10+ BuddyPress Plugins for Enhanced Social Networking Experience

Posted by Harshad

10+ BuddyPress Plugins for Enhanced Social Networking Experience

10+ BuddyPress Plugins for Enhanced Social Networking Experience

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

BuddyPress is a plugin that lets you create your own social network on top of the very popular WordPress platform. You can extend functionalities via BuddyPress to provide social networking features such as discussion forums for your visitors, private messaging and a whole lot more. Check out this post to get a beginner’s look at how get started on BuddyPress.

It’s a great tool for beginners, but its social and networking features may not be enough for many of us as we may have specific needs and wants for our respective websites. This brings the need for plugins, which can extend the functionality of BuddyPress such as for deeper user engagement or helping to turn your content viral.

Below are some must-have plugins for BuddyPress, which can help to improve your website’s networking features. Most of these plugins are fully compatible with newer versions of WordPress and BuddyPress.

1. WangGuard

WangGuard protects from registrations by sploggers and spam users by collecting and storing data on websites it operates on into a centralized database. With every new registration, it checkes the new user’s dara in the database to clear it of suspicions, and protect the site from fake or spam registration.

2. WordPress Social Login

WordPress Social Login lets your visitors login and comment on your networking website using any of their accounts from 28 social networks and services. It also allow users to access the site via restrictions and filters. The plugin improves user interaction on your website and allows visitors to easily become members.

3. SeoPress

As the name suggests, SeoPress is a plugin to optimize your BuddyPress-powered social networking website for search engines. It even supports optimizing your posts or pages for Facebook. There are optimization options for page types and even special tags for easy configuration.

4. BuddyPress Social

BuddyPress Social brings social engagement features to your networking website. BuddyPress Social adds sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email to all your social community’s activities. This makes it easier for users to share the site’s content through other social networks, hence helping to share and promote your website.

5. BuddyPress Activity Plus

BuddyPress Activity Plus allows users to easily attach and embed pictures, videos, and links directly from the activity stream. It gives your site the same power and ease as Facebook, when it comes to uploading and sharing pictures and videos.

6. BuddyStream

BuddyStream gives you and your network users the option of adding and synchronizing their activity streams from other social networks on your networking website. BuddyStream supports integration with multiple social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Last.fm. You can get user statistics and filtering options using the plugin’s admin panel.

7. BuddyPress Activity Privacy

BuddyPress Activity Privacy allows your network users to choose a privacy level for their activity posts. This improves privacy of their activities and status posts. BuddyPress Activity Privacy adds the ability for various privacy levels for instance anyone, logged-in users, friends, admins only, and group members.

8. Membership

Membership lets you provide your content in two divisionsfree content for all visitors and premium content for those who are members. It is easy to set up and operate and you get to determine what falls under premium content. You can control access to nearly all content on your social website such as, downloads, pages, posts, comments, galleries, and any other content via shortcodes.

9. Achievements

Achievements allows you to gamify your social network with challenges, badges, and points. which can do wonders when it comes to encouraging user participation. Achievements is capable of tracking user progress when installed with any standard WordPress theme. Users can get points and badges for doing any task from simply signing up to joining groups.

10. Quick Chat

Quick Chat is a self-hosted chat solution for your social network. It provides support for private chats, chat rooms, avatars, user lists and smilies among other things. On top of that, it has various chat capabilities such as limiting the message size, banning participants using their IP address, and letting registered users reserve chat names and plenty more.

11. BuddyPress Groups Extras

BuddyPress Groups Extras enhances the group functionality of BuddyPress. It lets you add default extra content (pages) for groups for any purpose, such as descriptions, group rules, FAQs, wikis, events, etc. It also lets you add custom fields using various types with options such as radios, checkboxes, and dropdowns amongst others.

12. BuddyPress Avatar Bubble

BuddyPress Avatar Bubble lets you show hover cards on user avatars. BuddyPress Avatar Bubble shows a bubble of user’s information, when the avatar is moused over or clicked by someone. Site admin can control what information is shown about the user on the hover bubbles.

13. BuddyPress Groupblog

BuddyPress Groupblog allows your site’s users to have a blog for each group. Group members are automatically added as the blog members, with roles as given by the group administrator. Not only does it help with user engagement, but your site gets more content too.

