Here is the question, how do we find a good WordPress community theme?

Communities are everywhere.

Online, offline. Connected, not connected.

But here is the thing. You want your community to be engaged.

You don’t want it to shade off on the side.

How to go about it?

You can build Facebook Groups, Messenger or Slack communities.

But you can also create a fully-fledged online application with more features than the usual posts/comments.

And lucky you, WordPress makes it easy to build such an application. You can find WordPress community themes that will help you spin up your application in a matter of minutes.

What is a WordPress Community Theme?

First, let’s get down to the basics: a definition.

What is a WordPress community theme?

According to the codex, here is the definition of a WordPress theme.

“A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php). For an introduction to template files, see Stepping Into Templates.”

There are very generic themes, that doesn’t focus on one specific thing. Great examples are Avada or Stack.

Avada WordPress theme

But there are also more specific themes that serve a specific niche or purpose.

Community themes are such an example. They have different features, integrations, and a design that fits online communities.

Most importantly, they work with the usual WordPress community plugins, the main one being BuddyPress.

Good.

We know how to go about creating a quick and effective community.

By fostering your community on a familiar platform such as WordPress you make it easy to start, but also easy to evolve and tailor. In fact, WordPress is powering more than 30% of the web. Think up… there are tons of proficient developers out there.

The beauty? You keep and own your data. Everything is stored under your hood.

Moving on the choice of our WordPress template.  

How To Choose The Right WordPress Theme for Your Community?

Here are a few features you’ll be looking for in your WordPress theme when making the call for it.

Design and Interface

First thing first. How attractive and modern the theme is?

Do you remember this old page from Facebook?

Lucky me, I don’t.

Either way, I’d be reluctant to use such a design.

Okay, I’m going too far, exaggerating. But you get the point.

The design is timely, it was likely good for the time. But not good for today.

So we want anything but something similar to this.

Facebook in 2004

We want an attractive design that gives us the willpower. Something we want to use.

Something we feel easy to play with. We don’t have to mock around for 20 minutes before finding what we want.

Where does the theme lands on this scale? (Interaction-Design.org)
Where does the theme lands on this scale? (Interaction-Design.org)

Pro tip: make sure to check the design on your laptop, but also on tablets and smartphones. You absolutely want the theme to be responsive.

Last, but not least, make sure that the theme loads fast. You don’t want the page to hang for 2 minutes before displaying what it’s supposed to.

Social and Members-Related Features

We have an easy-to-use application.

But we still haven’t checked through our core features.

We want to make a collaborative intranet/community site where our members can thrive.

We want to bring together, at the least, the following features:

  • Social networking: whether we are talking about user profiles, activity posting, or any other social networking feature. It’s a must to have some of those basics
  • Messaging: being able to communicate with other members privately, or using group chat is required as well. We want the chat to be efficient, secure, supporting files and text formatting.
  • Forums: debating, contributing, asking public questions; these are all must-have features of our community theme.
  • Events management: sharing the next community event must be as easy as logging in! That’d be even better if our theme would support integrations with the major Calendar players (Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook).
  • File sharing: we would also want to be able to share files in private and public. This must be powerful enough to support different folders, so we can truly manage the files.

Then, if we have e-commerce and even e-learning capabilities, that’d be the icing on the cake.

LearnDash is one of the most prominent Learning Management System for WordPress.

Learndash for WordPress community

Before we dive into the comparison of the best themes out there. Let’s clear up any confusion and clarify the difference between a social network solution, and a fully-featured community theme.

Social Network Themes for WordPress vs Community Theme vs Intranet Theme

As they sound, social network themes are focused on the interaction online. Networking online.

They usually use the famous BuddyPress plugin under the hood and add their layer on top of it to make the social interaction more attractive.  

BuddyPress is a free plugin that helps you build any kind of community website using WordPress, with member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more.

BuddyPress WordPress Community Plugin

Some of the common features include chat, groups, file sharing, commenting and posting. Think of it as a Facebook built using WordPress.

On the other hand, community theme goes one step further and provide specific features meant at driving community engagement and interaction. Some examples include event management, member map, and member research tool, matchmaking, and much more.

