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Best Multisite Plugins Build Tripawds Community

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

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

Simple: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?


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

No More Right-Clicking Tripawds Images

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

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.

How Tripawds Got Their Feed Back

Tripawds bloggers may have wondered where their dashboard notice announcing the most recent Tripawds News blog post went a few weeks ago. If not, they’re certain to notice the new announcement listing the five most recent posts from all the Tripawds Featured Blogs.

Tripawds WordPress Dashboard Feed of Most Recent Featured PostsWith the WordPress 3.1.2 update, the “Dashboard Feed” option mysteriously disappeared, leaving site administrators no way to show recent posts in the dashboard of all blogs across the network. It left me wondering what the heck happened! I posted in the WordPress forums about our Missing Recent Posts Feed in User Dashboard, asking if anyone else noticed or had an answer as to why it was gone. Silence.

About a week later, one member finally confirmed the issue and came up with a fix. The solution, however, required hacking the functions.php file which would not work for this community since Tripawds members can choose from more than 130 blog themes. Thanks to our Supporter plugin from WPMU Dev, Tripawds Supporters have access to even more premium themes.

How to Show Recent Posts from RSS Feed in User Dashboard

Piet from WordPress Tips quickly developed this plugin to show the latest posts from the main site of a multisite install in the user dashboard of all sub-sites across the network. By default the widget displays the three most recent posts from the main site. While no configuration is required for those happy with these settings, the plugin can easily be modified.

Multisite Dashboard Feed Widget Configuration Options:

  • Edit msrss.php to add the feed of your choice. (Default: blog_id=1)
  • Edit msrss.php to change the number of posts displayed (Default: 3).
  • Edit msdbfeed.php to change the widget’s title. (Default: Recent Updates)
  • See installation instructions for complete details.

We took things a step further by adding the extra information and links shown below the recent posts, as shown in our screenshot above. We also created a created a custom feed for multiple blogs to use in the widget.

How to Create a Recent Featured Posts Feed

WPMU DEV - The WordPress ExpertsTripawds uses the Recent Global Posts Feed plugin from WPMU Dev to generate our feed for recent posts from all member blogs. This convenient plugin includes a Recent Global Posts Feed Widget for showing our global posts feed as a sidebar widget.

Tripawds Recent Featured Posts

When we wanted to only show posts from certain blogs in Piet’s Dashboard Feed Widget, however, I turned to the WPMU Dev Forums for support. As usual, masonjames had a quick answer for creating our Featured Blogs feed. Following his suggestions, here’s how I did it:

  1. Download the Recent Global Posts Feed plugin.
  2. Save a copy and rename the file “recent-featured-posts-feed.php”
  3. Edit line 3 to change the  plugin name (Plugin Name: Recent Featured Posts Feed)

Next, I added the specific blogs we wanted to include in the feed by editing line 58 as follows:

$query = $wpdb->prepare( "SELECT * FROM " . $wpdb->base_prefix . "site_posts WHERE blog_id IN (1, 167, 500, 138, 113, 262, 3) AND site_id = %d AND blog_public = '1' AND post_type = %s ORDER BY post_published_gmt DESC LIMIT %d", $current_site->id, $posttype, $number);

This is the key part where you will need to replace the blog IDs for sites you want included in the feed:

WHERE blog_id IN (1, 167, 500, 138, 113, 262, 3) AND

Upload the file to wp-content/ and check your new feed. It’s that simple. All thanks to our WPMU Dev Premium subscription!

WPMU DEV - The WordPress Experts

Like and Send Tripawds Posts to Facebook Friends

Facebook recently launched a new Send button for sharing blog posts and other web content with your friends or group members. While the well known Like button lets Facebook members share content with all their friends, the Send button allows them to select a specific friend or group of friends to share what they found.

new facebook share button for sharing blog posts with friends

Now Tripawds members and Facebook Fans – and any visitors who have a Facebook account – can now share the news about great gear, nutrition, gifts or other resources for three legged dogs with the click of a button! The new Send button can now be found on all the Tripawds Featured Blogs, and throughout Jerry’s News Blog.