14. BuddyPress Links

BuddyPress Links give your members the ability to easily share links and rich content like images and videos. Publicly shared links are shown in a central directory, where users can filter, vote, and comment on the links. BuddyPress Links offers admins with options to manage links, link categories, and widgets. Users can create and manage links, add links to categories, upload image avatars (thumbnails) for links, vote and comment on other’s links.


Why You May be Better As an Employee than a Manager

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Whilst working in the finance sector, I came across plenty of highly talented individuals who were brilliant employees. They performed, delivered results and did highly acclaimed jobs in their projects. Some of them were even touted as the next manager or leader in the company. In fact, few even went on to become leaders and bosses in their respective fields.

Yet, surprisingly, many of these exceptional employees fail to become brilliant bosses even when they have reached the throne. I looked into this strange phenomenon to figure out why this happened.

There are actually a few reasons behind why some of us are better as an employee than as a manager. If you find yourself not performing as good as you should be once you reached management level, take a look at these signs to help you figure out what is wrong.

You are selfish

You are better suited as an employee than as a boss if you are selfish. If you don’t have enough enthusiasm or interest to worry about your colleagues or your subordinates, or if you don’t have the desire to be proactive about what is diminishing the performance of people you work with, you’re not managerial material.

Potential managers don’t just finish their own work, they help others complete their tasks as well. I see this in a colleague of mine who was remarkably gifted in completed his own tasks yet takes the time to ask others on what difficulties they faced, sometimes offering help, to get their job done.

He eventually went on to become a successful boss in a different company, simply because he felt for others and considered other’s tasks as his own. If this doesn’t sound like you, forget about becoming a manager.

You Can’t tolerate other’s nonsense

You are better suited as an employee than as a boss if you have low tolerance for other people’s nonsense. Let me explain. You may find yourself working with a large group of people with many funny quirks and personalities, some good and fun, some bad and a plain nuisance. For the latter, what you want to do is to stay far, far away from them. That is okay if you are an employee.

But as a manager, you can’t avoid dealing with these sort of people. Even if you are tempted to punch them in the face, you have to keep yourself in check and tolerate their nonsense because they are there to work and you are there to make sure they deliver, with or without their nonsense.

You can’t run from your staff problems. In fact, you have to face them headlong and if you are a great manager, you can turn something terrible around and squeeze all the goodness out of them. Being a manager is sometimes a tough task, and highly compensated financially, simply because you have to do things you don’t want to.

Do you have listening skills?

Everyone loves to talk, but many experts have advise that if you want to be a manager, listening skills is an important skill to have as well. Many managers love to talk during interviews, meetings, presentations, sales pitches etc. Sometimes they never stop or allow others to do the talking instead. Employees are expected to talk, to sell their personal brand, to show that they are delivering the results required of them. They can never stop talking.

Good managers, though, are good listeners. They listen to their employees, bosses and clients, and pay attention to their grievances. They hear out the problems of the employees, try to read between the lines of what the boss’s requirements of the year is, and try to read their company clients for any signs of fishy business. All for the good of the company.

This also requires a lot of patience and problem-solving skills after amassing data from all quarters and figuring out the best next move for the team and/or company.

If you can’t read others

Like what was mentioned above, the ability to read others is a skill and crucial strength to have for a manager. A manager has to be able to read his employees, in order to efficiently manage them. Reading people helps you understand their mindset, their tastes and attitude. It also helps you determine which approach to use when trying to get them to perform better.

If a manager is able to read his employees like a book, he is more likely to be able to keep them under control. But it is a skill that takes tons of personal experience in dealing with past problematic employees. Human nature is harder to predict than statistical data. Are you up for it?

What if you are an introvert?

In my opinion, introverts are not made to be managers. A person who is too shy or afraid to speak his/her mind is going to let people walk all over them. If your managerial skills or leadership is challenged frequently, there is a chance you may lose the respect of others in the team. To have a manager lead a team that doesn’t respect his or her authority, is a recipe to a chaotic office atmosphere.

