(For more resources on WordPress, see here.)
After installing and activating BuddyPress, an alert will appear at the top of your screen to tell you that the functionality offered by BuddyPress isn’t available on your website just yet. For these features to be made available to your members, you will need to install a BuddyPress-compatible theme.
Activating this theme is a two step process. First, navigate to Appearance | Themes and then click Activate for the BuddyPress Default theme. Next, click on SuperAdmin | Themes. Tick the radio button labeled Yes for the BuddyPress Default theme and then click Apply Changes. Now the BuddyPress Default theme will be in use on your site and available for usage by your users.
Setting up and configuring BuddyPress
After activating the plugin, you might have noticed that a new BuddyPress menu appeared. Click on BuddyPress | General Settings to access the BuddyPress Settings screen.
There are only two settings on this screen that you need to concern yourself with; the rest can be left at their defaults settings. The first option that you need to alter is located at the top of the screen and is labeled Base profile group name. As you can see, this is currently set to Base. This text appears in a couple of places. First, when your users go to My Account | Profile | Edit Profile, they will see Editing ‘Base’ Profile Group.
The second place that this text can be found is on the BuddyPress Profile Field Setup screen where it’s used as the name of the default field group.
In both instances, something less enigmatic would be beneficial. Think of a descriptive label that would be useful in both situations and then enter it into the Base profile group name textbox.
You will find the other setting that you need to configure located at the bottom of your screen, so scroll down until you see the Default User Avatar. In this area, select the type of avatar that you would like to display for users without a custom avatar and then click Save Settings.
Now, click on BuddyPress | Component Setup to be taken to the BuddyPress Component Setup screen. By default, all of the components found on this screen are enabled. How you choose to configure the majority of these settings will depend upon your preferences and the features that you would like to make available on your website. It should be noted, however, that both the bbPress Forums and Groups components should remain enabled if you plan on integrating bbPress into your community portal. Also, the Extended Profiles component should be left set to Enabled, so that your members can have more detailed profiles attached to their accounts.
Profile Field Setup
Skip the Forums Setup screen for now, and instead click on Profile Field Setup. On this screen, there are three actions that you can take. You can add additional field groups, add new fields, and then choose the location for each of these fields within their group.
At present, your installation of BuddyPress has one default field placed within one default field group which now bears the name that it was given when you changed it from Base on the BuddyPress Settings screen. Any fields located in this default field group will appear on the signup screen under the heading of Profile Details.
This field group also appears on the screen that your users see when they go to edit their profile.
Any additional field groups that you add will only be visible to users when they wish to edit their profile. As things stand, your users will have a profile that consists of nothing more than their name. Since that doesn’t make for much of a profile you need to add some additional field groups and fields. With the addition of these new groups and fields, it will be possible for your members to build a robust profile page.