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Gathering and Displaying Content Across Your WordPress Network

Handy WordPress plugins enable you to gather content from sites across your WordPress network to display on the front page of your network’s main site. You can also list network sites and display comments. These simple strategies make your WordPress Network more cohesive.

Gathering content

One of the best ways to pull visitors into your site is to display a short list of headlines from posts made by other sites within your network. With a single WordPress site, this is handled by the Recent Posts widget. When running a network, however, there’s no built-in way to pull a list of posts from across all the sites in your network. However, the Recent Global Posts widget plugin available from the folks at WPMU Premium Dev can do this for you quickly and efficiently, and includes a handy widget to make it easy for you to add recent posts from across your network of sites to your main website.

Plugins from WPMU Dev Premium are not free, and you cannot access them from the official WordPress Plugins Directory. You need to pay for and register a membership at their site.

After you have your membership, log in and download the Recent Global Posts Widget.

Listing network sites

To list all the sites in the network, use the Multi-Site Site List Shortcode plugin available for free from the WordPress Plugin Directory. You install this plugin just as you do any other plugin in WordPress.

To use the information this plugin provides, you must include a shortcode that the plugin developer includes, within the body of a page, or a post. The most common and useful method is to create a page that includes the plugin shortcode. This example uses the default Twenty Ten theme:

  1. Log in to the WordPress Dashboard on the main site.

  2. Choose Pages and click Add New.

  3. Fill in a title for your page.

    Something like: Network Sites List

  4. Add this short code in the body of your page:

    [site-list]
  5. Publish the page.

Displaying user comments

When running multiple sites, you may also want to display a list of the most recent comments from across the network. The Diamond Multsite widgets plugin lets you do just that.

Install the plugin, and click the Network Activate link. Open the Appearance menu and choose Widgets in the Dashboard area of your site to load the Widgets page, and you see that a new widget has been added called Diamond Recent Comments.

Drag this widget to the sidebar of your choosing and it will display a list of the most recent comments from every site on the entire network. The widget has configurable options; if you expand the Diamond Recent Comments widget, there are several optional settings to configure.

Be sure to click the Save button within the widget to save all the settings you created here.

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