The majority of you are familiar with the way user profiles work in WordPress. It uses a system of Roles with which the owner of the WordPress site can decide how much freedom every user gets on that particular site.
In other words, you can give someone a Subscriber role if you only want them to be able to view your site’s content, while you can give someone else an Administrator role if you want them to be able to control everything to do with the site.
Each user, whatever role he or she has, will have a profile with certain information about that person. It can be just a name and surname or a more detailed profile including photos and links to social network.
However, WordPress default profiles are a bit weak, hence the creation of profile builder plugins. Today we’re going to be having a look at one of these plugins.
It’s the Ultimate Profile Builder by CMSHelpLive.
Ultimate Profile Builder by CMSHelpLive
The Ultimate Profile Builder was built with one purpose in mind: to solve the problem of profiles in WordPress sites. Specifically, ones that are user based.
It does this by creating an advanced profile system that has a better design, offers more features than the default WordPress profiles, and is also as easy as possible to use.
Being a rather new plugin it is doing quite well with over 3,500 downloads to date for the free version.
Speaking of which, Ultimate Profile Builder has two versions. A free version that’s available for download from the WordPress plugin repository, and a Pro version that can be purchased from their site.
The only differences between the two are the extra features available only in the Pro version. Rather than list all the features out myself, you can check out the screenshot below. It shows a side-by-side comparison of the features offered by the free and Pro versions.
Just to mention the main features of Ultimate Profile Builder, it allows you, the site owner, to define custom user roles with any names you wish.
In my case, below I’ll be showing you how I created user roles for a sports club. These are the President, Secretary, Member, Player and Fan. They can be anything you want them to be (as long as the characters are limited to letters and numbers).
It also lets your users register on the site and even upload their own profile pictures. You can even add custom fields that are specific to only certain user roles of your choice.
The profile view on your site will show the image thumbnail, profile snippets as well as user posts contributions. You can display member profiles in either a list or a box view.
The good thing is that all this user activity, including logging in and editing, takes place on your WordPress site’s front-end. This means your users won’t need to go anywhere near your dashboard area.
So, let’s set it up
Upon installation and activation you will find Ultimate Profile Builder in your WordPress dashboard’s sidebar. Click here and you can start configuring the plugin.
The first page you’re taken to is the Shortcodes tab. From here you’re given a basic explanation of what Ultimate profile Builder does and you’re shown all the shortcodes you can use on your WordPress site.
They range from a simple log-in form to role-specific user profile lists. Just paste this code on any page you’d like and the plugin does the rest.
Next up is the Personalization tab. This is where you start to modify the looks of the plugin on the front-end. You can select a colour scheme of your choice; whatever matches your site, and you can even add custom text for your Registration Page.
Below those options are the Email Welcome Subject and Message. When a new user registers on your WordPress site an email will be sent to them. The subject and message in this email can be set by you from right here within your dashboard.
Following that is the Admin Bar tab. This is where you can change the visibility options of each role on your site using a simple toggle tool.
After that is the Visibility tab where you choose which profile fields and third party plugin integrations will be visible. You can change the visibility option by just clicking on the Toggle Visibility option.
Lastly you have the black Options tab where you can set your general settings.
Among these settings are the ability to use auto generated passwords for new users, the ability to make the profile images black and white (perhaps it fits more into your site’s colour scheme), and more.
Once again it’s up to you and how you want your site’s registration process to look and feel.
The front-end equivalent of all these settings, once set up as you wish, will look something like the screenshots in the gallery below. All I did was register a couple of other users and use a page for each need; registering, logging in, viewing your own profile and listing all the members.
As you can see, even with minimal effort, it all functions very well. All the shortcodes are working, all the pages are showing, new users can register; everything is in order with barely any effort.
Support & Documentation
The only guide I found as to how to set up the plugin was this PDF. Unfortunately it seems it’s for the previous version of the plugin and some things have changed in the new version.
Comprehensive support, however, is available through their ticketing help-desk. It handles any issues arising after installation or if you need customizations.
What does it cost?
As I said earlier, there are free and Pro versions to this plugin. The free version is found in the WordPress Plugin Repository.
The Pro version is available for purchase for $49.95; a relatively similar price to that of its competitors.
Well, so far the plugin has some mixed reviews (from the few there are). Since it’s still in it’s early stages and continuously being developed further, this is expected.
Minor bugs will always be found with new plugins but the developers seem to be working hard to fix them all, fast. That always bodes well for the future of a plugin, and Ultimate Profile Builder’s future looks good.
The plugin works well, it looks great, it’s easy to use and quick to set up. The features on offer certainly give you more freedom and capabilities when it comes to user profiles.
It’s definitely worth a go with the free version, and if you really end up liking it, which I won’t be surprised if you do, you can go ahead and buy it.
Has anyone out there used this plugin yet or any other similar ones? What were your thoughts? Get in touch in the comments below.
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