My Latest WordPress Multisite Community

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Allow me to brag for just a moment…

team agreda free wellness business marketing blogsMore than four years since we sold our graphics business, I am happy to announce that I finally updated our company website. And in doing so, I have launched my latest WordPress multisite community. I’ll provide details about any hacks I make, and review multisite plugins I deploy in the future. For now I thought I would just share the content focus, for anyone not interested in the technical side of things.

Since we hit the road after Jerry lost his leg, there really hasn’t been any reason exciting enough to update our Agreda Communications site. I basically put up some links to Tripawds and our LiveWorkDream blog and left it alone. After traveling the country for three years in search of the next big thing, however, we found it.

The new and improved Team Agreda portal provides information about the new home-based wellness business we have launched, and how we help others do the same with:

  • No startup costs & no inventory to stock
  • No selling or sales quotas whatsoever
  • No shipping products or billing customers
  • Free lead generation websites
  • And absolutely no risk!

Interested? Contact us for complete details!

At first glance agreda.com doesn’t look like any sort of multi-user blogs community. That’s because I’ve made it private. We will be creating free lead generation sites for business partners and making certain value added content visible only to them using the Membership plugin from WPMU Dev. This will allow us to hide specific pages and other content we only want team members to see from the general public. Anyone who visits the site will still be able to read our biography, review the FAQs and contact us.

wordpress multisite network login widgetI would like to give one shout out to Josh Parker for his WPMS Sidebar Login Widget. After spending hours trying to hard-code a login/profile panel into the sidebar like we have on Tripawds, this plugin did the trick in minutes.

Now our partners can log into their dashboards from the main site to reveal members-only content. Thanks Josh!


To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!

New Custom Admin Bar Menu Improves Navigation

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Within minutes of announcing the new Tripawds admin bar menu in the tech support forum, one member replied…

Very nice…much easier to navigate!

wordpress multisite custom admin bar menuThanks Meghan! That was our goal with implementing this new custom admin bar menu – to help users navigate the site, whether they are searching the forums, watching videos, chatting or browsing blogs.

The WordPress Admin Bar is the grey stripe visible to logged in members which includes menus with links to various user account and blog administrative tools. Now users will notice a new menu to the far left of the bar, no matter which blog they’re viewing.

Hover your mouse over “tripawds” at far left to expand the menu for easy access to some of the most popular resources this community have to offer. Don’t see the Admin Bar? Register today to take full advantage of this network!

How To Add Custom WordPress Admin Bar Menu

For WordPress multisite network administrators interested in how we did this, it’s simple with the free Custom Admin Bar Menu plugin from WPMU Dev. Sure, you could hack functions to remove or add links to the admin bar, but why bother? If you’re looking to add a whole new menu, this plugin makes it easy.

As usual, the team at WPMU Dev has created a sleek interface which allows for easy set-up and configuration. The plugin works with single WordPress sites and any multisite network.

configure wordpress multisite custom admin bar menu

Adding and sorting links is easy sort with the drag and drop interface. And you can even use a small image for the menu title (no more than 28px high). Make it transparent for best results.

TIP: Select the “External Page” URL type and include the whole address if you want to link to a certain page on a specific blog within your multisite network.

Select “Administrative Page” if you want to direct users to one of their admin tabs. And select “Site Page” if you want to include the domain.tld of the site being viewed.

WPMU DEV - The WordPress ExpertsLooking for more awesome WordPress multisite plugins? Checkout our list of all the plugins we use to power the Tripawds community or check out everything WPMU Dev has to offer!

And don’t miss my recent guest posts on ProBlogger about building an online community:

How to Fix TimThumb Theme Script Security Exploit

Don’t panic. Security Breach Averted!

I first learned about the zero day vulnerability affecting many WordPress themes today on LinkedIn. Plenty has been written about the security flaw found in the timthumb.php script used by many themes that could result in a serious security breach by allowing the upload of malicious scripts to your server. I won’t go into detail, because these fine folks already have:

See the above links for plenty of information, opinions, and fixes. I’ll just quickly outline what I did to ensure we remained safe here at Tripawds.

  1. Log in to cPanel account for domain
  2. Access File Manager
  3. Search all files for “timthumb”
  4. Note location of file(s) if found
  5. Delete timthumb.php*
  6. Repeat for any other domains

*Note: Deleting the TimThumb script may break certain themes, or at least affect how they manage and display images. I chose to just delete any themes using the script.

If you need the TimThumb script running on your site, upgrade to the latest version. This issue has already been addressed. If, like me, you find some merit in the many discussions about the safety – or lack thereof – of allowing any scripts on your server to access data from third party sites, then delete the file. Or, follow these steps to remove the vulnerability:

Line 21: Ensure this constant is false:
define ('ALLOW_EXTERNAL', FALSE); // allow external website (override security precaution - not advised!)

