Installing WordPress Multisite for TLDs

These days, a lot of the websites I create are using WordPress on the backend. It’s a breeze to install, fairly light weight, and the developer community around it is fantastic.

The only complaint that I ever have with it is that its framework is being updated ALL THE FREAKING TIME. And it probably wouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but having it say “There’s a new WordPress version” every time you login is kind of annoying. And its even MORE annoying when it happens on CLIENT sites because they expect you to constantly update it for every little change in version. Usually I just say “No thanks”, but despite this I still try and update it for the big releases.

And ladies and gentlemen, I believe that WordPress 3.0 is such a release.

Multisite Functionality Built In
If you’ve been a user of WordPress for any period of time, you may want to check out all the cool additions that are now in 3.0. For me, the biggest feature has GOT TO BE Multisite Functionality or WordPress Mu integration. If you’re not familiar with WordPress Mu, it allows you to run multiple sites off of one WordPress installation. But because it was always treated as a bit of a seperate product, there was an evident lack of consistency between the two products from a usability and functionality point of view. Now to be fair, I don’t know for sure that that has changed, but everything I’ve seen so far leads me to believe it has.



Why I Need WordPress Mu or WordPress Multi-Site
If you don’t know why this is so cool, you probably have not tried to use WordPress Mu and/or have never had a collection of sites powered on WordPress. In my case, I have done both. I had one site that is no longer up called Learn Stuff Online which was basically an About.com before About.com was what it is now. It was supposed to generate tons of AdSense revenue but it was a lot harder to manage than I thought it would be. I had multiple “subjects” on multiple subdomains (hometheater.lso.com, internet.lso.com, etc) and always updating html files to update content on the site became old quick. So one day I had an epiphony to try this whole WordPress Mu thing and I got it KIND OF working. To be honest, it took a lot of work and never felt all the way there as I had to do a lot of fudging on the functionality side to get things working the way I thought they ought to.



Fast forward a couple years, and now I have a collection of my own MFA sites that are powered by WordPress. And more to the point, they are all powered by their own separate WordPress installations. So when I need to create a new site, update the WordPress base or update the slew of plugins on these sites – It’s a huge pain. Now to be honest I don’t think that’s why I hardly update content on those sites, but I think it definitely has kept me at arms reach from doing anything really impactfull with them.

Multisite in WordPress 3.0 is Awesome
But now with WordPress 3.0, I can run all of these sites from a single WordPress installation. That’s right, I’m not just talking about subdomains or directories on a single domain (which you can do too), I’m talking about powering multiple TLDs with a single WordPress 3.0 installation. It took me a lot of figuring out to do it, but with a bit of research and a LOT of work, I did it – And I’ll show you how to do the same. Oh, and before we begin let me say that I host with LunarPages and I have a dedicated server. I’ll show you exactly what I’ve done and I think if you’re in a similar (or even not) a similar situation you should be able to do the same.

Steps to Install WordPress 3.0 Multisite

  1. Download and Install WordPress 3.0.
  2. Download and MANUALLY install the Trunk Version of the Domain Mapping Tool.
  3. Create new WordPress site.
  4. Map TLD to new WordPress site.
  5. Test new WordPress site.

Download and Install WordPress 3.0
So first, go to WordPress.org, download version 3.0 and install it on a domain on your server. Once you’re done and you can ensure that it’s working – go to the next step.

Download and MANUALLY Install the Trunk Version of the Domain Mapping Tool
This part of the tutorial is what I really gleamed from Otto’s post sited below and linked here: http://ottopress.com/2010/wordpress-3-0-multisite-domain-mapping-tutorial/. The domain mapping tool is what’s going to make sure that when someone hits one of your TLDs, that it goes to the appropriate place for your single WordPress installation to serve its particular content. To get the files, download them from here: http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/wordpress-mu-domain-mapping/trunk/, and then follow steps 1-3 on Otto’s site to MANUALLY INSTALL the Domain Mapping Tool.

Create New WordPress Site
At this point, you should have the Domain Mapping Tool rockin’ and rollin so in your Dashboard go to “Super Admin->Sites” and fill out the bottom blanks under “Add Site”. So for instance, you can enter “test” for Site Address, “Test” for Site Title and an appropriate e-mail for Admin Email. Once you’re editing this new site, change the “Domain” blank to the exact address of your TLD (i.e, example.com). For “Path”, enter “/”. Under Site options, make sure Siteurl is the domain name “http://example.com”, under Home enter “http://example.com” and for Fileupload Url enter “http://example.com/files”. Then scroll all the way down and click the “Update Options” button.

