If you are looking for advice and action on the Internet, you will find numerous helpful forums. Users give tips and instructions for those seeking advice or exchange information on specific topics. Clubs, event organizers, and product manufacturers also frequently offer a virtual platform for exchanging experiences and opinions. We will explain how you too can set up your own forum with WordPress.
The advantages of your own forum
- It is easier to find like-minded people who share a common hobby or similar interests.
- New users find their way to your website through interesting topic discussions: Be it via the search engine or the direct tip or link from forum members.
- As the manufacturer of a product or provider of a service, you directly learn the opinion of your customers and thus optimally tailor your offer to their wishes and needs.
Setting up a forum is not difficult. If you already run a website with WordPress, all you need to do is install a suitable plugin – and you can start right away.
8 steps to set up a forum effortlessly with the plugin bbPress
The slim forum software bbPress is one of the most popular WordPress plugins, but can also be installed as a stand-alone forum. In this case you can find the installation file on the developer’s site at http://bbpress.org.
- Installation of the plugin bbPress
The installation of the plugin into your WordPress blog is uncomplicated: Go to “Plugins” and “Install” in the admin area of your WordPress installation. Now enter “bbPress” in the search field and click on “Install” after a successful search.
In the next step, a status window will open to inform you about the progress of the installation. Click here on “Activate this plugin”. Now, bbPress has created three new buttons in the menu bar: “Forums”, “Topics” and “Replies”.
2. Create your first forum!
To create a new forum click on “Forums” and “New Forum”. In the window that opens, enter a title for your forum and, if necessary, insert a description in the text field. On the right side of the window select, the forum attributes: You can decide whether your platform should be public, private or hidden, and set a status and a type.
Finally, click on “Publish” or “Update” if you have only made changes.
3. Set up different topics within the forum!
With a click on “Topic” and “New Topic” you can create a new topic for your forum. When creating a new topic, make sure that you assign a corresponding forum to the created topic under “Topic Attributes”. In the “All Topics” section you can manage the topics you have created so far.
4. Make your first entry in the forum via the backend
After opening the forum you will find the answers of the users under “Replies”, which you can check here.
5. Fine-tuning in the forum
More detailed settings for bbPress can be made under “Settings” and “Forums”. Here you can define, for example, if you want to allow anonymous users to post articles and how many topics should be displayed per page.
6. Integrate your newly created forum into an existing or newly created page simply by using a shortcut.
You can use the following shortcodes to do this:
- [bbp-forum-index] – displays the forum list
- [bbp-topic-form] – Form for the creation of a new topic
- [bbp-reply-form] – Form for creating responses to an existing topic
- [bbp-login] – Log-in form
- [bbp-reply-form] – New registration form
7. Adjusting the theme
Via “Design” and “Widgets” you can add a login mask, a search field, a forum list or a list of recent topics in the front-end for your forum. Depending on which WordPress theme you use, you can place these widgets in different sidebars.
8. Pptional adjustments
If required, you can also install any language file that you can find for bbPress. Search on the page for the file with the version number matching your installation and download the zip folder with the language files to your hard disk.
Then go back to the admin area of your WordPress page and click on “Plugins” and “Install”. Click on “Upload” in the “Install Plugins” window.
In the next step, after clicking on “Browse”, select the saved zip file, for example “bbpress-en_EN_sie-version.zip”, and then click on “Install”. Your bbPress forum should now appear completely in any language you are after.
You should also consider these 4 legal aspects as operator of a forum!
- First of all the forum website is subject to the imprint obligation. If you integrate the forum into your existing WordPress installation, please check if the imprint is legally binding. A very simple and convenient way is to generate a new imprint with the Imprint Generator tool. Just click on the large green button and answer the questions of the form. In the end, you will receive a legally compliant imprint.
- A second important point is a responsibility for the contents spread in the forum, which you carry. This is especially true if it concerns illegal contributions, insulting comments or copyright violations. Even though 10 of the Telemedia Act stipulates that service providers are only responsible for third-party information if you are aware of it, you should take regular care of your forum. Illegal contributions are to be deleted immediately. In case of doubt, do not activate contributions until you have checked them or do not allow contributions from non-registered users. This also prevents unnecessary spam.
- Please also observe the data protection regulations, in particular 14 of the Telemedia Act, which regulates the use of personal data. This means that when registering, you may only request data that is necessary for the use of the service. For further purposes, this data may only be used if the respective user has clearly agreed to the regulation. You may not send newsletters or advertising e-mails without permission, nor may you use the data for market research or other advertising purposes.