Multisite Site Categories Menu

I will be opening up the site soon for store holders to register their website. I am looking for a way to sort all the stores into categories. Some stores have stationary, others clothing some have hardware etc... I am looking for a way to create a menu of store categories on the parent site sidebar so that public can filter the types of stores they want to visit.

Is there a plugin I should use to achieve this?

Regards,

Ciaran

  • Kimberly
    • Champion of Loops

    Ciaran,

    Hello again!

    There are many ways you can do this, depending on what you are trying to acheive.

    As far as I know you cannot "categorize" an actual store on Multisite, so this complicates things.

    You could assign each store user a tag to use on every post and use a global products tag listing using the shorcode...

    Or you can create a custom menu that links to a page with the store links...i.e. Click on Jewelry in the Widget Menu and I am brought to a page that lists all the Jewelry stores.

    Does this help?

    Best,

    Kimberly

    If this thread is not resolved because the suggested action did not work or you have any more questions related to this thread, please feel free to post them below including any new symptoms or errors and tick the 'Mark as Not Resolved (re-open)' box below the post area (or else we'll miss it!)

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Hi Kimberly,

    Thank you for your reply. What I hope to achieve is a directory of the stores. This will be a vertical menu with categories of multisites on the network. I was hoping that there was a way that the admin that sets up their own website/store can select a category or a few categories that their store/website can be found on in the main parent website category filter menu. We could monetize on this because we can select how many categories they are allowed. For a free site they can select only one category they can be found in, for a fee or then next level they can be found in a few categories.

    So that is how I would like it. Is there a way to do that? Or even for now allow the user to select a category that they can be found on the main parent site? So far we have 60 stores ready to register on the 16th March.

    Ciaran

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Thank you for my first +1 for an idea. However it is based similar to what one of my customers are on already for their skip bin hire company.
    Here is the main site categories
    http://www.omg.com.au/sites/
    http://www.omg.com.au/tour/
    and here is the site my client is on, all with extremely incredible features for
    http://www.rubbishremoval.com.au/list-your-business/
    When registering you get only 2 categories to choose from, but when updating your listing
    / mini site then you have more nice features as well as selecting more categories to be found under on the main page/search.

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    I think there could be an update or extra few small functions to "Blog Directory" that might be able to achieve this. If there was a widget for categories and filter of categories, te added categories, and limit number of categories used integrated or added with Prosites options. Then surely this could be done?

    Just digesting some thoughts here.

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Here's another +1 for this.

    Enabling users to create a store/site/blog under a selected category in a multisite install would be a very user-friendly addition, and open the doors to the development of a number of useful features/addons/plugins such as these off the top of my head...

    Search for estores/subsites in a specified category.
    Search for brick-and-mortar stores in a directory category within a specified geographic region (hello map integration!).
    Filter product tags by store category.

    :slight_smile:

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    An added function to further monetize from this will/could be to have an option to have your store/ site be in a featured listing area at the top of each category as well as a featured area on the main categories listing page. Could be optional to have elite listing to show on the home page as a widget.
    Just more thoughts to digest.. :slight_smile:

  • Kimberly
    • Champion of Loops

    Sounds like there could really be a need for this...

    I'll move to Feature Requests and Feedback, also pinged one of the other Staffers to come have a looksee. He is more familiar than I with what developers have which projects and how to best integrate what you are asking for :slight_smile:

    +1 from me just for being great members :slight_smile:

    I love the start of new ideas!

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Hi all,

    I'm building a workaround that's looking very promising so far. Users will have a simple signup to create their stores. Then, when they have everything set up and functioning the way they want, will submit info about their store via a Gravity Form. Their submitted info is used to automagically add their store to a categorized directory, build a dedicated ratings & review page, and feature it on the front page of the site.

