Would you like to create a forum on your WordPress site? It can be a really useful tool that will bring visitors to your site, keep your site updated and make your visitors return frequently to follow the ongoing discussions in the forums.
To create a forum sounds like a very hard thing to do, and it is. Luckily there are quite a lot of forum plugins made for WordPress users, which will make it able to get and implement a proffessional looking forum to your website. Here I will just mention some forums that are easily created and easy to use for WordPress users.
I have used this myself quite a lot of times and it is very easy to use and easy to setup. Simply search for the plugin from your Admin interface in WordPress, download and activate, and you are ready to go! Now add a bbPress widget to your sidebar, add a link to your forum from the WordPress menu and you are ready to go. This forum gives you quite big freedom and it has been translated to tons of languages, so you can easily get it in your own language.
The standard bbPress package is very usable in itself, but if you desire to get some more functions, add avatars to user profiles and so on, then there are lots of plugins available, so just search around and you should be able to make bbPress get all the functions that you need!
Some people might find BBPress a bit advanced and there are quite a lot of settings to get right before it all functions the way you want to. Tal.ki is much easier and there are actual no settings at all for you to change. Simple activate the plugin and if you have a menu that is based on your pages in WordPress, the forum will automatically be added. If you have a custom menu, simply add the forum site to your menu, and the Tal.ki WordPress forum should be working right away. It is very easy to use, let people join using their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media profiles. The minus is that it is not 100% free, meaning that you can use it for free for quite a while, but once it gets busy, you will probably need to update to get more forums and show all topics and replies.
The Tal.ki forums run on a separate server, but is „embedded” onto your blog. Most people will not notice, but if you take a look at the different urls used inside the forum, you will probably see this fact.
WP Forum Server
This is a very popular and easy working WordPress forum. It is closely integrated to WordPress and easy to administer. The forum uses gravatars, meaning pictures based on their email address, which is quite boring compared to for example Tal.ki which easily lets you upload an avatar after installation. This forum is completely free and has quite a lot of supportive plugins, making it easy to show latest posts from the forums in widgets. Another great thing is that WP Forum Server has different skins included upon installation, making it easy to choose between some different color and style combinations.
A pro version of the WP Forum Server is around and the biggest different with this is that it gives you SEO friendly urls, something that is basic if you use bbPress.
These were three easy to use and setup forums for WordPress. If you are in a really hurry and want things to work perfectly within seconds, you should probably use WP Forum Server or Tal.ki. If you want a more advanced forum with lots of extra plugins available and options possible to change, then BBPress is great, but WP Forum Server could also fit into this description.
Good luck and keep the discussion going!