Map new TLD to WordPress Site
Now at this point, your WordPress install should be setup to serve files and content for your new site. And even though we’ve pointed everything correctly in the Domain Mapping Tool, we haven’t actually setup your TLD to point to this WordPress location. For me, this was hands down the hardest part of the install as I couldn’t figure out how to get the server part of this whole thing working. What started me on the good path was Matt Dunlap’s post on the subject here: http://mattdunlap.org/website-development/wordpress/how-to-create-a-network-of-top-level-domains-with-wordpress-3-0.html where he directs you to editing your httpd.conf file. I did this and I believe I got it to work, but I really didn’t like editing my conf file directly. So instead, I went into my WHM and parked my new TLD on top of the domain I installed WordPress on. After that I was IN baby!

Test Final WordPress Site and Tweak if Necessary
So at this point if you’ve setup everything correctly and you’re money like me, you should be able to see your new site when visiting your new TLD. If not, you obviously need to find out what’s wrong. For me, it’s usually in the individual site settings under “Super Admin->Sites”. There’s a little checkbox labeled “Update siteurl and home as well”. This whole section just doesn’t update as I thought it would so I ended up going back in and editing this information again.

NOTE : This was a REALLY long post and I will probably come back and edit it when I get the chance to make it much more helpful.

Also, it wouldn’t be nice of me to not credit the various pages I found that helped me out installing WordPress Multisite on my own server:

My PageRank is Back!

Unbelievably, only days after submitting a reinclusion request to Google, I rechecked my PageRank and am showing a healthy PR of 3! Honestly, I don’t know if this is going to mean much for my site and blog monetization going forward, but it was on my list of things to take care of “now that I’m back”, and I’m very happy it’s all done.

If you’re in the same place I was in, feel free to check out this post from Matt Cutts: and it wouldn’t hurt to also look at this one from the always supportive Andy Beard! Oh, and in the event that you DON’T want to read those posts, here’s the summary on how to remedy this problem:

  • Remove yourself from paid links on your site.
  • Take down your paid links or nofollow them.
  • Think about removing those paid link pages entirely.
  • Think about removing the code on your site linking to paid link companies.
  • Go to the Dashboard in Google Sitemaps and click the link on the right that reads, “Request Reinclusion”.
  • Tell Google you’re sorry, what you did, what you did to fix it, and why it will never happen again.
  • Give me a high five.

WordPress Archive Dropdown

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for a while was clean up my sidebars. They were WAY long and that was mostly because my categories and archive sections were being completely listed out. I mean, you blog for any amount of time and these things are bound to happen. So I had two things I could do. I could either:

  • Stop displaying this stuff entirely or
  • Find a new way to display them.

For a second, I thought about putting this stuff into the footer somehow but after I spent all the time making my kicka$$ new one, I said I would just make dropdowns out of this content. For the category dropdown, that was easy enough to do after I found this page on WordPress. The archive dropdown was a bit harder because I couldn’t find code on WordPress that worked exactly like the category dropdown did. That is, the code I found on WordPress would go to the archive section immediately after selecting it from the dropdown instead of after hitting a submit button. So just in case any of you out there need this, here’s the code I came up with:

[sourcecode language=’html’]





[/sourcecode]

Sorry it looks so ugly but at the moment I don’t have time to play with this tool to make things look perfect and bring the font down. In any case, you should be able to just copy the code, clean it up and put it in wherever you need it. Hope this helps!

I Did a Bad Bad Thing – Paid to Blog

When we were younger, we all did stupid things. I for one let a friend borrow my car in college who had multiple wrecks and crashes, all of which were his fault. When he came back the first thing he said was, “Wow, I didn’t know your car could go that fast!” See? That was a stupid thing for me to do. And unfortunatly as we get older, we are still prone to stupid things. For me, that includes participating in Pay Per Post, Review Me, where I was paid to blog.

Why I Did It
That’s an easy one – Money! At the time, I was really interested in monetizing my site and the quickest and easiest way to do that was by writing paid posts. At first, the whole thing seemed great – Get paid anywhere from $5 and up to write posts on topics that fit with what I was talking about anyway… Write a couple of those per week and you could get some decent side cash.



Everything That Glitters…
After a little while of doing this, the luster really started to fade. For one, you’re kinda limited on what you talk about and how you can talk about it. And when that happens, blogging stops being fun and starts being a lot like a job which is no bueno. Secondly, paid postings can really undermine the spirit your blog. For me, I’ve always wanted a cool little place where I could talk about things that interested me and people could chime in if they saw something that piqued their interest. To do that, you can’t come off as a corporate shill. (See where I’m going with this)? Thirdly, if you want to monetize your blog, there are better ways (imo) to go about doing it such as selling ad spots, AdSense, and working the affiliate marketing angle

Not to Mention that Google HATES Paid Postings
Back then, I MIGHT have read somewhere that Google was going to punish those who were paid to blog. Then again I might not’ve. More likely, I might have read it and glossed over the implications of it all together. Well kiddies, if you’re at the beginning of site monetization and don’t get why Google hates paid postings, let me break it down for you.



