Site Categories

Easily categorize sites on your multisite network with Site Categories!

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Screenshots

Site Landing Page
Site Categories widget in action.
Category Cloud widget in action.
Single Category widget in action.
Create your own site categories
Site Categories accordion layout
Site Categories grid layout

Video

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Detail

Have a major network of sites that needs some structure?  Site Categories gives you the simple tools you need to actually categorize the sites on your network!


 

Features include:

  • ability to show site Avatars
  • nested categories
  • works with Pro Sites
  • easily create and edit new categories
  • add custom icons to categories
  • control how many options your users have for their own categories
  • display categories as unordered list, ordered list, accordion style, or grid style
  • fine-tuned control over different elements regardless of display style
  • control display of individual category pages
  • easy-to-implement category selection form for new users
  • widget for categories displayed as a list
  • widget for categories displayed as a cloud
  • widget for sites from an individual category

And more sorting and categorizing goodness!

Helpful for teams, school districts, online communities, online malls, and any other place where you may need multiple sites that you can categorize. Use as a page or widget!

Your Network Just Got More Networky

The lack of categories on Multisite is a major weakness in our view. And so we fixed that.

With the Site Categories plugin, your network becomes a network to ALL visitors, not just backend admins. Categorize and tie sites together as you like. You can also allow users to pick which category their own sites belong to.

Take a look at what you’ll be able to do with Site Categories.

Display Your Categories

You’re given a number of different ways to display your categories.

 

Below is an example of the grid layout.

 

This is an example of an accordion layout (i.e. the section expands  down when the header link is clicked).

 

For each type of layout, you have a number of options to give you more control. Here’s an example of the options for the grid layout.

 

You’re also given control over how individual category pages are displayed. Here are some setting examples.

Here’s an example of a individual category page with an icon to the left and then a site description out to the right.

 

User Sign Ups

When users register, they can choose which category they should be in. Here’s a look at the options you can configure for sign up.

And here’s a look at how it might appear to a new user signing up to your site.

 

3 Widgets

This plugin comes with three widgets for displaying your categories.

The first widget allows you display site categories along with the number of sites in each category. As you would expect, you have plenty of options with the widget, including ordering options and icon size.

 

The second widget is a categories cloud widget — again, with a number of options for more control.

 

And the third widget is a single-site category widget. It displays sites from within a specified category.

 

Setting Up Categories

Creating new categories (and editing them) is as easy as creating a regular WordPress category.

 

 

Categories are also able to display your custom icons. These will be present when you’re ready to display your different site categories.

 

You’re also able to control how much control your users have over their site categories (should you offer them ability to have site categories).

 

 Major Weakness No More!

The lack of built-in categories for WordPress Multisite is a major weakness. Most anyone running a Multisite install would agree with that. But fear not — the Site Categories plugin fixes that. Major WordPress weakness no more!

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Usage

To Get Started:

Start by reading the Installing Plugins section in our comprehensive WordPress and WordPress Multisite Manual if you are new to WordPress.

To Install:

  1. Download the plugin file.
  2. Unzip the file into a folder on your hard drive.
  3. Upload the /site-categories/ folder and all its contents to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your site.
  4. Login to your network admin panel and network-activate the plugin:

Please note:

Once the plugin is installed and network-activated, you’ll see a new menu item in the dashboard of your main site called Site Categories. This is where you will set the options for the plugin. There are NO network options for this plugin.

site-categories-main-settings-1078

Let’s begin by checking out the new Site Categories on the main site. This will help you preview your layout options in the following steps.

Creating Your Site Categories

Click the “Site Categories” sub-menu item in the admin area of your main site. You may recognize the layout here. It’s your run-of-the-mill add categories menu, only this time it’s for your site categories.

site-categories-add-1078

In our examples on this page, we’ve created categories for a network of specialized stores. Go ahead and add a few categories that fit the type of sites in your network now (you can easily edit these later if you wish).

You may also have noticed the Icon column here. That enables you to optionally upload an icon for each site category after you create it. Simply hover your mouse pointer over any category and click the Edit link to upload your icon.

site-categories-icon-add-1078

If you don’t want a specific icon for a site category, simply leave it blank to use your default image. We’ll get to that in a minute.

And that’s all for that part! Now lets go to “Site Categories” > “Settings” and look around in there.

Landing Page Selection

This first section lets you set the Landing Page. Simply select an existing page on your main site where you want the Site Categories listing to be displayed. If you want to create a new page for this, go do that now. Then come back and select it from the dropdown here.

site-categories-1080-landing-page

You can also choose to use Pretty URLs so that they look like this:
http://yoursite.com/sites/magazines-newspapers/
…instead of this:
http://yoursite.com/sites/?category=magazines-newspapers

Site Categories Selection

Next up: the Site Categories Selection Options. This section enables you to set exactly what your site admins are able to select when they are configuring the categories for their site.

1. Enter how many categories site admins can select. 2. Adjust the numbers for Pro Sites sites. 3. Exclude some categories from selection if you wish. 4. Enable or disable parent category selection.

1. Enter how many categories site admins can select.
2. Adjust the numbers for Pro Sites sites.
3. Exclude some categories from selection if you wish.
4. Enable or disable parent category selection.

The Number of Categories per Site lets your site admins pick more than one category, but you can control how many total with this setting.

The Pro Site option that you see here will only show if you have Pro Sites installed. It lets you restrict the number of categories a Pro Sites site admin can choose. Note: There are no additional options in the Pro Sites menu, this is the only setting for Pro Site action.

