Social Networks are great ways to get user engagements and some of the most popular social network titans are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tiktok. Now, here’s the thing, you can make your own Social Network on the WordPress platform with very little effort. The popular plugin Ultimate Member is great way to get started. This post will showcase 10 Social Networks you make with Ultimate Member and a list of addons you can use to make them amazing.
Out of the box, Ultimate Member will provide the base of your next social network with no addons necessary. Here’s what you get from this amazing free plugin:
- User Registration and Login: Users will be able to register and login to your community site
- Member Directories: You can create multiple member directories for users
- Profile Customization: You can create unlimited profile fields that users can fill out on the site
Social Connections/Professional Networking
Some Social Networks seem to be feature packed i.e Not only do they allow you to find others, they allow you to interact with them on activity walls and private messages. Below is a list of features that you can use to build a professional networking style community.
- Faceted Search for Ultimate Member – This is an advanced search plugin for Ultimate Member and the reason why it’s at the top of the list is because when networking — finding persons by filters is super important. Let’s assume that you have 1000’s of professionals on your site and you would like to filter down your member directory to a few that match a certain criteria then this is your best option. ( Premium )
- User Photos – Adds a quick an easy way for users to upload photos to their profile ( Premium )
- Gallery – Media is super important for social networks and this plugin will allow users to add both photos and videos. ( Free / Premium )
- Privacy for UM – This is a nice to have plugin that gives users the ability to report/block users ( Premium )
- Private Messages – A professional network would not be complete without the ability to send a DM and that’s why this UM plugin is a good touch for this. ( Premium )
- Profile Completeness – This plugin gives users a nudge to complete their profile and that’s good if you want to make sure users get a full experience from the site by filling out the necessary steps like filling fields and uploading avatars. ( Premium )
- Friends – Like Facebook, you can use the Friends plugin to request to become friends with another user. ( Premium )
- Verified Users – This is a feature you can find on both Twitter and Facebook. With it, you can give users more credibility by verifying their profile.
- Events – When you think community, you think of events and this plugin pulls that aspect to the your community for you.
Community Forums and Discussion Sites
This a pretty broad type considering that you can have so many niche forums but for now let’s take a look at the bare minimum for setting a community based forum with WordPress and Ultimate Member.
- bbPress – This integrates Ultimate Member with bbPress
- ForumWP – An alternative to bbPress, you can try ForumWP which is another plugin by the creators of Ultimate Member
Micro-Blogging and Blogging
Many persons have things they would like to say and posting them in short tweets like on Twitter, full-length text like on Medium or on Discussion boards like Reddit are great way to get the words out. Micro-blogging comes with many benefits like user engagement and fresh content for your site. Here’s how you can build your micro-blogging social network on WordPress.
- Stories for Ultimate Member – Don’t let the name fool you. Stories is a great plugin for users to create content from their user profile. You can also user the author shortcode to get a list of authors displayed on the page ( Free / Premium )
- User Notes – Allow users to create public and private notes from their profile ( Premium )
- Social Activity – This is a lot like how one would post on Twitter. It gives users an option to write short snippets and display them on their profile timeline. These postings can also be placed on a site-wide wall like Facebook and Twitter
- User Tags – This would be a cool addition if you would like to create a sort of author genre type and have users choose which genre best speaks to their writings.
- Faceted Search for Ultimate Member – This UM Plugin would be a great addon if you would like user to filter members by different profile data including the author genre ( user tags )
Photo/Media Sharing: Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube
These examples are no way all the Photo/Media Sharing sites out there but just a few that really stood out. What’s great about these types of sites is that users are able to upload their media like photos or videos and share them with the world or to friends and followers. Check out how you can create a Youtube or Instagram clone with Ultimate Member:
- Gallery – This will be the main plugin for adding media. It has the option to add photos and videos and comes with different layouts so you can create a single wall of photos like Instagram, a stream of videos like Youtube or you can use the album layout and create a Flickr clone on WordPress ( Free / Premium )
- Friends – This would be a nice option if you would like users to request a sort of friendship on your community ( Premium )
- Followers – This is similar to the Friends plugin but this way users don’t have to worry about accepting a request. ( Premium )
- Visitors – This is another nice to have UM plugin that will allow users to track visitors that checked out their profile ( Premium )
Portfolio, Craft, Hobbies and Creative Communities
So Portfolio and Hobbyists sites are very similar to Photo/Media Sharing sites and share the same suggested UM Addons but I wanted to separate them to show you can customize this differently. Here’s how to make a WordPress Portfolio site:
- Gallery – You are going to need the gallery plugin of course and I would recommend using the album mode so users can place their portfolio items into different folders. Next, you can enable the categories feature and allow your user to set categories for their portfolio pieces. Lastly, you can build a public portfolio page by using the built-in shortcode and display the different portfolio entries by category ( Free / Premium )
- Private Messages – Private Messages would be perfect for users to get contacted for their work and network ( Premium )
- Followers – The followers plugin will help users follow their favorites. ( Premium )
- Profile Completeness – This will be a nice feature to get users to fill out any necessary fields to be ready on the site. ( Premium )
- Verified Users – This plugin would a nice option to give users credibility on the site.
