BlogHelper’s Integrating a Forum with WordPress offers great step-by-step instructions on adding a Forum to your WordPress blog.
The instructions include how to integrate Simple Machines Forum (SMF), Vanilla, bbPress, phpBB, and PunBB forum software into WordPress, as well as a few WordPress Plugins to help you make the job easier.
BlogHelper has even included instructions on how to showcase the latest forum posts within your WordPress blog, further connecting the two parts.
A lot of bloggers are now thinking “I have a blog, now I need my own chat!” That’s great and adding a discussion forum to your blog is exciting, increasing the communication and interaction. But remember, forums take time. You have to monitor them all the time, you have to respond to questions and answers to make sure they are right and not out of control, and you have to babysit them. Consider well how much time you want to put into your blog before adding one.
Also consider the content you will allow on your forum. Set up some rules, guidelines, and policies on how everyone is to behave and what is allowed and not allowed. Then have some fun with this!
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network