Line 27: Remove all domains from this array:
$allowedSites = array();

What the TimThumb Issue Means for Tripawds Members

Nothing, really. Because we’re on top of things.

If, however, you are a Tripawds Supporter and had activated either of the premium themes, Magazeen or Mystique, you will need to activate a different theme. If you were using either of these themes and you cannot access your blog, again, don’t panic. Point your browser to yourblogname.tripawds.com/wp-admin/themes.php and select another of the more than 135 themes we make available to Tripawds bloggers.

Best Multisite Plugins Build Tripawds Community

My recent ProBlogger guest post about building a successful online community received such positive feedback that I followed it up with more details about tactics we use to keep the Tripawds network feature rich and running smoothly.

WordPress Multisite Network Problogger Guest Post

For those who asked – and for any WordPress multisite admins interested in making the most of their network – the following is an overview of the specific plugins we use to create the Tripawds Community. I’ve included brief descriptions about what each plugin does with links for download info and to see the plugin in use.

Best WordPress Multisite Plugins to Build Online Community

SimplePress Discussion Forums WordPress PluginSimple:Press Forums – This community simply would not be what it has become without the Tripawds Discussion Forums, powered by SimplePress, and we have nothing but good things to say about this easy to use yet robust plugin. While SPF can be network activated, we choose to host one main group of forums on the main News blog only.

Anti-Splog – A must have for any multisite admin! Prior to installing this robust plugin, stopping spam blog registrations was a terribly frustrating time-consuming task. Now they are easily and automatically blocked, with various methods and many configuration options.

Stop Spam! – We use Akismet and TypePad Anti-Spam to stop comment spam on all Tripawds blogs. Supporter Blogs get enhanced spam protection and a spam-free contact form with WP SpamFree.

phpFreeChat – I implemented the Tripawds Live Chat using this code long before PHP Free Chat became available as a plugin for WordPress. Recently, I’ve been testing the sleek new chat plugin from WPMU Dev and may be migrating to that soon.

Avatars – This plugin enables global avatars for all users and blogs, allowing members to upload an avatar and have it displayed wherever they comment, and in the recent posts widgets throughout the main site.

Supporter – This premium account framework allows us to automatically remove ads from Supporter Blogs, increase their upload space and enable enhanced features with an easily implemented PayPal subscription model.

Members Directory – This plugin allows us to easily create a searchable directory of all Tripawds members.

Blogs Directory – Like the above, this plugin creates a searchable directory of all Tripawds blogs.

Global Site Search – With the WordPress admin bar only providing a search field for the blog being viewed, we use this plugin to create a page for searching all blogs across the Tripawds network.

Personal Welcomes – We personally welcome all new members and send Supporters thank yous for upgrading their account with the email functionality and message templates this plugin provides.

Global Header & Footer – I used some legacy code I found long ago and wrote about how to create the blog ring style header and footer that appears on all Tripawds blogs. Now I’m considering using the WPMS Global Content plugin.

recent global wordpress network posts widgetRecent Global Posts Widget – We show the most recent posts from all Tripawds blogs in this widget displayed throughout the News blog. We’re able to hard code this widget into our Chat and Forums page templates using the Recent Posts plugin. We use another widget plugin to show Recent Global Comments.

Recent Global Posts Feed – This plugin generates an RSS feed for all blog posts across the network and comes complete with a widget for displaying the feed link.

Blogs Widget – Using this plugin a widget showing recent (or random) blogs can be seen throughout the Tripawds News blog.

WPMU DEV - The WordPress Experts

New Blog Templates – I recently activated this plugin to easily create a template for all new Tripawds blogs so they use the specific theme, widgets, blogroll links and settings that I specify.

Multisite Dashboard Feed – I wrote in detail about how we now show recent posts from all blogs in every user dashboard using the Multisite Dashboard Feed Widget.

WordPress CMS Theme – The Tripawds News blog uses the WPMU Nelo Custom CMS Homepage Theme which supports a custom navigation menu so we can facilitate network navigation.

133+ Theme Pack – We offer Tripawds bloggers more than 140 themes to choose from with this pack of thoroughly tested templates including custom headers, threaded comments, and more features guaranteed to work by WPMU Dev. Supporter blogs have access to additional premium themes.

Friends Plugin Widget Admin ScreenshotFriends – With this plugin network-activated, Tripawds bloggers can “friend” each other and display widgets with all their friends on their blogs.

Invites – This simple plugin lets members send friends, family and colleagues invitations to register for their blog directly from an admin tab.

Simple Sitemaps – In addition to activating the All In One SEO plugin on Supporter blogs, we automatically generate Google-friendly sitemaps for all blogs with this plugin.

