Wordpress MU 2.8 : Building Powerful Communities With Ease

Book: Wordpress MU 2.8 : Beginner's GuideWordpress powers millions of websites and blogs ranging from a small personal diary to big company portals. The single-site edition of Wordpress enjoys much more popularity leaving the multi-site version way behind. However, when it comes to developing a large blog network supporting unlimited users with each one having a separate blog, Wordpress MU is the best possible solution. It's extremely flexible, feature rich and is very easy to customize as per your needs. Recently, Lesley A. Harrison has released her book entitled 'WordPress MU 2.8: Beginner's Guide', available from Packt Publishing, which provides detailed step-by-step guide to build a powerful blog network that includes forums, photo galleries and much more.

The good thing about this book is that it assumes that you have no prior experience of working with Wordpress. Step-by-step tutorials supported with helpful illustrations make it one of the best guides to creating blog network through Wordpress MU.

Building The Basics

The first 3 chapters introduces Wordpress MU features, compare and compute hosting requirements and guidelines, presents detailed installation procedure and easy-to-follow methods of customizing the appearance of your fresh Wordpress MU install.

Ordinary shared hosting plans cannot promise smooth running of (active) blog networks. Keeping this in mind, the author has presented detailed web-hosting requirements and alternative solutions that can cater the needs of a fairly large and active blog network. The type of web-server components needed to run a typical Wordpress MU are also discussed, so that you can cross-check the configuration of server before signing up of any hosting plan. A comprehensive installation guide loaded with helpful illustrations ensures smooth deployment of your blog network. Whether it's about configuring critical security settings or about fine-tuning the most essential plugins, the install-guide covers every step in the right sequence to get your installation done in the minimum possible time. I particularly liked the section explaining database planning and implementation closely followed by sub-domain mapping and settings. Chapter 3 covers installing and customization of a fresh new theme along with configuration of the most popular Wordpress MU plugins.

On To The Next Level

One of the big issues maintaining a blog network involves user-management and related tasks. Users on a blog network may share different or same set of plugins and themes with different set of privileges depending on the type of account they hold. Chapter 4 deals with advanced user management with loads of practical examples turning you into an expert blog network administrator. No web site can claim to be 100% hacker proof. An entire chapter has been dedicated for addressing this sensitive issue. Chapter 5 provides in-depth methods of making your Wordpress MU install almost hacker proof securing it from all common hacking attempts. Automated backup strategy is also part of this chapter that is so essential for any blog network.

Going Beyond The Limits

Wordpress gives you the flexibility to customize it to the limits. Chapter 7,8 and 9 discusses some of the most advanced and much needed features needed in a typical blog network. Following is a list of important customizations featured in these chapters.

Some of the most essential features discussed are:
  • Integrating third party commenting system.
  • Setting up custom contact forms.
  • Integration of polls and sitewide searching.
  • Integrating bbPress Forum. (Includes styling and customization of forum)
  • Integrating BuddyPress Suite. (Enables flexible social networking features)

The list shown above clearly suggests that forum and social networking integration is becoming a norm in today's popular blog networks. You can think of it as a mashup of various social media platforms giving the users various options to connect and share their ideas and content. And that's where chapter 8 and 9 gives you the power to integrate these platforms to your Wordpress MU install. It will make your blog network more attractive, more appealing and eventually more popular among its existing as well as potential users.

Often blog networks are created with flexible monetization schemes to attract more registrations. This includes flexible revenue sharing options that may variate on per account basis. Chapter 10 deals with this extremely important issue and guides you to complete ad management solution for a typical Wordpress MU install. This includes ad management, revenue sharing techniques, supporting premium memberships and much more.

Site optimization is a critical issue, especially for multi-user blog networks. A sluggish blog network is the first thing you'll need to repeal the visitors. That's where chapter 11 comes to the rescue giving you all the vital techniques to make your blog network a zipper, with techniques to develop optimized database and themes. You'll also get to know server side optimization and load balancing techniques to offer highly optimized blog network to the users. And last but not the least is the troubleshooting techniques and miscellaneous daily routines needed to keep your blog network up and running. After going through the last chapter, you'll come to know about performing smooth upgrades, performing and restoring daily backups. Various backup strategies via different methods is the part of this important chapter.

All the development tools required to create a WordPress MU blog network are free. The book has a separate section in the beginning tabulating all the required tools, where to get it and what is their use. The author of this book is a freelance web developer and technology consultant with more than ten years experience in IT related fields.

Who should read this book?

If you are planning to create your own blog hosting service or want to build your own blog network (whether for your company or for your family and friends or for your closed community), this book can serve your purpose. Knowledge of basic HTML and general blogging principles is all you need to follow this book.

Book: WordPress MU 2.8: Beginner's Guide
Paperback: 268 pages [191mm x 235mm]
Publisher: Packt Publishing (Released: October 2009)
Language: English
ISBN: 1847196543
ISBN-13: 978-1-847196-54-5
Also available as an e-book from Packt Publishing

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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