If you’ve been using SMF for years just like me, the mods listed in this post may not be of use to you since you’re probably using them already. However, it you just installed a Simple Machines forum and wondering how to get started and which mods to install to get the best out of your forum, this post should be of help. Unlike vBulletin, SMF is totally free like WordPress and of course, there are tons of mods available to modify your forum, customize it to your taste and even increase the functionality.
I use just a few mods on 9jaclub.com, I think it’s all about twenty or so. I’m not the type that install mods or plugin just for the fun of it, I only install what i really need. Based on the years I’ve spent tweaking SMF, I can recommend the following plugins for your forum:
I was using All in One SEO on this blog sometimes ago and I thought then there should be something similar that’s gonna work for Simple Machimes Forum. I came across Optimus Brave and it did exactly what I wanted. This mod, with the settings rightly done, takes care of your on-page search engine optimization. You can set your meta description for topics, general keywords, what you want the title to look like among other things.
This mod makes your SMF behave like a WordPress blog where you can add widgets easily. With SimplePortal, you can create blocks, giving your web forum a custom layout. These blocks can even add some functions such as shoutbox, board news, articles and much more. You can also easily add custom HTML or PHP codes with this cool mod.
This mod reduces your bounce rate as it suggests related topics to your users, making them stay longer on your forum.
4. bXk WapMod
SMF default mobile version looks rather too crude for my liking but this mod changes that. It creates a very functional mobile version of your forum and if you’re quite good with PHP, HTML and CSS, there’s a lot that can be accomplished with this mod. It comes bundled with some basic mobile themes. You can customize it further and insert mobile ads by checking this post.
If you love perfection, you shouldn’t be content with the way SMF leaves some of your users without avatars. At least, there should be a default avatar shown when a user is yet to upload one. This plugin takes care of that and it lets you define different, custom default avatars for both male and female users.
Just as the name suggests, this mod lets you integrate a download portal with your SMF installation. To make your forum even more social, making this work with SMF shop can be fun for your users uploading and downloading files for credits.
This cool mod allows you to have a picture gallery integrated with your forum. Of course, you can categorize the pictures and have them organized in folders.
I receive a lot of private messages on my web forum and I had to search for an auto responder that’s going to send a predefined message each time someone sends me a message. This mod does that and it’s enabled for every member who cares to use it. Each user sets his/her own auto response.
This mod allows you to add Google Adsense, Adbrite, Addynamo, Chitika or any other ads to your forum easily. You can choose exactly where you want the advert to appear from the settings page.
10. Registered Links
Want to force guests to register? This mod should help in that regard because it won’t let guests see links within posts, prompting them to register. It’s also good for other reasons as you won’t want search engines to follow certain links appearing in your forum.
12. SMF Shop
This modification has a lot of features that;s definitely going to make your forum more social and interesting. Users can post topics to gain ‘money’ and use the accunulated credit to purchase stuffs such as username change, display name change, karma and so on.
This does just one thing— sending locked topics to the very bottom, making your forum neater and better organized.
As the name suggests, you can increase the number of items displayed in RSS feeds from the regular five shown and also, you can increase the number of posts shown in WAP2.
15. SA Facebook
This is the only Facebook integration mod you will ever need as it has almost everything. From Facebook comments, Facebook registration down to Facebook likes, this plugin has it all and it fully integrates your web forum with Facebook.