Is this project do-able? And where do I start?

So I've had this idea in my head for a while and think I'm finally ready to pursue it.

What I want to create is a site/network that has the following features. I've polled some of my email subscribers and I'll provide feedback that was indicated from that.

**Free downloads - for either members or non-members - I haven't decided on that yet. I think the ease of use for not having to create a membership is a plus, but I'd like to have email addresses too. About half of the respondents stated they would like to have a 'users area' to keep track of their downloads and be able to retrieve them later.

**Store with digital content for sale - currently have about 200 products but this will increase over time

**Members ability to have their own blog - free/paid? not sure yet - Will be using the integrated tutorial videos for sure.

**Maybe for forum - several people did indicate that they would like to have ability to chat and ask questions of other members. Also along this line, possibly classified.

**Link directory for members to add to - I would probably need to this where an admin would have to approve submissions?

**Member photo galleries.

So... is this too big of a project to undertake for an intermediate WP user?

And what plugins would I start with? I'm not quite sure I understand the difference between Membership and Pro Sites. I've got my MU setup installed and running and I'm ready to make some serious progress on this project. :slight_smile:

FWIW, I don't think that I want to use Buddypress. Looks like for my main site I have to use a BP theme (that's what the docs said anyway) and I don't want to do that as I'm very happy with the theme that I'm using (u-design).

It's on one of my dedicated servers, so I don't think hosting capabilities will be a hindrance (yet!) :slight_smile:

Thoughts? Suggestions from those that have 'been there, done that'?

Thanks in advance - hoping for a lively discussion.

Tracy

  • aecnu

    Greetings Tracy,

    Wow it seems that you are ready to take the Bull by the horns, and the advice I have to offer is to take them on one at a time and master one item then move on to the next.

    I personally would rather have one great working project then have 20 projects all needing work and plagued with problems. Could drive you nuts too trying to deal with them all.

    With that in mind --> Forward:

    **Free downloads - for either members or non-members - I haven't decided on that yet. I think the ease of use for not having to create a membership is a plus, but I'd like to have email addresses too. About half of the respondents stated they would like to have a 'users area' to keep track of their downloads and be able to retrieve them later.

    Membership plugin

    **Store with digital content for sale - currently have about 200 products but this will increase over time

    Market Press plugin

    **Members ability to have their own blog - free/paid? not sure yet - Will be using the integrated tutorial videos for sure.

    Pro Sites plugin

    **Maybe for forum - several people did indicate that they would like to have ability to chat and ask questions of other members. Also along this line, possibly classified.

    Chat plugin

    **Link directory for members to add to - I would probably need to this where an admin would have to approve submissions?

    Directory plugin

    **Member photo galleries.

    This one may be handled best by a theme rather then a plugin. Possibly Sleek Photo

    FWIW, I don't think that I want to use Buddypress.

    Good move, this plugin in my opinion and demonstrated by the number of tickets that the user uses Buddy Press, additional grief that is good to avoid.

    So... is this too big of a project to undertake for an intermediate WP user?

    Absolutely! But I believe if you take it one step at a time perfecting each section so to speak and moving on to the next that you will do just great and offer a great quality product to your end users.

    Cheers, Joe

  • twinmom

    Thanks Joe! :slight_smile:

    I appreciate your valuable feedback.

    Absolutely! But I believe if you take it one step at a time perfecting each section so to speak and moving on to the next that you will do just great and offer a great quality product to your end users.

    Great! I love a challenge. :slight_smile:

    I guess my brain-fuzziness over the whole thing is wondering if there is a particular order that the small projects should flow through. For example:

    My thought process was that I would get the Marketpress working first. My plan is/was to first create just a few products in a sampling of categories, and then get Marketpress fully functional from first visit through checkout and download.

    Then once that was fully functioning, I would move on to the next bite-sized chunk (probably membership/galleries). As I am working through my other modules and needing some less thought-intensive time, I will work on inputting products.