Lastly, the intranet themes are meant at providing a business-oriented solution for organizations and teams to collaborate effectively. They not only offer social features but also all the business-related requirements to run an efficient project and team – such as project management, knowledge base, HR, etc.

WordPress Community Themes Compared

To wrap things up, we will be looking at the best community WordPress themes and look at how they compare.

Thrive WordPress Theme

The first item on our list is Thrive.

It powers “everything you need to build a powerful intranet, extranet, and community”.

Thrive is rated 4.38 based on 137 ratings, has been available since September 2015 and counts ~4K sales.

Woffice WordPress Theme

The next one on our list is Woffice.io. It’s an all-in-one intranet and extranet theme, which means that it not only provide you with all the features mentioned above for community building but also much more.

Besides its numerous features, Woffice’ power lays in the design and user interface. The theme has been on the market since 2015 with more than 100 updates to keep it up-to-date

Member dashboard, members map and directory, forums, chats, event management, project management, Slack integration, e-commerce features, and wiki management.

Woffice is rated 4.7 based on 355 ratings, has been available since June 2015 and counts ~9.5K sales.

Woffice - WordPress Community Theme alternative


Besocial WordPress Theme

Have you heard of Besocial? We did.

And we are glad to give you more details.

Besocial is a simple and effective BuddyPress solution. It provides the usual social networking features, plus FAQ system, event management, and a clean design.  

Besocial is rated 4.94 based on 15 ratings, has been available since March 2017 and counts ~550 sales.

BeSocial

Kleo WordPress Theme

The last one on our list is Kleo, a leading BuddyPress theme.

It goes beyond the main community features and can be used for numerous purposes. On their website, I see demos about the Business directory, local community but also landing page, news magazine and restaurant website. Any website that connects with BuddyPress could be interested.

Kleo is rated 4.7 based on 1238 ratings, has been available since February 2014 and counts ~18K sales.

Kleo

Wrap Up

Setting up your online community should be a no-brainer.

The harder part remains on the human and marketing side of thing  ?

I hope this article will help you make the call as to how to approach your online community.

If you have any question or comment, feel free to leave them in the comment below!

If you are like me, you have, at least once, been looking for the perfect collaboration tool for your business.

Did not feel like you could find the right software?

Nor did I.

Which is why I went ahead and made some serious researches to run down the best resources and tools available out there for business to collaborate.

They are all yours today.

Enjoy these collaboration tools, and leave us your feedback.

Free Online Collaboration Tools for Business

As a starter, we will cover the free tools. We are talking about freemium solutions – meaning you can start using the tool for free, and then upgrade as you grow the usage – and entirely free solutions here.

Team Collaboration Tools

Slack is one of the most prominent team collaboration and chat tool out there. Slack is organized in channels and conversations, where you can talk with a set of colleagues/people on specific topics, share files, comment on files, and much more.

As Slack puts it, it is “your hub for teamwork”

Project discussions, important documents, free food announcements: they all live tidily together in Slack. With your team and information in one easily searchable place, collaborating online is as easy as collaborating in person.

The pro version of Slack also offers a meeting solution in order to organize group calls and video conferences with your colleagues.

Slack Preview

Chanty is a great alternative to Slack. It is a freemium AI-powered team chat with unlimited messages for free. Great solution to boost internal communication for startups, small and medium-sized teams.

Chanty Preview

Meeting

Let’s cover the meeting solutions, in order to host and organize meetings with colleagues, partners, and clients.

Appear.in is a great web-based meeting solution.

You can sign up and register your locked room, then share the link with your team and clients.

It’s the easiest meeting solution I have found so far. You can chat, share your screen with a Chrome Extension, invite up to 4 participants for free. And they even have a mobile application.

Appear.in

Livestorm is another great alternative. The main software is a webinar solution but they recently spun off a meeting solution.   

It offers meeting, private rooms, chat and integrations with the webinar solutions. This is a great solution to both uses with your colleagues and (potential) clients.

Livestorm Meet

Design & Document Collaboration Tools

Figma is our first tool on the list of collaboration software. It lets you design, prototype, and collaborate all in the browser.

It is a great alternative to the infinite back-and-forth designer <> project manager loop. You can think of it as a simplified wireframe/design app in your browser with collaboration features, for free.