Google wants to have the best search engine in the world right? That means that when you search for something in Google, the results you’ll get will help you find what you’re really looking for. Well how does Google figure that out? In a nutshell, they assign importance to pages based on a number of factors including how many other pages link to them with certain text in the links. For instance, if enough people link to this site with the anchor text “cool guy”, Google will think that I am this “cool guy” everyone is talking about and will make me appear higher in the search engine results. When you do a paid posting and link to a page with certain keyword text because you were PAID to, it kind of messes up what Google is trying to do. Got it?

Now Why is This a Problem?
If you’re lucky enough to start making money through CPC advertising, you really depend on your search engine traffic. And when Google penalizes you for selling links, you won’t be able to get that search engine traffic you’d otherwise be loving… Which to be honest is kind of where I’m at. It’s only recently that I’ve come back to blogging and before I left I think I had a healthy PR of about a 3. But since then I’ve dropped to (I believe) a 0, and that was after Google went after everyone selling links. This PR drop is probably indicative of a penalty I have which is making me lose a lot of traffic. Despite this however, I’m still making a little bit from AdSense every month but obviously I know I could be doing better.

Repairing the Damage
Some of you have already noticed the little things I’ve been doing to clean up shop around here, but I think this is one of the more important subjects that I need to address. The worse part about this is (like so many other things) that if I had divorced myself from paid postings before my big blogging absensce (way back when), none of this would have been a problem. C’est la vie I suppose but from what I’ve read around the net, dealing with this stuff once you’ve already been penalized can take some time. BUT, it does look like hope is out there so today I will file a reinclusion or reconsideration request from Google. That means I will not be paid to blog anymore!

Wish me luck!

Here, There and Everywhere!

Lately, I’ve really felt like that. I’ve had so many things going on but surprisingly, I’ve actually been doing a good job with taking care of them. Well… Except for blogging. But then again, what else is new. (#):)

Venture Numero Uno
So I know you’re wondering what I’ve been up to and I wish I could say. But the funny thing is… When you’re trying to make it in different ventures and trying to convince others to give you large sums of money… Well, you have to watch what you say and where you say it so that you don’t damage the brand you’re trying to create. Make sense? I guess I learned this sentiment when I was actively practicing Real Estate and maybe I can present it another way just to drive the point home… While I know what I’m doing (I get paid very well at my 9-5 to do it), have been doing it for years, (about 15 years), and speak very well… Many potential suitors will forget those things when they see that I’m relatively young, don’t have an office, and haven’t been “in business” for that long. You know what I mean? It’s always the chicken and the egg thing… You can’t get business unless you’ve already done business.



But don’t think that I’m complaining about my situation. These last two weeks have been really hard but I’m out there doing the justice, creating some great work, and at the very least putting together a solid foundation for tomorrow and future clients. And at the risk of counting my eggs before they’re hatched, I think I’m probably going to get at least one sale out of everything. So BANGARANG.

Venture Numero Dos
So I have another venture I’m working on too that I’m keeping the wraps on. That’s one that I’m REALLY excited about and have started some preliminary work on as well. I won’t say much at this point just that it deals with affiliate marketing, is a great idea (if I say so myself), and I owe the idea to my favourite radio show. I know this post isn’t really entertaining since I’m heavily censoring myself, but at least with this one you’ll hear more sooner rather than later. Maybe in time this blog will turn out to be like Bob Parson’s of GoDaddy where I can finally take ownership of all this stuff and not have to be so clandestine about everything.



Something I CAN Talk About
One of the things that I started working on again was Learn Stuff Online! It’s my project that will never die!!! Honestly, it could’ve very well gone away but then I was looking at my earnings for Bush Mackel off of AdSense and I’m nearing like $10 a month on passive income! I know that’s not much for a LOT of people out there, but for me that’s really cool. ESPECIALLY since I don’t do much on this site to target specific targets or keywords. So after I saw that, I thought that I should really work on Home Theater How To @ LSO and maybe it would start paying off by the end of the year. Now not surprisingly, I’ve been slacking on THAT like I have on this blog but maybe now that things are returning to normal as far as my busyness is concerned I can really get on there and get my posting frequency back up!