    You can check out the progress at the links below (note all products and stores are dummy listings):
    Submit form: http://etcemall.com/feature-your-store/
    Main directory: http://etcemall.com/blog/category/featured-stores/
    Example review page: http://etcemall.com/blog/test-with-2-images/

    I've customized some templates (comments.php, category.php and content.php) to get stuff the way I want it in the directory and on the review pages, added a nifty ratings plugin for all listings and comments (plus, the top-5 best rated stores get a nice listing in the sidebar), use tabbed content on the front page, and have installed a really cool premium menu plugin to feature the product and store categories.

    I still have a bit of fun on the way to get the store category and an embeddable link to display on each store's review page, and some minor styling to be done too. I also like Ciaran's idea of a premium "Featured" section on each category page, or in the sidebar (ooh... another form to build). But, all in all, I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

    If anyone's interested in how I've put it all together, let me know and I'll put together a little tut when I'm done. Comments and critiques are welcome too! :slight_smile:

  • Mason
    • DEV MAN’s Sidekick

    Hiya,

    We have a plugin that allows you to put your sites into categories:
    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/blog-types

    However it would still require some custom coding to provide the top level category 'pages' as the plugin doesn't provide this. If you're looking to categorize the products available on the individual sites though, I'd recommend looking at our MarketPress plugin.

    Let us know how it goes for ya. Thanks!

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Hi pcwriter, this reply is not going to give your solution justice whatsoever, but I need to just say one thing from my phone before I turn off the light to go to sleep.... Fantastic!! You are on the right track there for sure. Would be good to see this being updated to a plugin to integrate into prosites. Monetising a site to be placed onto a top area for featured sites seems to be the go for sure.

    Masonjames, I don't think that blog categories quite hits the mark for what we would like. I think pcwriter has hit a home run on understanding what we need of would like.

    I would highly appreciate a tut for a workaround until something like this can be made. I see this as possibly a great plugin to really extend the versatility and power of prosites.

    Ciaran

  • Kimberly
    • Champion of Loops

    Hey Guys!

    *peeks around*

    Got some news!

    *checks over shoulder*

    But keep it quiet: We might just be working on a plugin like this as we speak. :wink:

    No eta's but I have a "good feeling" that it's been discussed already and is being assigned to someone behind the curtain here :slight_smile:

    Just a hunch though :slight_smile:

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Lol Kimberly, we won't tell anyone you left an informative document open on your desk while you went to the bathroom.. I like your humour
    I was digging around your desk looking for the wireframe, the only thing I could find was empty chocolate wrappers and a DVD of "Titanic"... :wink:

  • Patrick
    • Support Monkey

    Hi again Ciaran,

    Sorry, I seem to have overlooked your previous post :slight_frown:

    Thanks for your encouragement... we can all use some now and then. I still have a few things to work out as I mentioned above but, once I get all the little kinks ironed out, I'll be happy to write up a tut to show how to git 'er done!

    I'll need a few more days to play around with things, and then I'm off to the country for the weekend. But by this time next week, I should be able to post something useful :slight_smile:

  • Kimberly
    • Champion of Loops

    @cmwwebfx you really were here! (I would ask that you return my copy of Titanic un-marred!) lol

    @pcwriter I don't think a WPMU junior staffer would be a good cover for me to do such a thing, lol I only get stuff they "leak" to me on purpose :wink:

  • Catrina
    • Flash Drive

    Wow,
    I was just out searching the forums for just such a thing. You guys are great.
    It looks like this may solve my current problem and more. I will have a closer look and try to implement and then get back to you and let you know how it worked.
    Let me tell you what I was looking for and you can let me know if you thing this is the answer for me (and maybe save me a whole lot of work).
    I am just starting to sign up my stores but I have already found 2 things; a directory that separates my stores in to sites that sell plants, art, gourmet foods, beauty products etc. and a way to make my friends sites more prominent and easy to find. I was thinking of using a custom menu of some sort, but that would require a lot of manual set up on my part and creating manual links in my user's sites. If this is something that would do this all automatically then this is a BIG +1 for me.
    Besides the sidebar menu list of catagorized sites I was thinking that I also want each persons site to have links to all of the other sites that are similar. For example: one person will sell maple syrup. Their site should say "here are the other sites that sell Maple Syrup" somewhere in a prominant place.
    I like the idea of featured sites too. I want to show "new sites" on my home page for a certain amount of time or be able to feature other sites for one reason or another.
    Catrina

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    +1 for Catrina's idea.

