I have been wanting to set up my WordPress.org installation to host more than one blog for a while now. Todd assured me it was possible and I’d see it done on other blog sites, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I want to have a separate blog for each different topic I teach. Since I teach a lot of different disciplines, from archaeology to religious studies, folklore to the impact of technology on human society, I wanted to be able to set up different blog rolls, Twitter feeds, links and resources for my students. In addition, I wanted an actual BLOG for each topic, not just a single blog on the front page and a bunch of static pages with info about different classes. I have aspirations for using my class blog to reflect on class discussions, add information that got left out of a presentation, that sort of thing. It’s a lot of writing, especially in semesters where I have four class preps, but as I say, it’s an aspiration.
So, a single WordPress.org blog was not enough. And finally, over the Labor Day weekend, I muddled through various instructions and got it done. Or rather, tried and entirely FUBAR’d my site. You have to add a few snippets of code to the actual WordPress install, something I know nothing about, but I could (I thought) follow directions. Somehow, when I added the code, it disabled my ability to log into my blog. Take the code out, no problem. Put it back in, no log in. That’s the extent of my ability to troubleshoot code. However, WordPress DOES offer an extensive and timely forum set-up for support. I posted my question Friday night and by Saturday afternoon (on a holiday weekend!), a response was posted that gave me the answer I needed. (Try a different browser. Why didn’t I think of that?)
So now I am the proud administrator of a network of WordPress blogs, based in subdirectories of my main site. What this means is that as well as my main site, www.ychumanities.net, I also have a (relatively) unlimited number of subsidiary blogs with the same URL followed by a slash and an identifier. Like www.ychumanities.net/hum101, for my HUM 101 pop culture class. I can post blog essays there for my students, add links, blog rolls, course information, whatever I’d like my HUM 101 students to have access to. I envision having a separate subdirectory for each class…someday. For now, I’m working on building an e-portfolio at my main site, and playing around with a couple subdirectories to see what I can create (and likely destroy.) But hey, I’m the network administrator and I can always delete a subdirectory blog and make a new one, if I mess up too bad. I’d like to have one or two class blogs up to try in the spring semester, but we’ll see about that.
If anyone else has aspirations to host more than one blog on their WordPress.org installation, there is a lot of good info to be found. The actual WordPress Codex instructions are rather alarming, warning that you should have UNIX experience as well as a working knowledge of PHP, HTML and CSS. Don’t listen to them. I did it and I don’t even know what those letters mean. I like eduChalk.org, a blog of free tech tutorial videos made by a tech consultant, and he made a video walking you through the steps of establishing a network.
And finally, AFTER I wrestled my blog network into shape, I found a short ebook created by a WordPress team pirate. (I don’t know what that means either.) CreateAWordPressNetwork Said team pirate actually has a whole site devoted to documentation and plugins for WordPress Networks.
So anyway, that’s my WordPress Network saga. Hope it helps someone else!