Vanilla Forums has a plugin for Wordpress to help you integrate your Wordpress blog with a forum. Why would you do this? Because your readers need to have something to do after reading your great content and comments just aren't enough. Comments are linear, whereas when you talk to your friends about a great movie, the conversation likes to go on tangents. A forum allows you to create new discussion threads around those topics and keep the conversation going on a number of fronts, long after the original content piece has been buried off of your home page.
So what does the Wordpress Forum Plugin do? Well, for one thing, it allows you to integrate your member database between your forum and blog, using single-sign-on. Why is this important? Because you want the both the forum and blog to be indistinguishable in terms of being part of your site. The audience should never feel like they are leaving one site to go to another. This is a major flaw in a lot of forum implementations – you leave a nice site to go to a forum that looks hideous and nothing like the site you just left (how appealing!).
Which brings up themes: with Vanilla Forums rich theme customization possibilities you can style the forum to look just like your blog. Not a CSS/HTML whiz? No problem, if you are a customer of our hosted platform, we offer a managed installation service that will skin your forum to match your blog. Alternatively, you can use our feature and embed the forum right into your page.
Whether the goal of your site is monetization, public awareness, education, or pretty much any other goal, a good result is getting your audience to participate more, hang around your site longer, and in general build a community around your blog.