This year, I’ve knuckled under and started a site that hosts all my teaching blogs on the same site. (No, I’m not going to link to it, because I’m not happy with everything yet.) WordPress 3.0 makes hosting multiple blogs on the same domain pretty easy to do, so the process of setting up WP sites for three courses was fairly uneventful.
Except: There’s boilerplate that needs to be in every syllabus or course website. Some of this is pretty static (such as a statement on accessibility), but some of it might change at regular intervals (my office hours/schedule for a semester).
I am a lazy, lazy person, and have no interest in posting three times what I can do once, especially if I might have to change it later. What I wanted, then, was the ability to write either a page or a post to one WP installation, and have it appear on the others. Ideally, if I updated the original page or post, those changes would be propagated through the system, too.
Asking on Twitter didn’t help, but some searching (because while I’m too lazy to write a “contact” page three times, I’m totally fine with Googling for an hour) turned up a solution: ThreeWP-Broadcast. ThreeWP-Broadcast is a network plug-in that lets pages and posts be shared among some or all of the WP installs on a networked WP site. Those pages/posts can be linked, so that changes on the original show up everywhere, or they can be separate. (Regardless of which option you choose, the plugin usually creates a new page on each site–it’s not that one page actually shows up in multiple blogs. It is possible, however, to force the child pages/posts to use the permalink of the original.)
Here’s a screenshot:
The plug-in has a variety of helpful options: Obviously the plugin only lets you broadcast posts when you actually have write access to the various blogs. But you can also restrict access to the broadcast feature by role (admin, editor, author), and you can group blogs that will usually get posts. You can also specify blogs that will *never* receive a broadcast post.
Right now, it seems to work a treat, and has been a timesaver in the setup of these course blogs. As always, it’s important to keep in mind Julie Meloni’s excellent advice for considering WordPress plug-ins, and checking out other plug-in recommendations, such as Ethan’s 5 plug-ins he can’t live without, George’s 5 more essential plug-ins, Billie’s roundup of favorites, and more.
Do you have an alternative solution to posting content across multiple WP installs? Have a new favorite plug-in? Let us know in comments!