Before we do anything else, we want to get our site ready to take the forum and there are a couple of things we want to do. One of them is to create the page that the forum is going to reside on and the other one is to make sure we have the custom user role set up that we’re going to use to control it.
There are a variety of tools for creating these custom user roles and you may already have a membership site where your user roles are already set up and if they are that’s fine but I’m going to do that now.
Add the Forum Page
But the very first thing we’re going to do is to create the forum page. It’s simple, just go to Add New Page. If you name it “Forum” then the plugin is going to automatically identify it. If you don’t name it “Forum” then you have to go find the page.
There are a variety of names you might use such as “Support” or “Community”. It doesn’t really matter what you name it. I’m going to call it “Class Forum” so that you can see how to handle it.
Add Forum to a Page Without a Sidebar
My opinion is that it’s best used on a page that doesn’t have a sidebar. If you’re a Genesis user then you’ve got a little thing down here where you can use the No Sidebar layout.
As a Thesis user you may have to create your own No Sidebars template if you don’t already have one. If you’re using one of my skins then you can choose the No Sidebars template and that will do the job.
So, you create the page for the forum and then set it to be full width for the best use.
Create User Roles Using User Role Editor Plugin
Then what you want to do is install a plugin that will allow you to create the user roles. I’m going to say Add New and the one I like is User Role Editor. This is it right here. Install it, activate it and now under Users you’ve got this menu item called User Role Editor I’m just going to click on it.
Add New Roles
I’m going to set this up for two courses at the moment. So, first I’m going to create a new role. Hit Add Role and this role is going to be for members of the Professional Thesis Skin Development class.
Actually, the name needs to be all lowercase and no spaces so for this one it’ll be ptsd_student but for the display name I’ll have it as Professional Thesis Skin Development.
Because this is just being used to control access I’m going to make it a copy of Subscriber. Add that role and then I’m going to do one more and we’ll call it bootcamp_student. This will be for the Beginning Web Design Bootcamp class and that one will also be based on the subscriber role. Add that role.
Assign User Roles
I have a couple of users that I’ve already set up for this demonstration. Let’s go to my Users and I’m going to move Laura from Subscriber to Beginning Web Design Bootcamp and I’m going to assign the other role to Joe Blow for the Thesis Skin Development.
Uncheck “Anyone can Register”
It’s important to note that here under Settings General you want to set this so that “Anyone can register” is not checked. You don’t want that so make sure that is not checked. If that is checked then what automatically happens is that Simple:Press will be set up automatically to take registrations and we don’t want that.
You want to mark that as no and then use your membership system or whatever system you’re using to create the users.