    However, as I'm working on Marketpress, I see that I need registrations enabled. So that leads me to wonder if I actually need to do memberships first?? That's what I mean by "where to start". :slight_smile:

    I'm dedicated to not rushing this project, but I don't want to dilly dally and waste time and have to start over several times either.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Tracy

  • aecnu

    Greetings Tracy,

    Thank you for your feedback and further information of what you have in mind.

    I would like to give you some advice that is directly taken from my experience with MultiSite and plugins.

    First I too have tried to come up with the all inclusive product as a member before making staff.
    http://easystartdiywebsitedesign.com/

    Things quickly ground to a halt trying to make it so that one size fits all.

    As I get ready to totally redo my site again I realized that just as Google has done I need to compartmentalize the features, and in this case the same as Google does I am going to use sub domains to accomplish this mission. They did not choose this method or choose this route by accident I can assure you.

    This design will also keep plugins that do have possible conflicts from conflicting and causing mountains of grief.

    So the idea in a nutshell is this - the main site houses of the MultiSite is the glue that holds/links to the rest of the sub domains. This site targets SEO with features of the network which also contains links to each major featured area of the network. So the main site concentrates on traffic generation to the network. Then in turn each sub site concentrates on a specific task full filling the pitch of the main site similar to a department store.

    You have the software section http://mystore.mydomain.com running Market Press with your software selection contained within. Then you have your membership section where it offers the membership benefits with each section fine tuned and doing at its best the task for which it is designed and proclaimed in the main site to do.

    As you progress with the sub sites, the main site development continues with pitches of the sub sites.

    In addition, this type of compartmentalizing makes troubleshooting much simpler plus it should make tragedies of much less impact of the network as a whole. For example - some hacker finds a way to put SQL injection into the market press portion of the network in which goes unnoticed for a short time but long enough for Google to pick it up and put up the dreaded beware screen. This will affect the sub domain for sometime while Google is warning users about the malware in the sub domain site. However, for the rest of the network business goes on as usual and you can concentrate on just that section then to have to look over the entire network trying to figure out what and why it happened.

    Let me know your thoughts on my above suggestion, though it may not be the easiest to implement, it is certainly wise with the big picture in mind.

    Cheers, Joe

  • twinmom

    Hi Joe,

    Yes! This is exactly the type of experienced-advice I am looking for - from someone that has 'been there, done that".

    I see what you are saying, and having recently had to fix several customer sites that had been hacked through the timthumb vulnerability, I'm glad to know that if one subdomain is affected, that the rest of the site is okay (in Google's eyes).

    I like this. I think that's how I will proceed. I know that as time goes on and I am more familiar with the features and limitations of each plugin, it will all come together. But right now, I'm just having a hard time envisioning how all of the plugins play together when stretched over different subdomains.

    For example, if I start with the store, as in your example, if user creates an account and purchases something today. Then a month later, I roll out the gallery feature - will their "user account" that they have already created work for the that subsite as well? Or do they have to have different users accounts for the different aspects?

    The reason I ask this is because I currently have a tutorial site (in a different niche) where the main membership (not using the plugins here - a different one) is on WP, but the billing and account setup goes through WHMCS. We created a custom module so that when the user registers through WHMCS, a user is created on the WP site as well. But the result is the customer has a different username/password for the WHMCS than the WP site and that creates confusion for some customers. I'm trying to plan ahead for this project to make it as user-friendly as possible. :slight_smile:

    I've attached an image of what I think you are suggesting (excuse my crude quickly made graphics-hehe), can you take a look and see if this is what you are saying? And also maybe shed some light on if/how the users are co-mingled between subsites?

    Thanks so much for your advice!
    Tracy

  • aecnu

    Greetings Tracy,

    I reviewed your visual and it looks great with the one exception in which I marked out the path in red and added what should be the path in yellow.

    The reason why the original path will not work is the sub sites need to be created directly from the main site or else the way it showed in the visual they would turn out to be sub domains of sub domains which will not work correctly.

    Cheers, Joe

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.