WordPress is known across the internet as the go-to blogging platform. Whenever the average person or company looks to build an online presence, they usually turn to WordPress thanks to its capabilities as a content management system. However not a lot of people know about WordPress’s abilities as a forum. bbPress allows you to add a forum to WordPress, giving you another way to build your website and a community around it.
Installing bbPress is much much simpler than installing traditional forum software like phpBB, IPB, or vBulletin. bbPress installs just like any other plugin. In the WordPress Admin area, just go to Plugins -> Add New and search for “bbPress.” Once you’ve found it, just click install and you have a brand new forum waiting for you. Once bbPress is installed, you’ll be greeted with a very helpful welcome screen. Be sure to read through it because you’ll get some quick and helpful info before you get started configuring your forum.
In addition to the being shown a welcome screen, you’ll notice three new menu items added to the WordPress Admin area called “Forums”, “Topics”, and “Replies.” The “Forums” menu item lets you manage all the categories in bbPress. You can create categories for different things like a “Customer Support” section or a “Showcase” section for members of your community. The “Topics” menu lets you quickly create and view different topics across your forum, letting you manage them quite easily. “Replies” lets you reply to topics and manage member’s replies across the forum.
Here are some quick screenshots so you gain an understanding of how this all looks:
bbPress is actually very easy to use because you have experience with WordPress. Managing and creating new forums, topics, and posting replies is very similar to what you do as a blogger. There are a wealth of plugins at your disposal if you choose to use bbPress, so don’t be afraid of a lack of functionality for your members. bbPress also integrates very nicely into your existing theme, as it utilizes your theme’s CSS to fit right in.
At this point, if you’re liking how bbPress works and you’re thinking about using it, I recommend you take a look at the documentation to familiarize yourself with it further so you can customize bbPress anyway you see fit.