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This course presents the WordPress Multisite feature, which allows web site designers and administrators to create a network of sites and blogs from a single installation of WordPress. Author Justin Seeley covers installing the network components, configuring their web server/hosting environment, using the Multisite Network Administration panel, managing users, and backing up, migrating, and restoring a multisite installation.
In many cases when you're running a WordPresse Multisite environment, you'd love to aggregate the content from all of your different sites and display them in one central location. In this movie I'm going to show you how to accomplish this and also how to display that content on the homepage of your main blog using a plug-in inside of WordPress. The first thing I need to do is install the plug-in and then network activate it. So let's go over to the Plugins menu and choose Add New. Once I get to the Install Plugin screen, I'm simply going to search for the term that I'm looking for.
In this case I'm looking for a plug- in called Multisite Latest Post Widget. When you search for that plug-in, it should be the first result returned. As of this recording, it's at version 1.4 and the author is Tristan Min. Let's go ahead and install that plug-in now. I'll hit OK to confirm and it returns me back and allows me network activate the plug-in. There's nothing more you need to do to configure the plug-in. It's already up and running on all of your sites.
However, I want to display this content dynamically all across my sites. So let's go back into My Sites. Let's go to the main domain and I'm going to choose Dashboard. The first thing I need to do is create a page that allows me to see all of this content. So let's go down to Pages and I'll hit Add New. Since I'm going to eventually make this my homepage, I'll go ahead and call this Home for the title. Now you can write whatever you want inside the Content window here. There's only one piece that is absolutely necessary to display all of the posts from all of your sites dynamically inside this page.
And that's the short code and you have to get it right. So let's start off by typing that short code now. I'll type open bracket, the letter m s l p. That just says Multisite Latest Post. I'll type a space. Now I have to type the word limit, then I'll type an equals sign. The number that follows the equals sign is how many of your latest posts you would like to display on this page. In this case I'm going to grab the latest five posts.
Then I'll create another space and I'll type style, and that can be equal to a list, or you could style it based on the CSS div tag if you've created one. In this case I haven't created any specific CSS for this plug-in, so I'm just going to type out list. Once I've finished typing out the short code, I have to close it with a right bracket Once I've created, that I'll click Publish. Now I get a link right up here that says View Page. I'll open this in a new tab so we can see it.
When I open it up you'll see that it gives me a list of all the recent posts for my blogs, so Welcome to the PhotoBlog. If I hover over that I see that the link takes me to my main domain and a post that says Welcome to the PhotoBlog. Hanging out in Europe--this comes from John Smith's blog. My Trip to Italy--that's another post from John's blog as well. Gifts for Photo Geeks-- That comes from the Magazine site. And if I open these up, you'll notice they're all from those different sites. Let's open up a few and take a look at them now. The Gifts for Photo Geeks post, you see that's displayed here on the magazine site.
My Trip to Italy, that's on John's site, and then Welcome to the PhotoBlog, although they're using the same theme, it is on a different site. You'll see here it's posted by me. You'll notice that these are different based upon the address in the Address Bar. This is my main domain going here and if I switch to the My Trip to Italy, you'll notice it resides at johnsmith.mydomain.com. And I'll just close these up and we can go back to this. Now, this is just a proof of concept to show you exactly how to display these dynamically on a page.
You could take the time and go and style these via CSS and make them look really cool. At this point in time, this plug-in does not support the use of featured images though. That's one of the few drawbacks of using it. So you can't display an image along with the post or the post heading. That's unfortunate, but you can get around that with some creative CSS styling. Okay, we've got all of our posts displayed dynamically on a page. Now I want this page to become my homepage, and I'll do that inside of the WordPress dashboard. So I'll close this up.
That takes me back into my editing screen and I can go down to the Settings. Inside of Settings, I want to go to the General Settings. If I wanted to change anything about the site, for instance, the site title or the tagline, and in this case I do want to change the tagline. So in this case, it's thedomain.com, and I'm just going to say A Collection of Photo Articles. That way people know exactly what they're getting when they come to my site, and I'll hit Save Changes.
Then I'm going to go over and I'll choose the Reading section of the Settings. Inside of the Reading section, you have the ability to change what the Front page displays inside of your WordPress installation, and if you're an admin of the current site working on, you can change this for any site inside of your WordPress Multisite. So in this case I don't want to display the latest posts from this site. I want to display the static page that contains all of the site posts that I just created. So I'll change static page, Front page is equal to what? Home. Post page.
Well, I haven't created anything for that yet. So, I'll just go and save my changes. So now let's go create a page for the post on this specific site to live on. I'll go to Pages > Add New. In this case I'll call it Blog and I'll hit Publish. You don't have to put any content in here; WordPress will dynamically fill in the content areas when you tell it to use this page for your post. Let's go back to Settings > Reading, Post page, I'll set that to Blog, and now I'll click Save Changes.
Now when I go up and visit my domain, you'll notice that the homepage is now Home and all of those posts from My Sites are displayed dynamically here. Now let's go back into my Dashboard for a second. Once I have that done, I can also add this to the sidebar if I choose to, so I'm going to go here, to the Appearance tab, and select Widgets. Inside of the Widget area you'll notice that I have different sidebar areas that have the ability to put things into. I can find the Multisite Latest Post Widget and I can add that anywhere I want.
In this case, I'm going to add it to the Page Pages. So I'll drag Multisite Latest Post here and drop it in. It asks me how many I want to display. Let's get crazy. Let's do 10, and hit Save. I'll close it and I'll go back and refresh the page. Of course this does need some CSS styling applied to it, but you can see here it goes out and grabs the latest 10 posts from all around the multi-site network. You can take the time and style these individually to make them look absolutely beautiful, and if you're a master of CSS, I know you can do it.
If you're interested in learning more about CSS so that you can customize the style and look of your latest post widgets, be sure to check out all of the great CSS styles available in the lynda.com Online Library, including CSS for designers and CSS for developers. But in this case, it's just a proof of concept that I can pull all that information from all of my sites across my network into one central location. It's very quick and very easy as long as you use this plug-in. So remember, the plug-in is called Multisite Latest Post Widget, and you can use it dynamically in your sidebar or in the content window of WordPress.
It's up to you, but it's a great way to create an aggregator of all of your posts across all of your network sites.
There are currently no FAQs about Creating and Managing a Blog Network with WordPress.
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