The Excluded Categories option is useful if you want to reserve some site categories that only you, as network admin, have access to.

Category Parents Selectable simply allows or disallows the selection of parent categories by site admins.

Landing Page Categories Display

This is where you begin to actually set things up the way you want them to display on the front-end of your main site.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the available options will change depending on what you select in the Display Style dropdown.

site-categories-landing-page-1-1078

The Unordered List and Ordered List options output simple vertical lists of your store categories. The Accordion and Grid options output, well, accordion or grid layouts.

Here’s what the grid and accordion layouts might look like on our example site.

site-categories-1-1078

site-categories-2-1078

We’ll only go over the options for a grid layout here. Then you can have fun exploring how things work with the other layout styles.

1. Enter the number of rows and columns for your grid. 2. Select how they should be ordered on the page. 3. Select whether you want empty categories to display or not. 4. Select to show the counts for parent and child categories. 5. Enable/disable the display of category descriptions. 6. Enable/disable the display of category icons. 7. Enter your preferred icon size. 8. Upload a default category icon if you wish.

1. Enter the number of rows and columns for your grid.
2. Select how they should be ordered on the page.
3. Select whether you want empty categories to display or not.
4. Select to show the counts for parent and child categories.
5. Enable/disable the display of category descriptions.
6. Enable/disable the display of category icons.
7. Enter your preferred icon size.
8. Upload a default category icon if you wish.

The Categories per Page option allows you to set up your grid display exactly the way you want it. Note that the grid display is not responsive. If you are using a responsive theme, you may wish to consider using a list or accordion layout.

The Order By option enables you to set the order by category Name or ID, or none at all. You can also select to have them display in ascending or descending order (alphabetically by Name, or numerically by ID).

Hide Empty Categories will, if enabled, simply prevent the display of site categories that don’t have any sites in them yet.

If you set the Show Counts option to Yes, the number of sites in each category will display beside the category name.

Enable Show Category Description to display the descriptions you entered when creating or editing your site categories (note that for clarity in our screenshots, we have elected to not display the category descriptions).

The Show Icons and Icon Size settings simply control the optional display of the category icons you may have added to each category.

The Default Category Image setting is where you can upload an image that will be used as the icon for any category that doesn’t have its own. Remember we left some blank earlier when creating our site categories? This is where we upload the icon to use for those ones.

Landing Page Sites Display

This section of the settings is where you set up how you want individual category pages to display. These settings should be familiar by now, so have a go and play around with them.

site-categories-landing-page-sites-1078

Below is an example of how a site page could look. We’ve chosen to display site descriptions here so you can see how they display.

site-categories-landing-page-sites-2-1078

You may have also noticed that, in our screenshot, individual sites have an avatar! This requires our Avatars plugin. If you do not have that plugin installed, you’ll see a friendly reminder instead of the settings.

New Site Signup Form

Finally, we have the settings for the form that you can choose to have displayed when users register on your network.

site-categories-signup-form-1078

Show Site Categories section turns the form on or off on your site’s signup or register page.

Site Categories Selection Required should be set to “Yes” if you want category selection to be mandatory when users create new sites in your network.

Label for Site Categories Dropdowns is where you can enter the text you want to display above the category selection dropdowns.

Set Description is Required to “Yes” is you want site descriptions to be mandatory when users create new sites.

Label for Site Categories Description is where you can enter the text you want to display above the site description text area.

Here’s what the signup form would look like using our example site categories:

site-categories-signup-form-2-1078

Note that the number of category dropdowns that appear here depends on the number you had set in the Site Categories Selection settings. Also, even if Pro Sites is active on your network, the number of selectable categories you had set for Pro Sites levels will not display here. That’s because the site hasn’t been created yet, and the plugin cannot yet know what Pro Site level the site is at.

And that’s it for the main site settings. Now let’s take a look at what your site admins see in their dashboards.

Sub-site Admin Settings

The sub-sites will all have a new menu option under the Settings tab called Site Categories.

site-categories-subsite-settings-1078

In that admin area, your sub-site admins can select or modify the categories they want their sites to appear under.

site-categories-subsite-1078

The number of dropdowns, and thus the number of categories they can select, depends on the number you had previously set in the Site Categories Selection settings.

If you have the Pro Sites plugin installed on your network, and have set different numbers of categories that can be selected for them in the Site Categories Selection settings, those additional dropdowns will show up here.

The Site Description is where your sub-site admins can enter what they wish to have displayed on the individual category pages (as seen in the screenshot above).

Widgets… oh, yeah

There are 3 widgets available to show off the site categories, and sites, in your network.

The Site Categories widget displays a number of categories according to the options you select in the widget. If you use this widget, you may want to set “Parent Categories Selectable” to “Yes” in the Site Categories Selection Options to avoid having an empty category that links to a page with nothing on it.

Site Categories Widget options and example.

Site Categories widget options and example.

The Site Categories Cloud widget displays a cloud of your site categories much like the familiar tag cloud. You can select to display the child categories from a specific category only, and adjust the font sizes too.

Site Categories Cloud widget options and example.

Site Categories Cloud widget options and example.

Finally, there is the Sites from a Single Category widget that displays the specified number of sites withing a specified category. Here again, the display of avatars depends on the Avatars plugin.

Sites from a Single Category widget options and example.

Sites from a Single Category widget options and example.

We hope you and your site admins enjoy your new categorized network of sites! Your users and site visitors are sure to appreciate how much easier it is to find what they are looking for too!

If you run into any snags, just head on over to the community forums. Our stellar support team (and members!) are standing by to help you get things up and running smoothly.

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