Although there are a ton of WordPress Themes out there, the sad reality is that very few cover all needs out of the box. If you’re going to be making a site that is focused on providing a forum or social networking community then a lot of extra work can be taken off your back by looking into themes that specialize in supporting those plugins. This list contains my top picks for premium themes based on how well their designs support BuddyPress & BBPress forums.
This theme is rather creative in how it presents everything to the end user. The focus is on creating a social site where users are strongly encouraged to login and to connect with each other using WordPress’s Buddy Press Plugin. The closest thing this theme comes to in design is Crunchyroll which is a very successful anime streaming site. If I were to try to build out a gaming or anime site then the odds are good that I would choose this theme to build around.
Buddy is a very popular BuddyPress theme for good reason. It delivers with a clean look, many out of the box features that utilize BuddyPress, and built in SEO. It’s also designed to support BBPress for those looking for just a forum.
This theme reminds me of a lot of those movie database sites you have out there that also have their own forums like imdb.com. This red flavored theme encourages you to use BuddyPress groups and highlight your biggest ones on the front page. The forums like to make heavy usage of avatars. Overall, it’s a very clean theme that has a very different color scheme than Buddy. Another theme you might want to look at if you’re looking to setup a movie related site is Cinematrix although I don’t personally like it very much.
If you’re looking for a theme that screams sites like Facebook, then this one might be up your alley. If you want to make a social networking site down to the core, then I think this one’s got a theme that reflects that intent very well.
Videos are a huge deal these days. Look at the sheer volume of traffic that floods YouTube on a daily basis. If you were hoping to get a piece of that Video traffic pie, then Viduze is a very solid theme for that. It presents videos in a compelling manner and integrates right in with BuddyPress. Very unique in it’s niche for social video sharing site themes.
Stand Alone Theme
If you’re looking for a theme that doesn’t even need BuddyPress, or BBPress to provide forum functionality then forum engine is the #1 theme that comes to mind. The theme is built specifically so that your site can fulfill forum functionality similar to dedicated platforms like PHPBB.
Although not in my personal tastes, ReviewIt! is a very popular dark buddy press theme. This theme is aimed at gamers or game site owners that want to have their site focus on reviewing video games. In the end you get a combination of a review theme, and the social networking of BuddyPress in one site theme.