    I love that we have some extra thought going into this idea of the ultimate addon for sites.
    Excellent idea on 3 things you have touched on:

    1) New sites get displayed for timed period on home page. Perfect for them to showcase what they have. I think it is better they have an option to to see a timer to count down when their store will show on the home page. New sites would all look the same to start off with in the first 2 or so weeks anyhow. Maybe when users sign up they will get a message that their site will display on the home page automatically in 2 weeks. The site can have a variable option to show for 2 weeks for free, then pay to have a featured site after this in the featured area?

    2) List of similar sites at the footer of their site is a nice idea, needs to be placed as Prosites addon to have option to pay to have this turned off.

    3) Automatically build out a vertical menu of sites under categorised site tree.

  • Catrina
    • Flash Drive

    Hi,
    I have this morning blocked out to check out PC writes work above.
    I just wanted to mention what I have decided to do as a temporary fix. It will only work for a while during the time that I don't have too many stores and don't yet need them categorized.
    I simply used the links feature of Wordpress and made one of the links categories "Friends of Catrina Stores/Blogs". The links feature alphabetizes the link categories so because I wanted this category to be first I had to rename my other categories to come after this one. Then you can use this simple linking feature to link to your stores and have them be easy to find in the side bar.
    This may be a simple solution for multisites that only have a handful of stores.
    Catrina

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Hi Kimberly,
    You mentioned awhile back that something is possibly in the making for what we have discussed on this thread. Can you please confirm if anything is being done on this? I am still holding my breath that this is being developed further. It just seems like this is really a must have extension to further monetize the site, yet it ties it all together like the missing piece in the puzzle.

    Hey Guys!
    *peeks around*
    Got some news!
    *checks over shoulder*
    But keep it quiet: We might just be working on a plugin like this as we speak. :wink:
    No eta's but I have a "good feeling" that it's been discussed already and is being assigned to someone behind the curtain here :slight_smile:
    Just a hunch though :slight_smile:

  • Paul
    • The Green Incsub

    To all interested. I have the first working beta of this ready to show off. The plugin is a rework of the one already in use on the Edublogs site mentioned by Mason.

    So if you are interesting in taking this for a test run let me know. You can email me at paul [at] incsub.com and I'll pass you the link to the beta download.

  • Paul
    • The Green Incsub

    As a followup to my previous post I wanted to share some screenshots of the Admin interface and widgets for review

    To start off here two screenshots of the Network Admin configuration area.
    http://screencast.com/t/LsMgYmX4GEMr
    http://screencast.com/t/uxLRkKZYA7M

    Description section by section

    Landing Page:
    This section lets you select where the Blog Categories output listing will be displayed. This works similar to the Settings > Reading option on a normal site. Here is an example of the landing page output http://screencast.com/t/cUTXuZP90vq

    Blog Categories Display Options
    This section handles options for the presentation of the Blog Categories on the Landing page. In this section the admin has the ability to control the display ordering, number of items and category icon and size if provided.

    Blog Display Options
    On the Landing page the Blog Categories is front page of the listing. From there the user can click on a Blog Category link. The URL will have the category slug appended and a list of blogs within that category will be presented. Also, in this section you can control the ordering, number of items, and the option to display the Blog Avatar and size. Here is an example of the Blogs listed within the Category 'Elementary School' http://screencast.com/t/ZqBiiwaRQr

    Blog Categories
    This section lets you select a default category. Set the number of categories a Blog can be assigned. As well as Add/Edit/Delete existing Blog Categories.

    Similar to the Network Admin area there are two widget the blog admin can setup to present the list of Blog Categories as well as Blogs within a selected Category.