Figma

FYI is our second software on the list. It is a tool to connect and gather all of your resources into one place, easily find and organize them. It syncs up with GSuite, Slack, Dropbox, and many more professional apps.

FYI brings all of your documents together in one place, no matter what apps or accounts they are in.

FYI preview

Time Management Software

Time Doctor is an accurate time tracking software that provides detailed analytics of where time is spent on the workday.

It helps you stay focused by gently nudging you when you get distracted from work. Time Doctor also provides time tracking, computer work session monitoring, reminders, screenshot recording, invoicing, reporting tools, integrations and so much more.

TimeDoctor

If you are looking for a free alternative, you can look at Toggl.com.

Project Management Softwares

Let’s move on the project management solutions.

Trello. First up, I want to cover what has become one of the landmarks in terms of project management and kanban solution. It is one of the easiest and flexible solutions I have found to manage anything.

You can literally create a board for anything you want, from a website re-design to managing your client and organizing your todo list.

The team liked it. With a strong product and name in hand, the team launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in September 2011 and the app took off from there. By July 2014, Trello spun off from Fog Creek, and the app had over 4.75 million users.

Within the next three years, Trello grew exponentially. In 2017, the company was acquired by Atlassian (famous for creating Jira and Bitbucket) and hit 25 million signups. In other words, Trello increased its user base by 426% in 3 years.

Drift Team
Trello

ClickUp is another up-and-coming contender in the Project Management space.

It offers different views: calendar, kanband, list and even GANTT, with plenty of integrations and ways to manage the tasks. The UX is polished and amazing.

Clickup

Todoist is our last item on the list. As the name implies, the product is focused on organizing your todo-lists. It offers categories, filters, collaboration and calendar integrations.

A must-have for organizing your backlog of things to do.

Todoist

Intranet & All-In-One Premium Collaboration Solutions

The last category of tools we are going to cover is the intranet, or team portal. They help you stay organized and gather the information into one place.

Those are not free, but they are worth it.

Whether you want to keep track of the information with your clients or colleagues, it’s worth having a look.

Let me walk you through two promising solutions.

Woffice.io is the first item on our list. It is an Intranet/Extranet WordPress-based solution. It comes with knowledge base management, member map, and member management, project management, HR features, and many more.

The tool can even go as far as being your online hub for corporate courses and tutorials.

Although you might be afraid of using it since it’s based on WordPress, I’d tell you two things:

  • You only pay once: for the license fee, and you’re good to go
  • You manage the data, and you own the code. Which means that you can completely customize and extend the scope of it.

The installation is a no-brainer, and the administrators will be the only ones to know that the intranet is powered by WordPress under the hood.

Woffice

Confluence is the open and online shared workspace solution from Atlassian.

It enables organizations to collaborate on project planning, meeting notes, documentation, blog posts, and plenty of additional written documents.

Great solution to gather the bits from different places.

Confluence

Collaboration Resources

In order to wrap this article up, we will mention some of the best online and offline resources to  better collaborate and manage your productivity.

Basecamp’s blog is a great place to start. The founders share amazing insights into their day-to-day and how they overcome some of their hurdles.

Docsify also put together a great article mentioning some of the best tools in Marketing and for Agencies. I’d definitely recommend you to have a look.

Productivity Books

I want to mention 2 books.

The first one is Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. It is one of the most insightful book on distraction-free work.

Deep Work Collaboration Resource

Last but not least, Atomic Habits is the must-read book in the productivity space. It gives you actionable steps to build meaningful habits and gain in productivity.

This breakthrough book from James Clear is the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day.

Atome Habits

Wrap Up

I hope this roundup of collaboration tool for business was helpful.

If you are missing any resource or collaboration tool, please feel free to contact us or mention in the comment below!

Like for many things today, you have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing an intranet software that suits your needs. But how to find the best intranet software?

I have already covered the benefits of using an intranet.

Today, I will give you an overview of the different possibilities when it comes to picking an intranet solution.

This means that we will not only cover the different providers, but we will also cover the different types of intranet and extranet.  

Without further ado, let’s get into the core of the matter.

What Are Intranet And Extranet?

An intranet is a private space meant at improving the collaboration within your company.

It usually features a chat system, a knowledge base, a blog section, an employee portal, and some more advanced HR features.