My Super Slow Computer
My desktop at home is slower than molasses. The fact that I blew out the BIOS a while back while overclocking my rig doesn’t help the problem either. In a nutshell, my one SATA drive that has all my stuff needs to be re-formatted. Even with ad-aware, anti-virus and defrags, sometimes you just need to do it. Well, it seems like I couldn’t reformat it so instead I took it out and tried to start fresh with a good ol’ ATA drive. That worked like a charm and now I can actually run “msconfig” and install SP3 (which I couldn’t do before). Now I’m in the process of getting everything I need from the old drive to the new one. And then maybe I can work on the SATA drive again but currently I can’t select boot order so if I have both drives in, the SATA drive also gets priority blah blah blah

And Now the Miscellaneous
Well I took sometime this afternoon (or yesterday afternoon by the time you read this) to make some small changes to this site. I tell ya, small changes can do wonders as I really couldn’t STAND looking at this site for more than a minute. Still has a ways to go, but at least I can stomach it. What do you think? Can anyone notice the differences?

And last LAST night the wife helped me reverse the way my desk is built and in my house, it really lends itself well to its space now… Boring I know, but it’s one of those changes that you can just “breathe out” about. Everything feels just so much better now… Like I can breathe. Plus, I threw out a lot of stuff that was clogging up my desk so working on it now just feels great.



And aside from all that, I’m also doing decently well with Physical Therapy and Allergy Shots. Yeah, you didn’t even know I was doing that stuff right? Well normally I don’t have an opportunity to do it with my 45 minute commute to work and all, but it got to a place with my feet/knees and allergies that I had to make a change and start focusing on ME again. Admittedly, I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to keep it up with my 9 to 5 but here’s hoping it’s a while longer.

Finally, I don’t remember the last time I turned on my 360 was. My bulb just went in my projector, and I pretty much refuse to play games anywhere but my basement. AND I just re-did my home theater cabinet too!! ARGH! You know what the last straw was? My wife brought her family over and put on Twilight. That movie has clearly ruined my life. Ok, well I’ve written enough here to cover 5 posts from me so hope you enjoyed it and thanks for all the follows on Twitter! Any bets as to whether its up or not right now?

Changing LSO – Hopefully For the Better

This weekend was remarkably unproductive, not to say that I really had a hit list of things I wanted to accomplish or anything…

But ONE of the things I DID want to do was really doing some damage to my gamerscore and I think I ended up getting oh… 10 or 20pts this weekend. Ha ha… BUT, I did set the foundation.

Though honestly I’m not sure if I’m even going to get around to those games this week because of work and web design.

Long story Short
I’m not sure if it’s apparent on here (’cause I’m hardly posting anything these days) but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this blog, LSO, and my web design stuff I’m desperately trying to get off the ground… The web design stuff is hitting and missing right now but I really want to keep at it because I believe that I can make it work. For everything else, I knew that I needed to do something different because I’m not particular happy with this blog or LSO. The reason why I’m not happy with THIS blog is because the design/layout of it just isn’t working for me. But that’s a relatively quick fix. The LSO stuff is a bigger thing.



LSO Can Work!
If you guys aren’t familiar with one of my bigger projects, Learn Stuff Online was intended to be a huge content site whose primary source of revenue was AdSense. And as most of you know, AdSense is really a numbers game so when I started LSO, I had friends of mine come onto the project with me and start writing content. Unfortunately, all of them turned out to be horrible writers or horribly unproductive so LSO kind of fell by the way side.

But I always knew it could work.

My AdSense Account
So I’m checking out my AdSense account the other day for LSO, and I noticed that I’m close to payout! Turns out that basically my 24 pages on there are doing like $5 of revenue a month! I know that’s like nothing, but they’re being hit for n00b keywords and still doing KINDA decent numbers (AdSense) wise. So last night I finally made a decision about LSO. I had already integrated WordPress into a new test domain for LSO (for affiliate marketing) and I now wanted it everywhere on the site. I tried this once before (installing WordPress mu) and I never could get it working but last night I tried again and after MUCH effort, I managed to get it done!

Going Forward
Here’s what I’m thinking: I’ve learned so much from blogging over this past two years or whatever. (I think it’s my anniversary or something!) I think I can leverage that power with AdSense and SEO and finally get Learn Stuff Online up and running generating income. I made a mistake before of trying to do too much too fast (running multiple sub domains at once), but if I can get one sub domain up and running and making money, then I SHOULD be able to bring in a copy writer to keep it going and move onto the next! See where I’m going with this?

OK – More to come on the Mu install later! But I hope you’re as excited about this as I am!