Building a dating site with WordPress is not farfetched at all. A dating site or a meetup community usually requires a few basic features to get started, here’s how you can build your social network with Ultimate Member:
- Meet Me – Gives users a unique way to find other users based on similar interests ( Premium )
- User Photos – Allow users to upload photos to their profile ( Premium )
- Gallery – Allows users to share photos and videos on their profile ( Free / Premium )
- Privacy for UM – This gives users the ability to block or report users from accessing their profile ( Premium )
- Private Messages – Add a private messaging system to your site & allow users to message each other ( Premium )
- Profile Completeness – Encourage or force users to complete their profiles with the profile completeness extension ( Premium )
- Friends – Allows users to become friends by sending & accepting/rejecting friend requests ( Premium )
- Visitors – This is optional but it gives the users the ability to see who viewed their profile
- Verified Users – Add a user verification system to your site so user accounts can be verified
- Events – Users can create events like meetups and others can RSVP to these events
Education and online Courses
There are many online courses and schools. Some of them are in very niche spaces and in these spaces, what students often look for is the ability to connect with teachers or other students. Well, that’s why building an online community with Ultimate Member is a great idea. You can pair UM with other LMS plugins like LearnDash, LearnPress, LifterLMS, WP Courseware and below you can see just how you make your community pop!
- LearnDash + Ultimate Member – This combination plugin brings the power of LearnDash courses to your user profiles. Users will be able to view all their courses from their profile and with Social Activity plugin added, can also share their progress achievements on an activity wall.
- Private Messages – With a bit of tweaking, you can configure this so that students can only speak to teachers or specific user roles
Religious or Faith Communities
Imagine you would like to create a community for a church, religious group etc. Then Ultimate Member would be perfect tool. You can create a community where members can interact with each other and receive announcements. The following plugins will work well with Ultimate Member to make this a reality.
- Events – With this events plugin, you can create upcoming events and pin them so all users can see them on a calendar and on their profile.
Sport, Fan or Team websites
This is one of my favorite sets of communities to see. Let’s assume that you would like to create a community for a brand or celebrity where users can discuss topics and subscribe for exclusive content. On the other hand, let’s say you would like a website as a Coach where you can contact teammates and share announcements or a space where users can stay connected for comradery, then this type of community would be best. Some of the best features to make this happen would be the following addons:
- Events – Admins would be able to create an event that others can see such as meetings, important dates and upcoming events.
- Social Activity – This would serve as a way for users to share their thoughts on their profiles and others can comment
Gaming social networks have been around for a while. You are more likely to find communities surrounding top games especially games that allows other players to play against or with each other online. Since these type of networks or usually discussion based, you will find that forum or microblogging type plugins work amazingly well here.
- bbPress – With the bbPress extension you can beautifully integrate Ultimate Member with bbPress
- ForumWP – If you’d like an alternative to bbPress, you can try ForumWP which is another plugin by the creators of Ultimate Member
- Social Activity – If you would like to keep the conversations in a wall style then this Activity Wall for Ultimate Member would be the perfect option here.
Job Board and Community
Examples: Angel Co
If you are building a community with a job board then Ultimate Member’s profile features are a great start for this. You can use UM to create all the fields necessary for job seekers such as experience, skills, age etc. Next, you can combine a plugin like WP Job Manager to add Jobs to the site. Here’s how you can tie everything together:
- WP Job Manager for Ultimate Member – This combination plugin will give users a tab on their profile where they can see the jobs that apply to them and jobs that they have applied to.
- Faceted Search for Ultimate Member – As mentioned before this advanced search is powerful. You can use this to search for talent based on the criteria set.
Other Niche Community Sites you can make with Ultimate Member
Here’s a few examples of niche communities that you can make with UM:
Finding More Ultimate Member plugins
As you may have noticed, some of these addons can be used across different types of communities and these are not the exhausted list of plugins available for Ultimate Member. Check out the bundles and search for both premium and free Ultimate Member plugins