Managers may not need to be extroverts, but they have to be able to exercise greater control on day-to-day affairs in the office. They have to come in to lead, to manage, or to deal with problems with courage, understanding and well-planned strategies. That said, not all things are rosy for the manager.

If you dread facing criticism

Some days will be better than others when you are a manager and during the worse days, criticism will creep in slowly but surely. It is hard to keep everyone happy. If you rule with a tight-fist and deliver results, your subordinates may not like you as much as your boss does. If you let your team members flourish in their work but fail to deliver the ROI required, then you’re still in hot soup.

However, the most important thing about dealing with criticism ishow you deal with criticism. Do you stick with your decision and let time show the company that you are right?

Or do you shrink from your original plan and take the safer route? Do you shy away from criticism and controversy to ensure that you and your team deliver conservative results year in, year out, or do you pump courage into your team to band together and weather the storm?

As an employee, you would love to have a manager who knows what he is doing, clearly. As a manager, there is no such safety net – you are the safety net.


Managers need to be made of hardened steel because they are accountable for everyone working at the office. It is a highly stressful and challenging job. You have to answer to a lot of things, some of them, beyond your control or your reach. And you will need to create strategies on the fly to fend off the incoming threat.

For many, a managers’ chair may be the ultimate goal but do consider the alternative. To live your dream job, you don’t necessarily have to be a manager.

If all you want to do is just that, your job, and dealing with the nasty side of people, company objectives, and keeping people happy is secondary or the total opposite of what you actually want to do with your life, then I promise you that you will be happier staying a non-managerial employee.


How Roleplaying As A Plumber Can Improve Your Freelance Business

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

Ever hear the phrase ‘starving artist’? Given the current state of the freelance design world – especially among less experienced designers – it should probably be ‘starving designer’ instead. Why? Because there is no professional artist, alive or dead, who is going to give their work away for free, or allow payment to be deferred indefinitely.

Designers, on the other hand, are often eager to create valuable work for shady clients with no guarantee of payment. Today, we’ll explore how a simple roleplaying exercise can help cure you of this malady, and ensures that you get paid on time, every time.

The Obvious First Step

First, the obligatory essentials. I don’t write often about contracts because every freelance designer should already be using one. If you don’t use a contract for every new design project you take on, I’m sorry, but you’re basically asking to be screwed over.

The contract doesn’t just protect you from shady clients who want to take advantage of you – it also protects good clients, who make honest mistakes, from unknowingly costing you time and money. Clients are only human, but a contract helps keep people on track much more often.

Passion For A Price

Okay, so on to the exercise. Imagine you’re a plumber. Get a good visual going – perhaps you look like Super Mario. I don’t know – this is your scenario! Anyway, one day you’re approached by a client who wants you to do a complicated repair job. The price they’re willing to pay? Nothing. This client wants you to do several hours of plumbing work absolutely free.

Would you do it? Furthermore, how do you think other plumbers would feel if they heard that you said yes to these terms? Would they say “Well, at least you’ve got some good experience you can show to your next client?”

Of course not. They’d lambast you and call you a moron for getting taken advantage of. Yet somehow, when a designer does the same thing, it’s overlooked as something acceptable. Why? Because designers keep allowing it.

Know Your Worth

Designers may have gotten into the industry because they love design, but they also need to make a living. A professional designer knows the importance of a solid design in the pipeline of a business. The difference between a well designed product and one poorly designed can often mean the difference between thousands – sometimes even millions – of dollars of revenue.

Yes, marketing is important, but if it weren’t for strong design, companies like Apple would be obscure, tiny, and non-competitive – if they even existed at all.

You are a very valuable part of your client’s business. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t have bothered hiring you in the first place. Keep in mind that they need you – just like someone with clogged pipes needs a plumber. The value you provide is just as important in its own way.

Stopping Delays In Their Tracks

Many times, a client who is withholding payment is not intending to be malicious. As Mike Monteiro reminds us in his iconic 2011 presentation at CreativeMornings in San Francisco, “No client enters into a relationship with you just to be a jerk” (I’m paraphrasing a bit, naturally).

They genuinely needed your design services at some point, and their delay in paying you could simply be a bookkeeping error or some minor oversight on their part.

