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[resolved] Multisite questions: Is MS right for us and edit theme once or many times? (11 posts)

  1. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hi,

    1.

    I am in the process of moving ExpressionEngine blogs to WordPress.

    We have ~15 blogs to move.

    In EE, we have one blog for each blogger (this is a daily newspaper blog and each blogger is a reporter for the paper) and the site shares all the same plugins and look/feel.

    With WP, we would like a similar setup. WPMS seemed like a good pick (CPT, taxonomies and categories all seemed too limiting).

    Does WPMS sound like the best option?

    I am wondering if CPT and custom fields/taxonomies is a better pick?

    Based on the limited amount of information I just provided, if you were me, would you use WPMS?

    2.

    I am using the Pagelines theme framework.

    Is there a way (or maybe it's built in) to edit a theme in one location and have it propagate to the other MS blogs?

    Basically, I don't want to manually sync each blog if I make changes... I could see that getting really laborious and tedious.

    Thoughts?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks so much!!!!

    Cheers,
    Micky

  2. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Answer to question #2

    From the docs:

    WordPress Themes

    All themes are installed for the entire network. If you edit the code of one theme, you edit it for all sites using that theme. You can install the plugin WordPress.com Custom CSS to allow each site to tweak their own CSS without affecting anyone else. You can activate themes for the entire network, or edit sites and activate them individually.

    By default, WordPress assigns "Twenty Eleven" as the theme for all new sites. This can be customized by adding a line like define('WP_DEFAULT_THEME', 'classic'); to your wp-config.php file, where 'classic' is replaced with the folder name of your theme.

    Now I am wondering if I modify the PageLines settings (via the admin) does that mean I have to export/import those settings to each blog when I make changes?

  3. Yes.

    Theme settings are per site.

  4. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @Ipstenu Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it. :)

    Hmmm, I'm betting that it can't be that hard to export/import theme settings... ExpressionEngine has a similar hurdle for blog settings.

    In the beginning stages of development, I suppose it would be best to tweak a site's theme on one blog until I am happy with it and then export/import those settings to the other blogs?

    Part of me wonders if CPTs and Taxonomies/Categories/custom fields would be a better pick? On the other hand, I like the thought of each blog having it's own, well, blog. :D

    Thanks!
    Micky

  5. Hmmm, I'm betting that it can't be that hard to export/import theme settings... ExpressionEngine has a similar hurdle for blog settings.

    Depends entirely on the theme. Some don't let you do that at all.

    CPTs vs Multisite depends on how you want your site to be maintained. Do you NEED a whole blog or do you just want one?

  6. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @Ipstenu Thanks again for your pro help, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out! :)

    Depends entirely on the theme. Some don't let you do that at all.

    Fortunately, FWIK, the theme I am using has this ability.

    CPTs vs Multisite depends on how you want your site to be maintained. Do you NEED a whole blog or do you just want one?

    Great question.

    These are our current blogs (in dire need of an upgrade, hence the move to WP).

    As you can see, each blogger has his/her own blog section. We did this in EE by setting up new blogs fore each person.

    CPTs seem like less maintenance... But one major concern I have is that the theme I am using (PageLines) kinda feels more like a one-blogger theme. One thing I dread is trying to force a theme to be something it was not designed to be (i.e. CPTs and multiple authors via one blog).

    I know this sounds silly, but we want to avoid as much custom coding as possible. If I used the current theme (PageLines) with CPTs and one blog, it seems like there could be a huge build-up of custom code and plugins to get the job done... Due to dwindling/limited resources (i.e. layoffs), we want things to be as easy to maintain as possible.

    On the other hand, if I use WPMS, each blogger would get their own blog, and theme, which would be more in line with the original intent of the theme we picked (PageLines)... In other words, the theme will not have to be modified much in order for it to function well for each blog/blogger (at least, that's what I keep telling myself).

    With that said, I did just install Easy Content Types plugin and I have not given up on creating CPTs and/or custom Taxonomies just yet... I will experiment and get back to you with my questions/conclusions/results.

    I am still interested in hearing more opinions/suggestions though.

    Thanks again Ipstenu!

    Cheers,
    Micky

  7. Ming Sheu
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Have you done an analysis of your current blog presentation and how you want the new presentation to be? What I am asking is purely on the front-end, user interface, user experience, etc. Determine what you need or want.

    Taxonomy? What is your ideal taxonomy going forward? Categories, sub-categories, tags, etc.

    Media strategy? Do you want readers to be isolated into "columns/bogs" or do you want more of a free flow of information and cross navigation?

    Itemized features? About Author, widgets, feeds, etc. What do you need, what is shared, what is custom per column/blog.

    Publishing workflow? What is your publishing workflow? Authors and Editors? Comment moderation, etc?

    These are just some high level questions off the top of my head that should be considered before determining the blog platform/configuration. Based on what information you have presented so far, I'm not sure I would be able to make determination as to use Multisite or not.

