Very often I get questions about how to create a social network with WordPress.
Often these are people who manage forums but who would like to evolve their website, to give it a more modern look and maybe implement it with additional features that make life easier for users.
Other times, there are bloggers who write about a very niche topic and would like to create a community around their favorite topic to connect fans. Initially, I recommend that you share all your content on social media. But If, on the other hand, your aim is to share your multimedia content with as many users as possible, I suggest you also consider a search engine (I like to call it that) like Pinterest.
Whatever your project, however, today you will discover how to create your own social network with WordPress!
The Users Ultra plugin to create a community on WordPress
For create a community with WordPress, you don’t need complicated tools or special programming knowledge. Just install the Users Ultra plugin .
It is available in free version and Pro version . Let’s first see the differences between the two versions.
First of all, in both cases the subscribers will be able to add their avatar and manage their profile. You can customize the emails to be sent to subscribers and fully manage their subscriptions.
The registration form can include as many fields as you want and will be protected by reCAPTCHA to avoid spam .
The PRO version also includes integration with PayPal, which will allow you to create a paid members area, and also to define different membership levels to show different content based on the subscription level.
But the main feature of Users Ultra Pro is the ability to manage friends and followers.
To create a real social network, therefore, I recommend that you purchase at least the Personal license, at a cost of $49.97 for a website.
With the Plus license, valid for 5 websites, you can also manage recurring payments, allow the sending of private messages between subscribers, integrate WooCommerce and view users online. This plan costs $99.97.
Let’s take a look at the backend now, to find out how Users Ultra works.
Configuring Users Ultra
Install the free plugin directly from the WordPress dashboard. If you want to use a paid version, you will receive the download link and instructions to create your license key by email. You can then install the plugin manually on your WordPress site.
Once the plugin is installed, go to the Ultra Users menu and select the Dashboard tab to see an overview of the users. You will see the current WordPress users registered on your site (admin, editors, subscribers, etc.).
In the Fields tab you can create the registration form to your social network on WordPress. Click on each item to customize it. You can also add an icon or choose certain user roles that can see this field.
Click on Delete to delete the fields you do not need, while with the Click here to add new field button you can add custom fields.
Users Ultra Settings
In the Settings tab you will find various settings, such as the date format, the link with the Facebook avatar, the size of the thumbnails , the creation of terms and conditions and much more.
You can establish connections with social media accounts and conditions for membership. For example, you can only accept registrations from emails with certain domains, a very useful feature if you create a social network for an institution, like a school.
Then configure the settings for the publication and management of the user’s profile and wall, for example by offering or denying the possibility to modify or delete one’s own posts, to comment or to activate notifications when new photos are published.
These are just examples of everything you can configure in this section of the plugin. As you can see, the options are numerous and very varied, so take a few minutes to explore them all.
Personalization of your social network with WordPress
In the Appearance & Customization tab you can set the appearance of your social network. Select one of the templates available for the user profile, then move to the General customization tab to change the colors.
If you need more advanced customizations, use the CSS tab and enter your codes.
Set up notifications
In the Notifications tab you will find all the options for sending emails, viewing confirmation messages, automatic emails related to registration, password change, private messages or password changes.
To send these messages, you can choose whether to use the PHP mail () function or the SMTP protocol. However, it is also possible to use Mandrill (the Mailchimp service now called Transactional Email ) or third-party plugins.
If you choose SMTP or Mandrill, you can configure the service by filling in the fields on the screen.
Awards for users
A very interesting feature that will certainly increase the involvement of subscribers to your social network is the “rewards” system. Go to the Users Ultra> Medallions and Fullfillments section (the feature is only available for Pro versions).
Choose one of the available badges or upload a new image, then assign a name to the prize and set the conditions for obtaining it.
You can also manually assign it to your subscribers.
Set up social network pages on your WordPress site
Now that you’ve set up the plugin, it’s time to create the pages that make up your social network.
Go to Ultra Users> Permalinks .
Here you will see a list from which to choose the pages for the various sections of the site. Each page must contain the indicated shortcode in order to function correctly.
These pages are created automatically by the plugin, but there may be pages that you need to select instead. It can happen if you have already created pages with the same name as those required by the plugin.
For example, if you see Select Page next to Users Ultra My Account , create the page called Account and paste the shortcode into it
[usersultra_my_account]to create the user’s profile page. In the Users Ultra> Permalink section , then, associate the page you created with Users Ultra My Account .
It is also possible to customize the URLs of the main pages that are generated automatically.
At this point you just have to customize your pages and start inviting subscribers!
Creating a social network with WordPress is not particularly complicated, even though there are actually a lot of settings to configure.
Using Users Ultra, you will find all the options well organized and you just need to follow the instructions to create your community.