While BuddyPress is great out of the box, for a successful community you will need to bring in additional features. This is achieved by using WordPress plugins. A BuddyPress plugin we often use and recommend is BuddyPress Activity Plus (BAP).

BAP is a free plugin. It extends the built-in activity wall offered by BuddyPress, by allowing community members to upload and share photos, videos and links to online content. BAP is a great way to increase engagement and encourage conversations among your community members.

BAP works well out of the box, requiring minimal setup. Once installed the plugin offers an interface immediately familiar to anyone who has used Facebook or similar social networks. A simple set of buttons on a member’s activity feed, allowing them to choose what they wish to share.

The downside is the look and feel. It’s a little dated and, in our experience, will require a small amount of custom CSS to make the interface fit your community. Also, if you are not familiar with the implications of hosting uploaded files, we recommend doing some research or speaking to someone about file sizes and web security.

. Out of the box, the BuddyPress Activity Plugin offers very little choice on which buttons to display. However if you have a little CSS knowledge or a developer to hand, it is easy enough to change.

This is the first post in a series of articles about BuddyPress and WordPress plugins. We’ll be looking at a range of plugins to help get the most out of your community focusing on price, ease of use and features. If you want to stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for the email newsletter.