Reddit is a conversation based website, also known as a forum, where people can create accounts, make posts, and respond to other user questions. There were around 430 million active monthly users at the end of October 2019. While the site can sometimes get a bad rap for enabling negativity, it has a significant influence over day-to-day trends.
Posts on Reddit can go viral, like this one from 2019 where Justin Bieber was photographed eating a burrito sideways. The photo was staged, but it was picked up by big-name news sources, like Vanity Fair and USA Today .
Why am I bringing up Justin Bieber? It’s simple: the Reddit community rallied around a single post, ‘upvoting’ it and bringing it to the attention of other site users. Brands and businesses using WordPress can stand to use forums in the same manner: to build a community of active, engaged users.
Imagine you’ve just launched a new product and a user posts a review on your forum about how much they like their purchase. If it gets enough upvotes, other users will see the post and become inspired to purchase the product. They’ll view your forum as a reputable and valuable source of information.
In addition to community-building, a forum can also be a tool for customer support. Users can post questions that you, or other community members, can answer and troubleshoot. Future customers can refer to old threads to get answers to their questions before deciding to call your customer support line.
In terms of actually having a forum on your WordPress site, there are two options: a standalone WordPress forum theme, or a WordPress theme that integrates with forum plugins like bbPress or BuddyPress . In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 best WordPress forum themes and WordPress forum-compatible themes for you to choose from.
12 Best WordPress Forum Themes
- Forum Engine
- Ask Me
- Help Guru
- QA Engine
- Forum Press
- Knowledge Press
1. Forum Engine
As a standalone WordPress forum theme, Forum Engine is perfect for those looking to create a forum-based community centered on a topic of their choice.
You can create overarching themes for conversation and subcategories inside them. Users can create accounts within your site that they can use to create their subcategories, make posts, and add photos. The theme also has search functionality, allowing users to filter through content on your site easily.
To generate interest, you can use the ‘User Badges System’ feature to award users based on their activity within your forum, like the number of comments, posts, and time spent on your site. You can also set up your site to send notifications, so users stay up to date as their posts get attention.
2. Ask Me
Like Yahoo Answers and Quora , Ask Me is a standalone, single-page WordPress theme for building simple question and answer forums. If you’re a well-established brand looking for a way for customers to pose questions and receive quick answers, this theme is worth considering.
Users can create accounts and interact with other community members on your site by liking and commenting on posts. You can set member rules and assign points and badges based on interactions.
The main draw to this theme is the “Star” function. When users pose questions and get replies, they can star the most beneficial solutions. This brings those comments and answers to the top of the posts’ comment thread, making it easier for future users to find a solution quickly. For those who are new to your site, seeing that people are actively having their problems solved is an incentive to join your platform.
As the name suggests, HelpGuru is a perfect theme for those looking to create support-related websites. The main feature of the theme is its knowledge base functionality — admins can create a database to share helpful information about a product or service. It’s compatible with bbPress , so you can create an additional support forum for users to ask questions.
For example, customers may go over a ‘How To’ guide you’ve posted on your site and realize they don’t exactly understand step four. They can easily navigate to your forum, pose the question, or use the search functionality to see if it’s been asked and solved by other forum members.
Answers is another WordPress forum theme for those looking to start a Q&A website. There are no pre-set content requirements, so your site can be general or more focused on your areas of interest.
Users on your site can create accounts, post questions or conversation threads, and generate a sense of community by troubleshooting and responding to posts made by other users. You can also create a front page to display top-performing posts, comments, and most active users.
Visually, the theme is minimalist, allowing you to give your users a straightforward support experience without distracting visual elements. It’s also mobile-friendly, allowing your users to get answers on the go.
Flatbase is a knowledge base theme that you can use to give your site users quick access to customer support troubleshooting.
Visitors can pose questions directly to you, but the integrated forum functionality allows users to support each other as a community as well. An emergency at midnight doesn’t need to wait until the next business day to be solved, as another user on your site may have already answered.
Use the ‘Article View’ and ‘FAQ Scroll’ functions to show users which pieces of content are most popular, and the included widgets to create a drop-down menu to display them. The theme also comes with various pre-made templates, so you’ll spend less time customizing your website and more time delighting your users with solutions.
QA Engine is perfect for websites with unique interests. It’s explicitly designed for community-building, centered around a question and answer forum.
Its star feature is its ‘Pump’ function, which allows users to pay for their pressing questions to be placed at the top of category lists, allowing you to generate additional revenue from your site.
Additionally, you can create site rules to designate a point and badge system to award high-contributing users on your site, where point and badge levels can correspond with different privileges. Maybe you’ll allow people to become moderators after they’ve reached a certain badge level, which can take the stress of filtering out inappropriate content. Users can find answers through content filtering, and they can rate responses based on how helpful they are.
Cinematix is a multipurpose community building WordPress theme. It boasts 40+ style pages, including user-profiles and forums. The built-in reward system makes it easy to develop incentives to make your users want to come back and interact with each other. You can even enable direct message functionality so users can develop friendships with people they meet on your site.
Disputo is a bbPress-compatible theme with a built-in FAQ system. This theme makes it easy for customers to quickly find commonly asked questions, and the ‘Best Answer’ functionality will show them the most helpful responses, as rated by other community members.
With over 24,000 users, ForumPress is a highly rated bbPress-compatible forum theme — use it to create different forums within your site and sort them by topic. Its key feature is the ’Activity Reporting’ menu, where you can elect to display numerical values for the number of questions, comments, and time since the most recent activity. At a glance, users can quickly decide where they’ll find the most success when posing their questions.
If you’re looking to use this forum in addition to a different branded site, you can easily customize the visuals to reflect your common theme and upload a personalized logo.
10. Knowledge Press
Knowledge press is a wiki and help desk WordPress theme. In addition to a knowledge base, you can incorporate bbPress-compatible forums where users can pose questions, find answers, and connect with others.
This theme’s unique ‘Voting Setting’ feature sets it apart , as you can give users the option to vote on posts, selecting those they think to provide the most value to users on your site.
KLEO is a modern, minimalist, BuddyPress compatible template. It has general forum functions, like user accounts and forum pages, and a content filtering system. In addition, users can create interest groups and invite others to join.
KLEO's site footer is what sets it apart from the rest. You can use the feature to display profile photos of the forum's community members, putting faces to the name of those who are active on your site. You can display the number of presently active users and the number of user-created interest groups.
After you’ve finalized your design, it has a one-click installation feature, helping you get started as fast as possible.
Ekko is an advanced, multi-purpose WordPress page builder with a pre-designed forum template. It’s bbPress-compatible, and you can create custom categories like ‘Most Popular Topics’ and ‘Topics With No Replies.’
Its unique ‘Forum Statistics’ feature makes it a unique community-building asset, as it lets users know how many people are part of their community. The higher the numbers, the greater the incentive to participate and join the community.
Selecting Your Forum Theme
Whether your visitors are finding answers to their questions or asking you questions, every template on this list will allow users to feel a sense of community around your content. They can interact with others who appreciate your brand and entice new users to become your future customers.
Originally published Oct 16, 2020 10:28:00 AM, updated October 16 2020