  8. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hello Ming! Thanks so much for your reply and pro help! I really appreciate it! :)

    Have you done an analysis of your current blog presentation and how you want the new presentation to be?

    I am in the process of doing that now... Unfortunately, deadlines dictate that I do several things at once here.

    Taxonomy? What is your ideal taxonomy going forward? Categories, sub-categories, tags, etc.

    Great questions!

    Each blogger should have their own set of categories. We don't want one big pile of categories/subcategories shared by everyone.

    Tags, maybe, but that's not something we're banking on (some of our bloggers have a hard enough time categorizing posts).

    Media strategy? Do you want readers to be isolated into "columns/bogs" or do you want more of a free flow of information and cross navigation?

    Hmm, well, currently each blogger has their own section. I'm pretty sure we want to maintain this type of structure.

    We would want a homepage that has everyone's posts (or, depending on how we set things up and the limitations of the WP system) we'll just have a static landing homepage that has links to each blogger's blog (like you see now with our ExpressionEngine setup).

    In terms of navigation, I want to keep it simple. We'll probably want one main horizontal nav across the top that links to each blog, and/or a sidebar tease that links to each blogger's blog (with avatars).

    Our goal is to keep it simple without trying to push the boundries (in terms of custom code and mods) of the theme we have chosen.

    Itemized features? About Author, widgets, feeds, etc. What do you need, what is shared, what is custom per column/blog.

    For each blog, we'll want widgets that relate to that blog (in terms of most popular/commented/emails/other). As it stands currently, there's not much connection between our bloggers except for the "Most Popular" box in the sidebar. We're good with this type of separation.

    Really, the only time we would want everyone in one pile is on the homepage (and this is not even a requirement).

    Publishing workflow? What is your publishing workflow? Authors and Editors? Comment moderation, etc?

    Authors, admins and Guest bloggers.

    We don't want our guest bloggers to have access to much other than an entry form, and their stuff will be moderated.

    Admins should have access to and will be able to post to any blog (we're talking WPMS here) and authors will be limited to their own blog (i.e. we don't want bloggers posting to other blogs unless they are specifically allowed to do so).

    We're planning on using Disqus for comments and we would like to use a Disqus plugin to import comments into the page for SEO reasons. I am hoping that this is not going to be a tedious setup if we use MS (in other words, a global Disqus setup would be nice).

    Comments will be allowed without initial moderation.

    These are just some high level questions off the top of my head that should be considered before determining the blog platform/configuration. Based on what information you have presented so far, I'm not sure I would be able to make determination as to use Multisite or not.

    This has been very helpful! Thanks so much for the help.

    Based on my answers, I am leaning towards a MS setup.

    On top of what I said above, I am realizing that I will want each blogger to have the ability to create Links, Pages, Features, Boxes and Banners without having to see other blogger's Links, Pages, Features, Boxes and Banners.

    Additionally, I also like the thought of each blogger having their own Media section.

    The more I play with MS, the more I think it's going to be the right choice for us.

    The only major drawback I can see is having to export/import theme settings from blog to blog. Also, it looks like author management might get a bit tricky; but with ExpressionEngine we have to jump through similar hoops, so there's not a lot of surprise here.

    Hehe, it sounds like I talked myself into WPMS! I hope I don't have a bad case of tunnel vision. :(

    Thoughts?

    Thanks again Ming and Ipstenu! I really appreciate it!

    Cheers,
    Micky

  9. Each blogger should have their own set of categories. We don't want one big pile of categories/subcategories shared by everyone.

    That speaks greatly for a need for Multisite. You could do this with CPTs but it's more ... annoying.

    We would want a homepage that has everyone's posts (or, depending on how we set things up and the limitations of the WP system) we'll just have a static landing homepage that has links to each blogger's blog (like you see now with our ExpressionEngine setup

    That can be done with a plugin :D WordPress MU Sitewide Tags Plugin (yes, I know,w eird name)

    Those are the only things I see as needing 'special' attention in WP. Yeah, I'd use Mutlisite for this. The cross-sites theme settings will be annoying but not impossible.

  10. Ming Sheu
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I agree with Ipstenu. The initial setup will be troublesome but based on your responses multisite sounds like a good fit for you.

  11. mhulse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    You folks ROCK!!!!

    Thanks so much for the professional help and assistance Ipstenu and Ming, I really appreciate it. :)

    I will look into MU Sitewide Tags plugin.

    I have been playing around with the multiple blogs setup and it has not bee so bad thus far.

    WordPress is pretty cool! :)

    So far, the only minor setback to us using Multisite is Disqus comments. Based on how Discus works, we'll need one "forum" per blog; unfortunately, due to the # of blogs, we're hitting the VIP level for pricing.

    Oh well, I guess you got to pay to play. :D

    Thanks again! You folks have been very helpful.

    Much appreciated.

    Cheers.
    Micky

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