How NOT to Use WordPress Multisite

WordPress MultiSiteAn unfortunate trend in the blogging world is to mis-use WordPress’ Multisite option. This used to only be available separately, as part of WordPress MU. Now when you get WordPress you also get the “feature” of Multisite, which you can choose to use or not at your discretion. Discretion is apparently not a very well understood concept among bloggers. The word feature is also often misunderstood; just because the feature is available doesn’t mean it’ll do you favors if you use it. Here are a few ways that people misuse Multisite without realizing what they’re doing.

Personal Blogs

If you have a blog that you run on your own, ignore Multisite. No matter how many guest posts or blog sections or pages you have, you don’t need to use Multisite. The temptation may be strong to branch out and use this feature because you want to distinguish between various categories that you specialize in. Don’t do it. Especially if you’re looking at a list of different categories that can’t be lumped together for any reason other than they fall under the category of ‘blog by you’.

Portfolio Websites

This can be done beautifully with Multisite, it really can, but it will make no sense at all for your site. You want to showcase your skills in photography on one site and your writing talent on another? You’re losing crossover and basically distinguishing between two yous. You can put it all together using a single site and your audience will appreciate you more for it.

Small Business Websites

Even if your business wants to have a separate blog that is more informational than sales oriented, you should host it under the same site as the rest of your website. There are a number of reasons to do this, primarily because it’ll bring more traffic to your single site if your blog is local. But you also want to keep your business site simple. Remember, you want to impress someone with information and promises of great services or products and that’s it. You only need one site to do that and WordPress Multisite is going to chop it all up in an unflattering way.

Managing Many Websites with Various Topics

This is the only time when you might benefit from WordPress Multisite. But here’s the thing you should consider: what is it that ties these sites together? If it’s all about you and your blogs or sites, don’t separate them (as discussed above). If you have very different sites, perhaps your site for your accounting consultancy and your blog about your first year of motherhood, do you really want these lumped together? You can easily run them with a single WordPress used in separate installations. Update all of them when you do your updates to keep your sites secure.

Perhaps it Helps to Know What WordPress MultiSite is Used For?

Think about university websites. The school needs a homepage with various pages for admissions, faculty superstars, campus map, etc. But usually each department has their own homepage as well. These sites are all associated with each other and should be linked by a common site, but they can also be managed individually as their own entities.

Consider WordPress’ own homepage with the list of many blogs hosted by WordPress. This is a place where you’ll find blogs about a huge variety of topics, but they’re all under the WordPress umbrella so they’re hosted and listed together. This is how WordPress MultiSite is meant to be used. You may have a use for this feature, but be sure that it’s appropriate or the benefits won’t be beneficial.

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