Most anyone who’s started a blog has at some point felt the urge to start yet another blog – on some different topic or another. You know, we may be passionate about something, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be passionate about other thins as well.
For example, we started Ask Dan & Jennifer to focus on all topics love & sex, but not long thereafter we also started Blog Success Journal to share all the fun stuff we were learning about blogging. And a while after that we kicked off yet another site, Today Is That Day, which is about all topics personal development.
See the trend? They’re multiplying!
So what’s the problem with starting multiple blogs?
Nothing really, it’s a great idea and in some cases works great, i.e. for us it’s a great thing. But even we have to be careful in balancing our time and effort between the 3 sites… you only have so much focused time you can invest every day.
Then there are the technical gotchas: managing the tech behind all those websites. Let’s say you have a great web host and they keep your server running smoothly (here’s the ONLY web host we recommend if you’re just getting started).
But you still need to install and run your website software, which for most blogs is (and really should be) WordPress. And until recently, you could only run 1 single blog / website from a WordPress installation. That means that every time you wanted to create a new blog / website you had to do a brand new WordPress install… which leaves you with a bunch of WordPress installs to run. We have about 10 WordPress installs at this point, but more on that.
OK, so what’s the problem with running multiple WordPress installs?
No big deal right? Sure it may take 30 minutes to get it up and running, but that’s just the “down payment”; here’s where it gets hairy: you’ll have to maintain yet another new WordPress install going forward. That means regular WordPress updates, installing and configuring all the required plugins, updating those plugins regularly, etc. Pretty soon you’re a support slave to your several sites – argh! If only there was a better way…
So what is WordPress Multisite (formerly known as WordPress MU)?
Great news.. now there IS a better way! As of WordPress 3.0, the previously separate project called WordPress MU (WordPress Multi-User) has been fully integrated into WordPress so now it’s much easier to install and manage for the rest of us.
So that means that when you install WordPress you can now choose to install as a single site, OR create a “network” – meaning you can run and manage all your WordPress websites from one place. Awesome!
Benefits of WordPress Multisite over many standalone WordPress installations
1.) One WordPress is much easier to manage than 10 = better use of your valuable time
Installing, configuring, managing, and upgrading one instance of WordPress and all its plugins at one time for all your websites is a GOOD THING… much easier for you to do and keep track of than say, 10 WordPress installs. And when managing a system is easy and straightforward, you’re much more likely to do it right and do it consistently. 🙂
Time, friends, is the most valuable commodity you will ever have. You don’t so much spend your time as you invest it. And as the stock market has shown us all, some investments net better returns than others…
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.”
– Benjamin Franklin, Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day
“To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”
– Bruce Lee, Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day
2.) Better site performance = faster response time = more search engine traffic
Each WordPress installation takes a significant amount of resources on your server (that means CPU cycles and RAM, and a little disk space)… and you can pretty much multiply that requirement by the number of WordPress installations you’re running. Think of it this way: they leaner you run, the less your hosting bill will be, and the FASTER your website will be. Faster website = more search engine traffic – because Google absolutely cares and takes site response time into account when ranking your site compared to others.
Have you actually seen a working WordPress Multisite in the wild? Is it stable?
Absolutely! In true Dan & Jennifer fashion we put our money where our mouth is so to speak, and went “Multisite” on our site Today Is That Day.
Previously, Today Is That Day was made up of two WordPress installs:
- The Today Is That Day Magazine – articles, videos, etc.
- Inspirational Quotes from Today Is That Day – our hand-picked selecting of hundreds of the best Inspirational Quotes
Today those two WordPress installs have been combined and are running smoothly as 1 WordPress Multisite.
And don’t think that combining those two WordPress installs into one is not worth it… it absolutely is. Today Is That Day “for now” only had two WordPress installs running it, but we’d already planned two more for features to be added in the coming months.
And Ask Dan & Jennifer, which has been around significantly longer and is far more complex, is currently running on 4 WordPress installs, with more planned. So moving THAT to Multisite will be a great help.
One minor clarification: a Wordpres Multisite install an be for different domains (www.site1.com, www.site2.com), or for different “sections” of one website, which is how we use it (see example above for Today Is That Day: one is a “subdirectory” of the other).
You can also certainly install a single Multisite to manage your different WordPress domains… and at some point we’re going to do that for the several simpler WordPress website we’re running. But our current goal is consolidating all the different WordPress installs for each of our main websites into one WordPress per site.
So how DO you upgrade your existing WordPress installs to WordPress Multisite?
So now that we know about WordPress Multisite, the obvious next question is… how do I migrate my 10 WordPress installations into a single “easy to manage” WordPress Multisite?
Yes, between Ask Dan & Jennifer, Today Is That Day, and Blog Success Journal, we really do (or rather did) have about 10 active WordPress installs. And yes, it was quite a pain staying on top of them all. So we’re quite pleased to be migrating them all to the Multisite model.
First, you’ll want to be running the latest version of WordPress. You can even use WordPress auto install (or auto upgrade) for that, very easy.
But then comes the more involved process… enabling your “Multisite” and then migrating your other sites INTO it. Stay tuned, that answer along with all the gory and magical details of “how to do it” is coming up shortly…