, you may end up creating a relatively popular site.