BuddyPress is a very popular WordPress extension that allows you to turn any WordPress site into a social media platform. With features such as profile creation, friending, internal messaging, wall posting, and more, BuddyPress comes pre-built with all sorts of user-capabilities.
However, in the 7 years that BuddyPress has been around, it’s been expanded and customized to accommodate a number of other uses such as internal networks, fan sites, dating sites, and more. Basically, any place where you want to better connect people while giving them the ability to manage and update a profile, BuddyPress can be a great solution.
Including event-based websites.
Why Would You Want to Connect BuddyPress with an Events Website?
Any good events plugin for WordPress will allow for user-profile creation. This will generally allow them to long in to check current or past registrations, cancel registrations, and if you want, create events of their own.
But adding BuddyPress gives users considerable more control over their accounts, providing a more attractive profile page that’s easy to access and update. In addition, let’s say they make new friends on an event they attend.
They can then return to the site, friend these people using BuddyPress’s default features, and stay connected through there. They can even see which future events the other is attending and register accordingly.
If you’re allowing users to create events on your site, they could use the social features as a coordinating/communication tool as well.
Truthfully, there’s a lot of ways you can harness the social power of BuddyPress to make a better events site. Here’s what we did:
A client wanted us to build them an event-based website for a niche-market that added a degree of social-media like interaction. While the primary purpose for creating a profile was to register for events, social functionality would become increasingly important as the business and the community within it grew.
We decided that BuddyPress would perfect for this. Though it doesn’t have any event functionality built in, there are a number of popular event platforms with BuddyPress integration capabilities.
We went with Events Manger Pro because we had good experience with it in the past and they offer BuddyPress support.
The intial setup is relatively simple. Install BuddyPress and Events Manager from the plugin area of your site. To add the Pro features of Events Manager, you’ll need to purchase and download it from their website, and then upload the zip file onto your own site.
With these in place, we set up the registration page for BuddyPress. Users visited that to create their account. This would then send them an activation email. Once they activated their account, they could login and start registering for events on the event page powered by Events Manager.
In our case, users had to create a profile before they could register for events. However, if you wish, you can enable guest registration as well.
For the initial stage of the website, profiles were mostly used to track and store additional user information. BuddyPress makes adding additional user field’s very simple, letting use customize profile layouts as we saw fit.
In our client’s case, profiles actually represented two people (specifically a couple) instead of one. BuddyPress gave us the ability to add fields for both.
Another feature we were able to utilize was internal messaging. Though we had this disabled for standard users, admins on the site could message either specific users or mass message everyone through the website.
Messages were stored both on the user’s profile and sent to them via their primary email address.
Future Planned Updates
There are a number of updates currently planned for the second phase of the website including:
- Paid memberships/membership tiers (using an additional plugin)
- Friending capabilities and internal message for paid accounts
- Special event prices for paid accounts
- And more
Trouble We Encountered
While the combination of these two WordPress add-ons allowed us to implement a number of features, some of the above functionality had to be modified and tweaked within the actual code.
Also, though Events Manager is setup to work with BuddyPress, the integration isn’t quite as seamless as we would have liked. For example, Events Manager allows you the option of exporting attendance rosters for events. However, these exported lists don’t pull the extra profile data found in the BuddyPress profiles.
This was especially troublesome in our case since that extra data contained the info of the second person in the couple.
Also, if you’re looking at someone else’s profile, trying to see what events they’re attending, the default layout/organizing is a little confusing at first.
Lastly, we’ve had a slight issue with some users not receiving their activation email.
Ultimately, We Recommend BuddyPress and Events Manager Pro
Are they perfect? No. Do they have some limitations? Yes. Will you need a design and/or developer to help with some styling, coding, and site navigation? Definitely.
But using these two plugins allowed us to provide a website that does quite a bit for a really affordable price.