Wordpress network, or sub-categories?
May 25, 2012 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Wordpress gurus, please help me think through this site architecture question: multisite network, or sub-categories?

So I'm building a site that contains a number of sub-sites, and those sub-sites will occasionally share content. They will have the same categories as one another.

So, for instance, let's say site A is about Dogs, site B is about Cats, site C is about Parrots, each their own domain name. Each site will have the same theme and navigation as the others - categories like tips, adoption, feeding, photos, etc. And it will sometimes be the case that we have a Tips story that is germane to both dogs and cats, so that same story would go on both site A and B, in the Tips category, for instance.

My dilemma is whether it makes sense to use the network-of-sites feature in WP, which I have read about but never used, or simply make Dogs a category that has all of tips, adoption, etc. as subcategories. Then do the same with the rest - each site is a top-level category, with subcategories.

I'm having trouble seeing all of the pros and cons of either approach. I could easily make the Dogs domain address redirect to a query that only pulls content from that category. But I have this nagging feeling that this is a messy approach for reasons I'm not thinking of yet. I see from the documentation that the network functionality doesn't allow global categories, which is a bit of a concern for going in that direction.

Any advice, insight, wisdom? Thanks in advance.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out the new Taxonomy feature? There's a great plugin called Types that lets you come up with all kinds of category schemes that wouldn't be possible under the old-fashioned Categories.
posted by steinsaltz at 12:08 PM on May 25, 2012

Networks normally share very little--users, themes to select, and plugins (some global, some selectable). I ran a large one for many years, and it really doesn't sound right for you.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:26 PM on May 25, 2012

It would be easier to manage these subsites through custom post types as jbickers had mentioned, and the Types plugin is excellent for this. When you say that each subsite will have their own domain name, do you mean primary domain, or subdomain/subdirectory? If it's the former, I'd recommend going the multisite route, as it'll be much easier dealing with domain mapping. And yes, there's a plugin for that!

If you end up using the native WordPress navigation menu with multisite, I'd suggest creating a global navigation that synchronizes across all the sites using the switch_to_blog() function.
posted by colorproof at 8:26 PM on May 25, 2012

Egad, I meant to say @steinsaltz in my previous comment, but typed your username instead!
posted by colorproof at 8:28 PM on May 25, 2012

I'd forgotten to address this earlier regarding the sharing of same stories across subsites, but a really great multisite plugin for that is ThreeWP Broadcast. The "broadcasted" post(s) can be linked to its parent, and when you modify the parent post, it updates the child post(s) as well. Pretty nifty.
posted by colorproof at 7:34 AM on May 26, 2012

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