Admin Ads– Instead of using this plugin to show ads, we created a list of “quick links” to helpful content in all user dashboards. It is also helpful for announcing special events and site maintenance.

Admin Help Content – This plugin changes the WordPress help content that slides down when users click on the “Help” drop-down in their dashboard. We use it to direct members to our own Tech Support Forum and Help videos.

Subscribe to Comments – We auto-activate this plugin on Tripawds Supporter blogs so readers can subscribe to receive notification of comments on individual posts.

Viper’s Video QuickTags – This plugin also gets auto-activated for Tripawds Supporters to allow easy embedding of movies in their blogs from various video sharing sites. I wrote more details here.

Terms of Service – This plugin places your usage terms in a box on the signup form with the option of forcing new users to check a box stating they read it in order to continue

Support System – I use this comprehensive tech support ticket and FAQ system over at RVblogz.com, where we don’t have any discussion forums.

WordPress Pop Up! – Thanks to this plugin, visitors to the Tripawds News blog (who come from an external domain and have never seen the ad) will be shown a discreet pop-up directing them to the best advice the site has to offer. It is massively configurable and easy to use.

Help Videos – We provide numerous WordPress dashboard tutorial videos to help members make the most of their blogs.

BlogTalkRadio – We use these free internet radio broadcasting tools to produce Tripawd Talk Radio.

More Plugins Make Tripawds Blogs Even Better

Phew! As if that’s not enough, we also make various importer plugins available to all Tripawds bloggers so they can easily migrate their existing posts from Blogger, LiveJournal, Moveable Type and other platforms to our free blogs network. NextGen Gallery is the powerful plugin we use to manage the Tripawds Photo Galleries. And cformsII is the comprehensive contact form plugin we use on our primary contact page and for our two-part 2010 Tripawds survey. Finally, we have used the WPAudio MP3 Player plugin to stream mp3 files in the Tripawds Downloads blog.

WPMU DEV - The WordPress ExpertsReaders may notice that many of the plugins I describe above come from the fine folks at WPMU Dev. Lots of them are free, but some cost will cost you.

Like all good things, you get what you pay for. That’s why I recommend registering for a premium account to access all their plugins, every theme, and the awesome support they have to offer.

I hope this has been helpful. If you manage a multisite network, what plugins do you use to help build your community?

No More Right-Clicking Tripawds Images

As flattering as it is when some website publishes images from Tripawds, this is flat out theft, especially when the source is not attributed. Just because an image can be found online, does not mean it is free to use. All Tripawds content is copyrighted and may not be used without permission. That’s why we recently disabled the contextual menu that pops up when right clicking on any image found on all Tripawds Blogs.

How to Disable Right-Click to Stop Copying of Web Images

Wyatt Standing Guard at Denver CO Capitol  Building
Go ahead, right-click this image!*

Enough about why we’ve disabled the right clicking of images. How did we do it?

After posting on BlogPaws to ask what other bloggers do to prevent image theft, we discovered the No Right Click Images WordPress Plugin developed by Keith Graham.

This plugin works by inserting a bit of javascript in the footer of every page that steps through the tags on the page once loaded. It finds all images and sets them so the context menu won’t appear.

While it is impossible to totally prohibit people from stealing images off any web page, the No Right Click Images plugin will deter casual theft from those who do not want to take the extra steps of viewing source code or digging into the browser cache.

One thing overlooked in the installation instructions for this plugin is whether or not it works with WordPress Multisite. Well, here’s proof. By choosing to Network Activate the plugin, the script is loading on all Tripawds Blogs. No more pilfering of our Ruff Wear harness images by other sites that sell it!

The only drawback I see (so far) is that by disabling the menu that appears upon right-click, one cannot copy the link location – handy, for instance, when copying the link to something like the Tripawds e-book Three Legs & A Spare by right-clicking a banner, like this one…

Thankfully, this plugin only disables the contextual menu for images. Text links and other anchor tags are not affected, so right-clicking this link to Jerry’s blog will still let you copy and email someone the link to the latest Tripawds News!

What this means for Tripawds Users

For most Tripawds members, this function should go completely unnoticed. For those who may have noticed the new “No Right Click Images” tab in their dashboard’s Settings menu, no worries. There are no configuration options available for this plugin. Tripawds members who choose to disable the plugin on their blog, may do so from their Plugins menu.

If, however, you’ve made a habit of right-clicking images in your blog to get their file location so you can embed photos in your forum posts, here’s what you need to do now:

  • Visit your blog’s Media Library
  • Find the desired image and click “Edit”
  • Copy the File URL

Any questions? All feedback is welcome about this plugin or our decision to activate it.

*NOTE: The No Right Click Images plugin functions fine, but has been disabled across the Tripawds network after receiving mixed feedback from members. See comments for details.