Creating Micro-sites Using WordPress: An Innovative Trend to Deviate from Existing Themes
Websites tend to strive for uniqueness while promoting their enterprise. One such trend in recent times is the use of micro-sites. A micro-site is a web page or a group of web pages that differentiate a specific topic about the website from the central topic or the main content of the website. These micro-sites may provide an in-depth, more detailed and/or specialized group of information. In technical terms, a micro-site is a feature of WordPress that enables multiple sites to share a single installation of WordPress along with providing a stylistically different interactive interface altogether. Once you install WordPress on the server, you can create as many sites as you want—a site within a site, and a theme within a theme.
Micro-site is an advanced feature of WordPress that adds potential to it as a Content Management System. It provides an orderly and organized way to create multiple sites at one place. One can also make commercial profit by letting others host their sites into one’s.
In the WordPress installation process for micro-sites, there are two differences in the files and folders. The wp-config.php file has extra lines of code that activates micro-site and notifies WordPress how it is running. The wp-uploads folder contains a subfolder for each micro-site during the installation process. The substantial advantage with WordPress lies in the fact that it manages the file structure itself.
Activating micro-site depends upon whether the parent site is a new site or an established site. Activating micro-site on a fresh installation of WordPress involves a few more steps.
Download and install WordPress in the usual manner on the server or the local machine.
In the folder where you have installed WordPress, open the file named wp-config.php. A line that reads
“/*That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.*/”
Add another line immediately above that line, which reads
“define( ‘WP_ALLOW_MICROSITE’, true );”
Save the wp-config.php file.
Now we will install micro-site through the WordPress admin screens. From the WordPress admin, go to Tools>Network Setup. You will be asked to choose subdomains and subdirectories, which you can choose on the basis of your requirement or leave the default value as they are before clicking on the install button.
In the final step, WordPress provides you some code that you have to copy in the files config.php and .htaccess. Save both the files.
After saving the files, log in again. WordPress micro-site can now be installed from the dashboard. You can now add sites, plug-ins, themes, etc. from the dashboard.
For an established WordPress installation, the options to select subdomains and subdirectories is not available. One is forced to use subdomains if the site is in existence for more than a month.
In the installation process for WordPress and for creating micro-sites, the most important steps are those of creating a custom post type, modifying the templates of the themes, and customized development of plug-ins. Creation of a plug-in that separates the micro-site content from main content requires creation of a new post type within WordPress installation. This plug-in in addition to taking care of our micro-site reduces the overhead to simple arrays and few lines of code.
Defining a different theme within the theme is optional. One would always, however, like the styling of its micro-site conspicuously different from the main site. With the use of stylesheets and slight modifications made into them, achieving a micro-site with a different styling and functionality is not difficult.
After the changes are made and the uploading is done on the server, it is best to watch out for errors that may creep-in. The new-functionality must be thoroughly checked and once convinced, the micro-site with latest content can be filled-in for a delightful journey of interactive content communication.