An intranet plays different roles and faces different challenges depending on the size of the company, the type of company and the culture.

To make things simpler, we then split out the intranet into different categories based on their goals and missions.

Intranets become more and more important as companies become more connected and become more remote-friendly.

State of Remote Work by Buffer
State of Remote Work by Buffer

As mentioned by Buffer in the State of Remote Work, there is an upward trend when it comes to letting employees work remotely.

This means that employees need to find new and innovative ways to build employee advocacy and involve them at every stage of the company.

This is where the social intranet software comes in.

What Is a Social Intranet Software?

As simple as it sounds, a social intranet improves the social engagement among the organization.

Think of it as a social network inside the application. It motivates employees to be more productive.

A social intranet is simply an internal-facing web application where employees can easily contribute knowledge and communicate with each other to make work more efficient and effective.

One of the most important features of such intranet is the chatting system. We want employees to help each other.

But more than that, we want them to get to know each other.

Some companies even go as far as organizing virtual meetups every week, month or so.

In order to properly understand the whys of such social intranet, let’s go back to the basics of what does “social” mean.

The terms social refers to the interactions between humans. Social networking is the act of actually building relationships.

We have come a long way since the beginning of social networking. It all started with people networking at the coffee machine. Then, the early days of social media software, and now more advanced social intranet software.

Engaging employees and nudging them to do more than “working” for the company has positives results on the turnover.

But it also springs up the reputation of the company and the attractiveness of the company.

Which is what amount for such intranet:

  • Engagement, connection, and interactions: all employees get to know each other and talk with each other
  • Ownership and authorship: everyone can and is urged to participate in the conversation and contribute in its own way

All of that helps the employees build relationships.

Workplace by Facebook is a great example.

Workplace By Facebook Intranet Software Example

More advanced social intranet software will also include gamification features in order to further empower employees and push them to engage.

It could be the likes of giving points for the number of contributions or challenging employees based on their activity. Axero is a great example.

GamiPress is also a great open-source solution.

What Is an Employee Intranet Portal?

We have seen that social intranets are focused on building relationships among your employees and push them to engage. They make intranet and collaboration more fun.

On the other hand, employee intranets are more standard forms of intranets.

They mainly focus on providing HR functionalities, such as leave requests, expenses accounts, etc.

According to a study by Prescient Digital, while 80% of organizations have had intranets for a while, they were not used at their full potential. Most employees visit their intranet only about once a month and 75 percent use them solely for HR purposes.

The culprit?

The lack of social interaction and the poor User Experience.

Communication and networking must be made easy.

Which is why your intranet should have features from both world.

All-in-all, your intranet should strip out all the useless features and focus on what’s important for your company.

Intranet Features

Some useful intranet features include:

  • Social media features such as comment, like, Q&A, FAQ, tag
  • Content sharing (video, images, resources) and knowledge base
  • Powerful search engine
  • Content collaboration, transparency, and history of collaboration
  • Role management, as well as access management

Do you need more employee engagement? Are your leave requests managed effectively?

Add them to the list of features.

Eventually, focus on this north star: making your employees’ lives easier and better together.

What Is an Extranet?

An extranet is similar but focused on making the communication with the outside smoother. It could range from the communication with the clients to partners and other stakeholders.

We have the covered the basics of intranet portals.

But how do go about booting up your intranet? What is the best way to get it up and running?

Although some companies using an intranet still rely on a custom on-premise intranet, most companies are turning to the cloud today.   

I’ll walk you through the different cloud-based intranet solutions.

Different Cloud-Based Intranet Solutions

A study was conducted by Prescient Digital a few years ago about the different solutions used by companies to power their intranet.

The results are very interesting and suggest that there is no rule-of-thumb when it comes to setting up an intranet.  

What Types of Technology Powers Your Intranet
What Types of Technology Powers Your Intranet

Which makes my study even more interesting.

SaaS Intranets

To start off, let’s talk about the Software as a Service (SaaS) intranet. The SaaS market is rapidly growing and expanding into all types of verticals.

“The global SaaS market has been predicted to expand at a CAGR of 19.9% between 2015 and 2022 and is forecasted to reach $71.2 billion in 2018 – a 21.5% increase from 2017.”

