As a kid my “Social Network” mostly consisted of “the Outside World”. This quirk has pretty much remained the same even today. I would any day prefer connecting with someone in person than through a virtual medium.
Having said that, I also realize the importance of Social Media in the 21st century. More so as a Marketer. Social networking websites have slowly translated to becoming a necessity from being an option.
So how would it be to have the best of both worlds in one go? Sounds good?
It definitely does to me! In fact, I know several people who would like to have a good mix of online and offline interaction. That’s where a Meetup Based Event Website on WordPress comes in and that’s exactly what I will be discussing about in my post today.
What is a Meetup Based Event Website?
First things first. It’s important to understand what a meetup based event website would comprise of. The primary idea that such a system would follow would be to initially connect like minded people online through various niche groups and then follow it up with offline events organized using the system. However, you should not mistake it for an event listing website.
This system is much more than an event listings website.
Apart from listing events that will be organized offline, it allows individuals to connect with other like-minded individuals by joining groups of interest. Also, members of a group can connect with each other online through group discussions and private messages.
Interestingly enough though there aren’t many websites apart from meetup.com that allow similar functionalities and that’s what makes a meetup based event website a promising business opportunity.
Why Users will be Interested in a Meetup Based Event Website?
- It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals, make new friends and spend time participating in activities of interest.
- It’s often a great way of meeting potential business associates, partner or clients.
- A meetup based event website is a good place to build your knowledge in niche areas without investing much in terms of money.
Plugins You’ll Need to Build a Meetup Based Event Website?
There are three primary functionalities pertaining to the meetup based event website. The first would be a user’s ability to create groups for a particular niche. People interested in a particular type of niche can join any available groups. The second would be to provide a group’s admin the ability to create events that will be organized offline. Lastly, the system would require a feature to display a calendar for all the events.
To fulfill these requirements, the following three plugins will be required.
- Event Espresso
- Events Calendar for Event Espresso
Creating Groups with BuddyPress
The groups for the meetup website can be achieved using BuddyPress, a free social networking plugin available for download on wordpress.org. While the plugin has a host of features, let’s take a look at the features that will be useful for the meetup website requirement.
1. Group Creation
The most obvious feature useful in this context is that of group creation. This feature can be used to create a group of choice. For example, you can create a group for Amateur Photographers using this feature. A group can be made public, private or hidden based on your requirement. You can also choose which group members can send invitations to others.
Users will get notifications of relevant activities in their toolbar with this feature. This will be especially important to get notifications of events that are organized in a particular group of which the user is a part.
3. Activity Streams
Just like Facebook and Twitter, the activity streams features gives constant feeds about the latest discussions and activities of other group members. While not a very important feature, it could come in handy for discussions about upcoming events.
Adding Events with Event Espresso
- The next step would be to create events that group members can sign up for. The listed events will primarily be organized offline but not necessarily. Creation of events on the meetup based event website can be done with Event Espresso.
- Event Espresso is an event listings plugin in WordPress with a substantial list of features and add-ons to go with it. Due to its scalable nature it is one of the most popular event based plugin in WordPress.
- At this juncture, we would require an option using which an admin can create an event and assign groups created in BuddyPress to these events.
- While Event Espresso provides an option to create an event, it has not been integrated with BuddyPress hence to be able to associate events with groups a bit of customization would be required to display BuddyPress groups in a meta box on the events page at the back end.
- When an event is saved or published the groups associated with the event will be saved as event meta.
- On the events page, a check will be made to see if a particular logged in member is a member of groups associated with the event. Based on this the registration page will be displayed to the end user.
Displaying Events with Events Calendar Add-on for Event Espresso
While the last step in this process is simple in terms of implementation it is an important one as it serves as a reference guide for events and will be used by group members. The Event Calendar add-on for Event Espresso can be used to display the calendar of events to group members. Such a calendar would make it easier for members to go through and register for upcoming events.
So that was about the what, why, and how of a meetup based event website. In this post, I have highlighted the main points pertaining to the meetup system. Read our post on integration of BuddyPress and Event Espresso if you have liked the idea and are interested in the implementation of the website.
Images by freepik