New Blogger Chad Dukes Puts it Out There

Those of you that subscribe to this blog PROBABLY don’t know of The War Machine a.k.a. Bradley Fukes a.k.a. Chad Dukes. But you probably should as he’s one half of the radio team “Big O and Dukes” which have a radio show here in the Washington DC area. But that’s neither here nor there at the moment…

Chadwick has recently started a blog called The Fukerton where he talks about several things you’ll find on his show including video games, girls, comics… Basically whatever is worth a decent discussion. Well after a little while of plugging away at his blog trying to make a buck, yesterday he said this over the air…

Chad Dukes (podcast from Segment 10 [10/16]) –

This website thing is just eating me alive dude like just trying to learn everything about like running a website is so time consuming and I have so much more respect for like people that actually do it for a living that like Tyler Durden and all these blogs that we go to like superficial and deadspin and bloody elbow and all these blogs..

I get a feeling that a lot of people think the Internet is like a goldmine and it’s just a way that you can just make a quick buck and become famous real quick… It is A LOT of F’ing work – I got like 3 guys helping me out and it’s just… I just have a lot of respect for people that do that for a living at this point.

It’s such an unbelievable amount of work and really, I’ve earned a great deal of respect for people that do it now just trying to do my little low rent thing. So, I dunno… If that’s the way that you can make a living doing that then more power to you. That’s a hustle like no other. That’s like selling cans. You know the people who collect cans and sell them? Like to me, that’s what blogging is like. It’s just like selling cans where you know you make so little money…

And it goes on from there. My advice for the guy (coming where I am with my site now) is try and figure out really WHY you’re doing the blog and WHAT you want to do with it. I think we’ve all been where Chad has been but for all of us (and I’m thinking Chad included), our blogs are a labor of love and if we’re lucky enough to make some side money from it that’s just a bonus.



So anyone else have any advice for Chad a new blogger? And BTW, if you want to check out his show, you can listen to a live stream from wjfk.com from 10:20ish to 3pm (EST) or check out his podcasts that you can also get from WJFK!

Tim's New Blog!

In the early days of this blog (yes, earlier than now) I became friends with Tim over at Listikal.com. I can’t really believe it but a little over a year ago, Tim left his site because he thought he was too busy to maintain it and started writing over at Connected Internet.

When it happened I couldn’t really believe it, but now having a couple more blogging months under my belt – I can completely understand why he did what he did. In fact, I think giving a concrete “I won’t be writing anymore for a while” post on his main blog was a very thoughtful thing to do for all of his readers.



If we fast forward to today… I bring to you news that Tim has found a new blog to call his own, The Windows Fix! So do me a favor and go over and check his new site out and drop a comment for him while you’re there. (#):)

Hello WordPress 2.5.1!

Well this is certainly becoming quite a productive day.

So far I’ve managed to get some laundry done, hang out with the family, AND upgrade WordPress.

I will say though –

The admin environment for 2.5 is certainly going to take some getting used to but I’m sure the updates to the codebase will win me over soon enough.

You kids out there like 2.5?

teddY's Great New Design!

It’s not too often on here that I write posts about art or design, but maybe because of my latest efforts in that field or maybe just because I secretly like this stuff (which is odd for a programmer)…

I felt compelled to shed some light on teddY-risatioN’s new design!

Before he released it today, I really didn’t think that I could like it as much as I did his old theme, but he really surprised me when it was unveiled and it absolutely floored me!

So Many Things To Love!
It’s hard trying to comment on the design because there are so many good things about it (imo) but I’m going to try my best and see what I come with…

  • The Colors – He uses blues very well in this design… And all of them combine very well in the background and in the header and in the teddY-risatioN text. Furthermore, where he uses lots of other colors (in the header nav) and in the sidebar, they go very well there too. In the header the colors on the nav are blended very nicely so they don’t seem out of place, but are still different enough from the background to standout. In the sidebar the colors are a bit more grabby, but it works really well in the white area me thinks.
  • The Top Nav – On most sites, (like this one currently) the top nav is usually just text. But teddY went out of the way to make his special and you see that with the cool Chemistry like symbol buttons. Very fresh and creative plus it certainly draws your attention in because of its uniqueness forcing you to check out areas of the site that would probably otherwise go overlooked.
  • Sidebar – The problem with a lot of sidebars is that they always have to that delicate dance of “how much content” vs “how long” but here it is done quite well and attractively using collapseable areas.
  • Footer – I’m a big fan of having footers on your blog, (even though I haven’t done it here) and putting a lot of good information in it. teddY also does this one well by adding a lot of good information down here that regular readers will love to see, but making sure not to have anything in there that’s WAY too precious (imo).

Again, well done teddY and I hope next redesign on here I can come up with something half as good as what you have!