    Here is the interface for the Blog Categories Widget. http://screencast.com/t/fB1vbv24n8a
    Here is the interface for the Blog within a Category widget. http://screencast.com/t/f8TTQeasA
    And here is a front-end screen showing the output of the two widgets. http://screencast.com/t/iotGKbWN6zp9

    Also at the Blog level there is a section added to the Settings > General page where the admin can set the Blog Categories associate with the blog. http://screencast.com/t/wVnyWyffb

    Also on the Blog signup form we have added the same Blog Category dropdowns http://screencast.com/t/MiTwknjDlen

  • Lorange
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    This sounds very cool! Last year I made a few suggestions about the "Blog Types" plugin and one of the suggestion was the following:

    1) The actual form added in the registration page is somewhat limited to select a "blog type". I would like to add here all the thematic categories used by Adwords as they have a comprehensive list and that they have translated in several languages... isn't that cool? (for the ones that might be interested you will find them here in English and in your Adwords admin panel for other languages). But such a list would require more than 2 levels of "blog types". And of course I want the users to be able to select several cat/subcats (maybe limited to a max. of 3).

    Original topic: https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/blog-types-suggestions-for-a-next-update#post-89840

    Please can you confirm that this new plugin will allow to create nested subcategories (and more than two levels)? Creating nested subcategories allows to have more accurate/detailed categories (sorry for my limited English) and this is especially useful for monetizing a network with better targeting the ads and/or sell advertising spaces at a much higher price (advertisers will have greater control of sites they want their ads to appear on).

  • Paul
    • The Green Incsub

    @Lorange, Hmm, at the moment the plan is to just support a flat set of blog categories. In other words not levels/hierarchy. But I'm not saying this is off the table. Just the initial release we wanted to get something out for the users.

  • Lorange
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    @Paul: Couldn't you find an easy way to add support for nested subcategories? Your old "Blog types" supported itself 2 levels of categories.

    And on the plugin page of "Blog types" it (was) is written:

    In 2011 we’ll be updating this plugin [...] Naturally the new version will be able to use all the data collected by this older version, so the sooner you start collecting – the more options you’ll have later on.

    It looks like this new plugin is the perfect successor to the old and somewhat useless "Blog types" plugin, isn't it? And as far as I understand it also looks like your plugin fullfill the following need: "Blogs Directory" structure based on "Blog Types" categories (can you confirm?).

    Another concern is the use of the word "blog" which should better be replaced by the word "site" since a lot of wordpress "sites" are not blogs anymore.

    Anyway thank you for this new plugin that looks pretty good on the screenshots!

  • Paul
    • The Green Incsub

    @Lorange, Sorry. I have been thinking about this since my initial reply. Sometimes I need to percolate on a subject over a cigar and beer to reach a solution. The Blog Categories plugin as it is currently written stores the category items in a flat array. Most of this code was inherited from another developer. So my initial response was the current plugin does not support nested categories because that was the way someone wrote it.

    But that is a bad answer. I don't see why this can't use a custom Taxonomy in WordPress. The Taxonomy would be setup under the primary site since that is where the listing is shown. The widgets can then pull from the primary site taxonomy. By using the built-in taxonomy system you can have nested categories to meet your own needs. However many levels you want. At the moment this is just a concept. I still need to update the plugin code next week to prove this out. So look for a followup post mid next week.

    As far as 'Blog' vs. 'Site' again this was used before I took over the project. In terms of WordPress Blog and Site represent two distinct things.

  • cmwwebfx
    • Flash Drive

    Hi Paul, looking forward to the updates of your development of this plugin. I couldn't explain as well as what Lorange has done. Another question, how could I place some sites that are at a higher level to be featured at the top of a page/category? Is this something that is in the pipeline? Changing out the old "Blog" for "Site" is fairly high on the priority list as well.

  • Lorange
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Great to hear about this new direction towards taxonomy system! Coupled with a nice way to show a directory of the sites in the network this new plugin is going to be a must-have for any public (or not) network owner!

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