It is hard to imagine a time when online communities did not exist. Before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so forth, it was much harder to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances who lived far away. These days, online communities make it easy to connect, get in touch, and stay in touch with the important people in your life. Building online communities has never been easier, thanks to WordPress. You can use a good WordPress community builder plugin to build your own online community in no time.

Along with using appropriate WordPress themes, it is important that you WordPress online community is overall good. It should have all the basic features with scope for expansion.

Of course, any WordPress online community needs certain features so that users can get the best out of it. Here are seven of the top must-have features:

 1. Security

It is very important that any community you join or set up have strict security controls in place. Users should be required to verify their identity. Passwords need to be strong, and users should be prompted to change them regularly. Your community should have:

  • Google reCAPTCHA
  • Antispam security questions feature
  • Restrict users email domain feature

 2. Messaging

A fundamental reason that online communities exist is to promote communication. So a good messaging feature is essential. Preferably, users can choose to post public messages, send private messages to one another, and use messaging to get in contact with the community support team for technical or security issues. The interface of the messaging application should be beautiful and easy-to-use.

 3. Rating

Whenever you have the ability to post messages, photos, or videos to your online community, it is desirable to allow users to rate the content that others have posted. Whether the rating system is as simple as allowing users to “like” a post or it is more complex, users appreciate being able to give their feedback. Often, they also enjoy commenting on other people’s posts or responding to comments. Doing so contributes to a sense of belonging and community.

 4. Networking

A common desire among users of online communities is the desire to network–that is, to find people with similar interests and preferences and connect with them. More and more social networks allow users to search for contacts using their phone number, e-mail address, and so forth. This way you can use the social network as another way to communicate with people you already know offline.

 5. Moderation

Whenever an Internet community allows people to connect, post content, rate that content, and comment on it, you will find it advantageous to have a system for moderating such interactions. Depending on the circumstances, there may be times that it is necessary to flag or remove inappropriate content and messages. Likewise, it is helpful for users to be able to decide who can or cannot participate in discussions they have initiated, comment on their posts, and even see their status or existence in the community. Although moderating users and content is not a fun task, it is an essential feature if users are going to feel safe using a given community.

 6. Multiple registration forms

The plugin that you’ll use should give you the ability to embed a fully customizable registration form anywhere you want. You should also be able to choose which fields appear during registration, from text inputs to photo and file uploads, easily re-order and organize your fields, help tooltips, field icons, and more. You can control which tabs are collapsible, and have full control on the form/fields.

 7. Seamless integration

The WordPress community builder plugin that you’re using should be compatible with other plugins such as WooCommerce, mailing services such as MailChimp, Aweber, Mailster etc. Ability to be integrated with these plugins gives you a scope to make your online community more comprehensive.

These are just a few examples of the must-have features for your WordPress online community. Thankfully, most online communities have a platform that offers all these features and more. As the Internet continues to change the way we interact with others, no doubt the list of must-have features will continue to grow with it.