10+ Best Multisite Plugins for a Better User Experience
Running a Multisite network is easy enough, but with big websites like WordPress and (our sister site) Edublogs setting the bar, basic functionality isn’t enough for the average user.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. This list of plugins – all by WPMU DEV – will help boost your site’s ease of use and overall user experience.
You may not need every single one of these premium plugins for your specific network, but you’ll likely find at least a handful will improve the quality of your site.
The WordPress default search box is functional, but it leaves a lot to be desired. How many times have you used it and gave up in frustration over the inaccurate results?
The Custom Google Search plugin uses Google to enhance your search box capabilities, giving it a huge boost.
It also doesn’t show results on a separate page that looks nothing like your theme, which is what happens if you use Google’s own search app. This plugin integrates completely into your site either showing results using your theme’s page template or through a sidebar widget.
You can also choose to allow searches across many sites in your network. If you want to provide functionality on your network for users to search for content, this is a plugin worth considering.
WordPress is an amazing tool, but there is a bit of a learning curve for new users. If you’re designing sites for beginner clients, offering signups and even site creation, this plugin allows you to integrate white label instructional videos into your Multisite install.
Your users will be able to have access to professional videos that will teach them how to do everything from publishing their first post and running updates, to replacing images and learning about post formatting.
The videos are already hosted, fully maintained, and updated with every new version of WordPress so you don’t have to worry about a thing. You can also integrate them into the backend or front-end.
Your users and clients will be happy that they have an easy way to learn how to use WordPress and you’ll be happy they have a good resource (other than you!) to turn to with questions. It’s a win-win situation.
Theme Switcher allows you and your users to easily switch between network-activated themes from the WordPress toolbar or anywhere else you can put a shortcode on the front-end of your site.
It also comes with a widget that allows you to customize the options and display. In just two quick clicks the theme is switched. You don’t have to worry about waiting for multiple pages to load either, making this task even quicker.
When users are interacting with your site, engaging with your content and having a great conversation through commenting on a post, it can be irritating to suddenly have an almost blank screen show up informing the user that they cannot comment anymore.
Thanks to spam users, WordPress has a built-in mechanism that prevents people posting too many comments too quickly. For genuine users, this is reason enough to disengage and leave your site.
This plugin helps prevent that by allowing you to whitelist users known to your site so the, “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” message isn’t shown to them. You can also block spam IP addresses in a blacklist as well.
While this plugin isn’t a complete spam solution in and of itself, it does a great job helping with preventing spam and can be used in tandem with other methods.
If you’re really serious about engaging your users in conversation, you’ll want to take a look at the next plugin on this list…
Comments + helps your users engage on your site by allowing them to not only comment through your site’s membership or their WordPress.com account, but also using their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ credentials.
For users who come across your site and don’t have a membership, this allows them to get involved in a comment discussion without having to sign up.
Comments + also helps reduce spam comments since users have to log in to their chosen social media account, and cannot simply type their name to post a comment. In turn, this will help boost the credibility of your site since other visitors will see real people posting comments rather than a faceless responses (that often don’t make sense, in the case of spam).
This plugin removes the email that newly registered users receive to verify their email and find their assigned password, which speeds up the sign in process.
It also minimizes the chances of new users being unable to complete the process if the email gets thrown into their junk mail folder or is blocked completely. It happens more often than you may think as popular email providers use strict default spam settings.
If you’re worried about spam signups, which happen frequently even with verification emails, we’ve got a plugin for that, too: Anti-Splog.
The Multisite Theme Manager allows you to customize what users see when they visit the Theme page in the backend.
You can change the title, feature image, description and even organize all your themes into custom categories. This will help your users navigate the available themes more efficiently to find their perfect theme.
You can also export your settings to other Multisite networks that you manage for a unified user experience.
Much like the Multisite Theme Manager, Pretty Plugins allows you to customize the plugins page that your users see. The best feature may very well be the fact that you can assign a feature image to each plugin because images are more welcoming then a lackluster list.
The name and description are customizable and you can also organize themes into categories to make them easier to find.
This plugin pairs really well with the Pro Sites plugin and the two fully integrate with each other. With Pro Sites you can offer paid subscriptions for users and choose which levels have access to certain or all plugins.
Admin Panel Tips allows you to create tips and other messages in HTML to display randomly to your users in the backend, proving a personal and helpful experience for your users.
You can offer them help on how to get started, special reminders, links to other helpful resources, a friendly greeting or anything else you wish to share. You can even re-use tips later on in the future.
This isn’t a traditional plugin, but it allows you to install 75 languages to your Multisite network to help your international visitors use your site. You can choose a default language, but allow your users to choose which language they would like to use for their own site in your network.
Full instructions are included so you don’t have to feel out of the loop when setting this up for yourself. It also integrates well with the Select Languages at Signup plugin.
This plugin allows users to be able to choose their preferred language when they register for your site. It shows up as a drop down list to keep things organized and works in tandem with Languages for WordPress.
When both are installed your users will be able to choose from 75 different languages.
Clean Up the Dashboard removes excess widgets from the dashboard in the backend of WordPress. It automatically removes the news and blog feed to clear up clutter, making it easier for inexperienced users to navigate through WordPress.
It’s easy to install and doesn’t provide any settings. Just install and you’re ready to go.
I love this plugin because it keeps the “Remember Me” check box automatically selected on the login page allowing users to be logged in for longer without having to log back in; this helps people like me who often forget their password and get frustrated when having to login regularly.
Using this plugin will help make using your site a bit more easier and convenient, while also reducing the need for users to frequently make use of the lost password request form.
Speaking of forgetfulness, the Set Password plugin allows users to choose their password when they sign up for your site rather than have a hard-to-remember password chosen for them automatically.
This will help speed up the sign up process and further reduce the number of lost password requests you receive. It will also save your more inexperienced WordPress users from having to hunt down their profile to change their password to something more memorable.
Support System allows you to create a fully-fledged ticket system, which completely integrates with the front-end or backend of your site.
Your users will be able to ask for assistance with ease or access the built in FAQ capabilities to make sure their question doesn’t have a solution before they submit a ticket. You can even add the Integrated Video Tutorials plugin to provide further assistance to your users.
You can also assign the most experienced staff member to each custom ticket category to help speed up the process and get answers to your users quicker.
WordPress has default drop down help content underneath the tool bar in the backend which contains information and links located in the WordPress Codex. This plugin allows you to tailor this help content to suit your Multisite network.
You can also use HTML to add videos, images or links to your network’s ticketed support to simply add another level of ease to your site’s usability.
This plugin allows you to copy the content of a site in your network and use it as a template for new users to choose from when they sign up.
You can use this plugin to populate themes with custom demo content to make it easier for more inexperienced users to create their own sites. You can even go in the opposite direction and create content that is not editable by your users and automatically chosen for them at signup to create your own custom user profile page or company portal.
It’s simple to install, use and also has many settings to meet your specific needs.
Easy Blogging lets you to customize the backend for your users, and in particular new users, giving you the chance to simplify your user experience and even add instructions to help them guide them through the process of great new posts and pages.
Your users will be able to easily toggle between the default and simplified styles and access tooltips to ease their transition. This plugin also integrates with Pro Sites so you can offer paid subscriptions to your network for both novice and seasoned users.
Have you used any of the plugins featured above? Do you have any favorites? Feel free to share any other great Multisite plugins you’ve come across in the comments below.