There are also times where the client feels that you failed to provide a satisfactory result, which is completely fair. Going back to our plumber example, if you went to use your newly fixed toilet, and found that the pipes were now leaky, you’d do everything in your power to withhold payment until that problem was fixed.

Sometimes, it’s a simple communication error between you and your client, which can be fixed with a simple, polite email or phone call.

Practice Your Acting Skills

You can put yourself in the shoes of a plumber, or any other independent contractor, every time you have to deal with a payment issue. By remembering that your client needs a valuable solution to a problem only you can provide, you can maintain the upper hand and make sure you receive the promised compensation.


Export Photoshop Layers Easily With Cut&Slice Me

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

Cutting and slicing in the design process is undoubtedly time-consuming work. Moreover, it becomes more and more complicated when you have to cut and slice hundreds of layers in different scale.

Of course, there are copy merged, export layers to files or slice features in photoshop. But those approaches have not helped much in making the cutting and slicing process faster. What you need is a plugin.

Cut&Slice Me is a Photoshop extension for simplifying the process of cutting and slicing design. You can then export your layers for iPhone, Android or Desktop devices. The exported files come with various scales and resolutions as well, such as retina for iPhone or HDPI, LDPI, MDPI and XHDPI for Android.

Cut&Slice Me Installation

To use the Cut&Slice Me plugin, you need at least Adobe Photoshop CS6/CC installed on your machine. Download the plugin (and the sample PSD file that we’ll be working on later).

Once your download has finished, double click the CutAndSliceMe.zxp file and installation will automatically begin by Adobe Extension Manager. Follow the instructions and restart your Photoshop if it was already open.

To make the plugin visible in your Photoshop right panel, simply go to Window > Extensions > Cut and Slice me.

Getting Started

Cut&Slice Me is easy to use but you have to do a bit of work first to make sure the plugin works efficiently during cutting and slicing.

First, you have to organize your layer objects into folders as Cut&Slice Me checks only group names. You also need to add the “@” symbol at the end of the layer group name you want to export.

Slicing Defined Size

All unnecessary transparent pixels are removed in the exporting process. To keep the exported file in yrou desired size:

1. Make sure you have checked the ‘Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid’ setting in Edit > Preferences > General.

2. Then, create a rectangular vector layer for the size you want.

3. Place this shape at the very top of the group, so it will tell the plugin the area size you wish to export in. Lastly, name the shape “#”.

Image source: Cut&Slice Me Basic Tutorial

Different State Asset

When dealing with buttons, which often has different states, you can use a special method.

1. In exporting a button, create a new layer group for the button and include a “_BTN” label in its name.

2. Inside the group button, create another group containing button states and name them according to the states. The group state names should be as follows:

  • normal
  • hover
  • clicked/pressed
  • selected
  • disabled

Aside from buttons, this rule can also be applied for other elements that may have different states, like the following screenshot.

Using Cut&Slice Me

Now let’s look at how Cut@Slice Me can help you with your designs. As mentioned earlier, we’ll be using the sample PSD design file from the Cut&Slice Me homepage.

As mentioned before, currently Cut&Slice Me lets you export to iPhone, Android and Web. You can choose to slice all assets, subgroups or selected layers. Slice and export the sample design to iPhone.

After the exporting process is finished, you will find the result files are located in the original PSD file location (see image).

So far, I assume you have a solid understanding about how the plugin works already. So, let’s try using the plugin with another design.

Using Webpaint template from Elemis Freebies, you’ll see how to set up the plugin rules from scratch.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll only use half of the design for exporting. The following screenshot is a comparison of how the layers are structured before and after they are ready for use.

On the left (in red) are the original layers. After rearranging and renaming the layers’ states, we arrive at what is on the right (in blue).

As the design template will be used for the web, in the plugin panel, choose the device mode for desktop (monitor icon). Hit Cut All assets.

Now, the defined asset had been sliced successfully, like so.

Note that, if you are slicing your own design, you need to have it in the highest resolution since final images are for xhdpi in Android and retina in Apple devices. This plugin carries out the full resolution of the design then scales it down for export into different sizes.


No time is wasted when you cut and slice using this Photoshop plugin. With a little bit more discipline in layer organization, even complex designs can be sliced with precision and ease.



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