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We have a set of five health blogs which have been running for about six months. Other than using the same theme (styled slightly differently for each one), they are currently completely separate. We are now trying to figure out how best to combine them into a "network" of blogs. Note: this doesn't have to mean WPMU, the aim is more:

  1. Make it obvious that these individual sites belong to a group of sites
  2. Be able to cross publiish / index posts

Point 1 is really a stylistic thing which we are dealing with.

Point 2 is causing us some head scratching. In the ideal case we really want to be able to INDEX posts in different blogs without duplicating the post. Being health sites, they will all share a similar, but not identical taxonomy. We would like to be able to index posts in different parts of the taxonomies on different sites. The key thing being that they should not be duplicate posts - or at least not behave like this. So if you edit a post in one site (or edit "master" post) the changes appear on all the copies of the post.

There seem to be two options

WPMU

We've obviously had a look at WPMU, but whilst this is great for managing multiple blogs, it doesn't offer much in the way of sharing content between blogs, at least not out of the box. Can anyone recommend plugins for this?

Running everything out of one blog

One suggestion was to run everything out of one blog and using the domain name to determine which "site" to display. I am quite new to Wordpress so not sure how feasible this is.

We are tending towards the 2nd option as that will make sharing content far more straightforward (this is a key requirement), but I am concerned that we might be digging ourselves into a hole here!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It would seem that option 2 is your best approach. This would allow the easiest way to share content. You could set up categories to determine where each post should go, this allows you to share content and keep it separate.

Option 2 is epically a good choice if your blogs are similar in style, and just have some color differences. Instead of building different WP installs, you could just make page templates (1 for each design) and assign them to the different category pages.

The only hold up option 2 creates is if you have separate URLs for each of the blogs. You would either want to forward them or set up some kind of mapping to a sub-folder.

Option 1 allows you to create separate URLs (with mapping) or sub-directories and gives you one control panel to manage everything. But, would require some tweaks to share the content. I've had luck with the tools available at http://wpmu.com they may have some plugins that can help with your needs. Also, http://wpebooks.com is a good resource for WP Network info. Both are good resources.

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+1. Additionally, you could add a custom field to posts/pages so that where content should differ, it can be added for the "alternate" site. You can also add a custom field (checkbox) for "not on {alternate} site". –  webaware Jan 7 '13 at 0:30

What you can do is use the RSS feed side bar widget. You can add individual feeds with out duplicating the posts while displaying links to the post on the other blogs in the network. You can run a RSS feed widget for each site. You can display 1 - (however many entries) per widget you would want to.

This way when using the RSS feed sidebar widget :

  1. Your not duplicating content
  2. You can display content from these other blogs or any other blog you want that has an RSS feed.
  3. Might I add this still keeps the blogs separate.
  4. Using the sidebar widgets and placing them else where in your theme (besides to the right or left) is relatively easy.
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Not really looking to do this via RSS feeds. The posts should appear as being part of the blog they are indexed in - possibly being indexed in multiple places in multiple blogs. –  ZweiBlumen Dec 2 '11 at 15:46

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