Multi Site Wordpress - Implementation strategy

We are a membership organization headquartered in NYC. We have approximately 4000 members all executives in the fashion industry. There are approximately 26 regional offices including those in Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston etc. We'd like to control as much as possible the look and feel for all regional offices but allow them the flexibility to have their own blogs, event announcements and archives, home page imagery and text, etc. Also it would be ideal to manage all sites from a central location at a single host. Am hoping that this configuration is somewhat common and curious to know how to implement

  • Nastia

    Hello @E. Bruce, I hope you are well today!

    Thank you for asking this question.

    We'd like to control as much as possible the look and feel for all regional offices but allow them the flexibility to have their own blogs, event announcements and archives, home page imagery and text, etc.

    You can do all of this with WordPress Multisite Network. The site will be located on one single host and you will be able to manage all the sub-site within.

    Each office may have his own site (sub-site). You can manage user roles so the Administrators of the sub-site won't be able to change the official template (theme) of your company (This in case you have several themes enabled, but you can leave only one enabled in the network). And they will be able to manage the website content.

    If you interested in more information about managing and the features of WordPres Multisite, please feel free to have a look at our manual:
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/wordpress-multisite/

    Would you please tell me, do you wish to monetize your website? Do other regional offices will be charged for their sub-site?

    Please advise,

    Cheers,
    Nastia

  • SqueakyOx

    Hi E.Bruce,

    As a previous company IT administrator for a large company with multiple websites, i can share my experience with a few points to consider.

    PROS:
    1. One central administrator point - you could easily administrate all the plugin/themes that all the regions would want to use. You could even vet the plugin for functionality (and reject) certain unwanted or malicious plugins that the regional office wanted to use. Administration of user/admin/content providers is a breeze and as long as you remember your super admin username and password, you will never have an excuse of forgetting multiple passwords.

    2. Multisite structure - boston.company.com & miami.company.com could have identical themes or completely unique look, depending on what you want and how you want it.

    3. Maintenance - you won't be updating 20 different instances when you could just do 1! Trust me i've done enough updates for a lifetime! This is a time saver for everyone. 1 database is all is required. So you probably would have had savings when it came to hosting as well.

    CONS:
    1. Hosting limitations - Some companies are notorious for only giving you limited resources to host the website. (and the worst! they are adamant to use the shit company servers!) WP multi site does require you fiddle around with the DNS settings (eg. wildcard subdomains)and some other things to get it working. So if you don't have access to some of the company assets - you will have a problem. So make sure you have complete access to tinker and they meet the requirements of WP MS.

    2. Security - unfortunately WP will is never going to be as secure as other resources such as your internal SAP software. So if you're storing some precious data, you better had paid more attention to this. I havn't seen a RSA SSO plugin yet (or have i missed it) so you might look into a SSL certificate and other security means.

    3. Final product: WP 'as is' is a pretty solid piece of work. However, once you start doing the patchwork of code, otherwise, known as plugins - sometimes the end product is not as advertised. This is an unfortunate side effect of having it 'open source'. (note: i'm not dissing wpmudev or any other plugin writers!) So alot of the time you will be figuring out which of the 50 'gallery' plugin is the best for you.

    Verdict: For me, i'll launch WP MS tomorrow for you. No brainer! Work around what everyone needs. Since (between you and I) we all know that every damn region will have their own grand idea of what their website should be - giving them the versatility of hosting whatever they want will go down as crowd pleaser. If only getting that promotion would be that easy though!

    Happy hunting! And sorry for the long post!

    SqueakyOX

    Ps: I never did answer you next question. Should you charge each region for the website? That would depend on the company structure. Do you have a cost centre for each region for this? Its a question more for accounting than anything else.

  • Tony G

    I just posted a request for suggestions about a similar model (though much larger and a completely different audience). If can muster the time, I intend to use the network I create there as a base to provide user group sites for my own industry. That model is even closer to yours and about the same size with a similar audience. So I look forward to sharing ideas between these threads (and others that I'm now researching). Feel free to contact me off list to discuss approaches and possible code sharing as we both move forward.

    I just wrote a bunch of reasons why this initiative could be more costly than expected, and why you should consider ancillary funding early. But I'll spare you the pain of my verbosity and will only post on request.

    Good luck.

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