Find something one of your Facebook friends may find helpful?

  1. Click the Send button.
  2. Enter your friend’s name.
  3. Add a comment. (optional)
  4. Facebook does the rest!

In fact, all Tripawds blogs using the default theme will now show the Send button on all single posts, and pages. Any members using a different theme who would like to have the button added, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

For those keeping score of popular posts, sending a post also counts as a “Like” so get sending those Tripawds posts to all your Facebook friends. For anyone interested in how we did this, read on…

How to add Facebook Send Button to Blog Posts

If you’re having a hard time figuring out Facebook’s Send Button instructions, don’t bother. They don’t work with WordPress anyway. The WordPress multisite gurus at WPMU Dev will likely release an awesome Facebook plugin soon, but if you can’t wait, here’s how I did it.

NOTE: Full credit is due to Ronnie at WPMU.org who wrote complete details about Using the new Facebook ‘Send’ button with WordPress.

1. Assuming you’re comfortable editing theme files and know how, copy this entire bit of code:

<div id="fb-root"></div>
<script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"></script>
<fb:like href="<?php echo get_permalink(); ?>" show_faces="true" width="450" send="true">

</fb:like>

2. Depending on your theme, find the file single.php or loop-single.php and save a copy, just in case.

3. If you have plenty of time on your hands, learn all about the Loop. You don’t need to know what it does, just where it is. But I digress.

4. Paste the code above somewhere in the loop. Search for “entry-content” and insert the code on a new line before the <div> to show the Facebook Like and Send buttons before at the top of all your blog posts.

4b. The proper location may be determined by “the-entry” or “post-content” – again, this will depend upon your selected theme. Play with positioning and check your work.

5. Finally, you can customize how the buttons display with some attributes.

That’s it! You can see the buttons in action at the top of this post. I also added the buttons to page.php so readers can send their friends helpful pages like the Tripawds Gear Shop. And I added it to various page theme files I customized during our Tripawds makeover, so they show on the Tripawds Forums, Chat and Store pages.

I also chose to hide facebook user profile avatars from showing beneath the buttons by adding the attribute: show_faces=”false”

Adding Facebook Send Button using an iFrame

As with any coding project it seems, there is bound to be conflict somewhere. And I found it with this one upon discovering that the new Send button code provided above broke our dropdown navigation menus on the News blog.

facebook send button script breaks dropdown menu navigation iframe fix

Either the <div> or the script was causing the buttons to show through the menu, or the menu to drop down behind the buttons. However you choose to frame that, it wouldn’t work. So I fixed it with an iframe.

The WPMU Nelo Custom CMS WordPress theme from WPMU Dev that we use for the Tripawds News blog came with an integrated Facebook Like button option. I was able to fix the issue with a simple edit to the iframe by adding the attribute: send=true

Below is the iframe code we’re using on the News blog. It would get inserted in the same place as described above. (Use at your own risk.)

<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=<?php echo urlencode(get_permalink($post->ID)); ?>&amp;layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;send=true&amp;colorscheme=light" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:30px"></iframe>

Download WordPress Guide To Easy Blogging

We considered posting this in the Tripawds Downloads blog, but it has much more to do with blogs than it is about three legged dogs.

Download Free WordPress Editors Guide

While we provide Tripawds bloggers with helpful WordPress tutorial videos, and do our best to answer any technical questions about blogging in the Tech Support forum, we want to provide more information for those who want it. That’s why we’re making this comprehensive guide detailing How To Publish a WordPress Blog available as a free PDF download.

How to Use WordPress Blog Dashboard

This comprehensive WordPress How To Guide covers everything you need to know about writing posts and pages, customizing your blog layout, moderating comments and much, much more. And did we mention it is absolutely free? This is just another value added service we are able to offer thanks to our WPMU Dev Membership.

Behind the Scenes is brought to you by Tripawds.
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