There are times when you may want to have groups on your blog. Maybe you want to use the platform more as a ‘proper’ website rather than a blog.
We are all familiar with categories & tags for grouping information, but what about if you have a couple of groups within your organisation who each want their own space on the site?
Most people will shout ‘Ning’ at this point, or at least they will have done until last week. Ning is very good but could be too big for what you actually need or want. With a few simple changes you can set WordPress up to do the job for you.
Creating interest groups on your site for different clubs or groups is possible and not as difficult as you may think.
I am assuming that you are starting with a new WordPress blog in these instructions, they will work for an existing blog, but you may have to do some tidying up of categories & tags to make it work properly.
OK some basic changes you need to make to get started.
1 Create an about page (or edit the one that is default in the WP install). This is going to be your new front page so write some nice stuff about your organisation, add some pictures and stuff.
2 Create a page for each of your groups
(I turn comment off on pages generally as I want them to just provide information not discussion, that is what posts are for and also pages look nicer without comments.)
Now you have done this bit, go to your WP dashboard, then select settings on the left hand menu then reading from the sub menu. On the page that opens up right at the top you will see ‘Front Page Displays’ then to the right of that 2 options ‘Your Latest Pots’ or ‘A Static Page’ put the dot in the static page option and then in the drop down below select the name of the about page you created, if you used the WP default it is called ‘About’. Now press save. then go and visit your blog. You should now arrive at the page you wrote about your organisation.
So now we have the basics set up, you have a home page that all your visitors will land on when they visit your site and you have some other pages for the different groups you have. Now we need to do some work on making sure that he groups content is nicely ordered on the site so it can be pulled on to the correct pages.
Setting up categories
On your dashboard, click on posts on the left hand menu then select categories now if it is a new install you will have only one category in the list, this will be uncategorised Edit this by hovering the mouse over the category name in the list on the right of the screen then selecting Edit from the little menu that appears below it. Rename this to the name of one of your groups. leave everything else as default and press update to save.
Now on the left of the screen you will see a section Add Category with an empty white box with Category Name over it, enter the name of another group in here and press the Add Category button below.
Repeat this step until you have created a category for each of your groups.
Now you have your categories set up, you need to let whoever can publish on your site how to use them. Simply if they write about knitting they must use the knitting category to ensure that their post turns up in the right place. Categories are selected from the right hand menu of the create or edit post screen, (it is the bottom box in the right hand sidebar).
You will need to go back to each of your group pages and add a link to the categories.
So all you do is go back to the group page for knitting and select edit, either from the edit button on the page (theme dependent) or via the dash board. Now in the appropriate place you need to add some text like ‘Click here to read our latest knitting posts’ or whatever and adding a link to it.
Handy tip here to create the link, open windows notepad and copy & past your website url in to it, so for example for this site it would be http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk now in notepad add this directly to the end of the url /tag/knitting/
so your notepad should have the following line in it http://yourdomain.wordpress.com/tag/knitting/
Copy this and then back in the wordpress editor highlight the text you want to add the link to and click on the icon on the tool bar that looks like a chain, in the popup window paste the newly extended url in and press save, then press update page to save the changes.
And this is it, job done, all you need to do now is repeat this last bit on each group page you have created, just remember to change the last bit of the link from /knitting/ to /welding/ or whatever on each page so it pulls the correct posts back.
I have created an example site for you here http://mygroupsblog.wordpress.com