Crozdesk

The intranet is one vertical.

SaaS Intranet Upsides

Cost and ease-of-use

The main benefits of using SaaS rely on the cost and ease of use. You usually don’t need any technical skill to get the intranet up-and-running, which makes the barrier to entry very low.

Performances

They are also hosted by the provider, which means that you don’t have to worry about performances and down-times (provided you choose a good solution ?).

Setting up an on-premise intranet used to take between 6 to 9 months. Your intranet can be ready in 30 minutes using a SaaS software.

No engagement

Finally, the engagement is another aspect. How long will you use this for? You don’t know.

Most SaaS providers offer monthly and yearly plans, which means that you can back out at any time if you decide to change.

SaaS Intranet Downsides

Although you don’t need to worry about performances and hosting, it also comes with its own set of downsides. First, if there is a bump in the usage of the software, you’re likely to feel the pinch and get lower performances.

Then, there is also the lack of flexibility. SaaS providers offer you a ready-made software, more or less customisable.

Which means that if you have very specific requirements or edge-cases, you will either have to splash out, or find a very flexible solution.

The latter is usually less user-friendly and harder to get started with.

SaaS Intranet Providers

I’m now going to cover the best intranet SaaS according to reviews on the Web and usage.

The first one on the list is Workplace By Facebook. It is rated 3.9/5 on G2Crowd with ~800 reviews.

Workplace by Facebook 
Workplace by Facebook 

The second one on our list is Jostle. It is rated 4.3 on G2Crowd with 50 reviews.

Jostle intranet

The last one on my list is Unily. It is an Enterprise solution with lot of flexibility and features.

Unily Intranet

You can find more on Capterra listing page.

Content Management System (CMS) And WordPress Intranets

As mentioned earlier, setting up your own intranet used to be very costly, long and difficult.

But the Content Management Systems and WordPress came into play.

And they make things easier.

The principle behind that is fairly simple. WordPress provides a framework for you to get started with, as well as some templates.

You can then customize them and tailor them to your needs.

WordPress Intranet Upsides

First of all, WordPress intranets are usually way cheaper than SaaS providers. All you need is a server to run WordPress and host your intranet software.

Besides this, you can find a lot of great boilerplates and WordPress Intranet themes to get started with. So you will only need to install and customize!

WordPress codebase will also be in your hand, and so does the WordPress theme files, which means that you can fully customize and extend the scope of your intranet.

WordPress’s directory of 50K+ plugins will also help for extending the scope of your intranet.

WordPress Intranet Upsides
WordPress Intranet Upsides

WordPress Intranet Downsides

It also comes with its set of inconvenient or barriers to entry. The first one being the fact that you will need technical skills in order to get it up and running.

Note that you can easily find WordPress developers for a reasonable cost.

Then, you also need to take care of the maintenance and security of your application, although this is usually taken care of by the community.

There are Open-Source And Free Intranet Softwares. The easier way to bootstrap an intranet for free is to use BuddyPress and build your own layer on top of it.

But there are also premium WordPress solutions that comes with better design and advanced features.

The main WordPress intranet solutions include:

Finally, on our plate are the free and open-source intranet solutions.

They are not that many solutions available out-there.

Wrap Up

Intranet software are the go-to when it comes to increasing team collaboration and team productivity. There are other collaboration tools you can look at, don’t get me wrong, but intranet is this all-in-one solution you can easily start with.

Want to get your intranet up-and-ready in 15 minutes? Check out Woffice, the go-to WordPress solution.

Not sure where to start? Talk to our team.

Successful organizations choose to use an intranet. And there is a reason for that. Intranets offer a tons of benefits.

With the increasing number of applications and providers used, it is important for employees to be able to easily keep track of what’s happening in the organization.

But what is an intranet? How is it different from an extranet? How can it benefit my organization?

Without further ado, let’s get into that.

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I have already explained how to build an intranet and the benefits.

sAn intranet is a great resource for a company, and WordPress can help save time and money. But, above all, if you are not an expert, the most important thing is to use a good WordPress theme specific to an intranet website.

Below, there is a list of WordPress intranet themes that can help you create your intranet website. For now, there are only four of them because it’s not simple to find a good theme created specifically for intranets or extranets.

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