The Brief: Multiple WordPress sites – one domain for Assist

The Assist website is in reality three websites in one, yes multiple wordpress sites one domain. Yvette the owner of the business wanted something quite unique, a website that had two distinct halves but one common theme. That might sound like a bit of gobbledygook but it actually is quite straight forward.

Design a WordPress website with an index page that could direct people in two separate ways. The first way is to the Animal Care side of the business, the second way is to the Child Care part of the business. Once in either side, the navigation is to change so it only shows links to the other pages within that section. Both sections are to have a specific header. The header must show the section logo. The index page is to show both logos. There are three separate URLs a main URL that is to direct traffic to the index page, an Animal variation of the URL which needs to link straight to the Animal side of the business and a Child variation ot the URL to link to the Child care side of the business.

The solution to this could have been solved with WordPress Multi site enabled, but that’s not how Yvette wanted the URL’s in the site to look, so… how was it achieved?

The Solution

WordPress is very powerful, but out of the box it can’t execute the brief. The challenges of having two separate navigation structures and tree separate headers can’t be done using the vanila install of WordPress. However, once you employ some clever tricks it’s quite a straight forward.

Headers

WordPress has the ability to have more than one header file and you can have more that one template in the site. Once the headers were duplicated and fixed to templates it became easy to create an ‘Aminal’ page or a ‘Child’ page. With the template set up the next challenge was to have headers that showed the range of services on offer. The solution came in the form of a slider plugin that allowed for more than one gallery. Three slider galleries were constructed using images of the same size and with elements that were all in the same place. Some graphics had the ‘Animal’ logo which were paired up with the animal photos. The ‘Child’ logo versions were made in the same way and everything was uploaded to the slider. The short codes for the sliders were then added to the headers and the page construction was nearly complete. The site was now well on the way to satisfying the brief of multiple WordPress sites one domain.

Custom Menus

The next challenge was to create the separate navigation. WordPress has a great custom menu feature, it allows you to include or exclude pages from menus. Normally this is used when you want a menu in the footer, or side bar. If you track down the hook that puts the menu into the page and add in a new one, you can fool WordPress into thinking it can has more than one primary navigation space. Once the coding was done, three navigation menus were built and applied to thier appropriate space.

With the page structure built, it was on to the URL’s. The main site was hosted on the main domain, which meant the other domains had to be set up using redirects to point them to their sections. Once done, the whole construction was complete.

The design of the site was nailed pretty quickly and the majority of the site development time was spent on construction. The site was made live on time and within budget. Yvette was very happy with the result, here is what she said:

“Design Conscious have produced websites for my two new enterprises with which I am absolutely delighted. After only being launched for a week colleagues, friends and clients have already sent in positive feedback, adding numerous compliments. Ian Blackford had been recommended to me by Shari Thompson of Green Jelly marketing (whom I had hired for some initial advice). She learned I had failed after months of searching to find a website designer willing to try and resolve my rather unique and complex technical requirements – websites portraying two quite separate businesses, but run solely by me under a partly shared brand name, which required linking together, as well as being accessible independently, with a single generic email address being supplied to boot! The website designs also had to appeal to two quite different potential client groups, but at the same time offer the option to clients to combine both services if they so wished. No easy task, which required lots of research and regular contact between Ian and myself before we arrived at a design which achieved the required goals, and looks great. We also look forward to seeing the websites evolve as my businesses get off the ground and develop.

Ian tackled the challenge I presented him with brilliantly, diplomatically dealing with my un-technical enquiries, and lack of knowledge of how things worked with immense patience and sufferance. I cannot praise highly enough both his customer care skills and his understanding and tenacity to achieve the end results I as his customer wished to achieve. He went the extra mile every time. Equally vital when my start-up funds were limited, his fees are reasonably priced and give clients genuine value for money. So much so that I have engaged Ian to be my service provider for the foreseeable future. For new enterprises and people wishing to start-up micro businesses in Shropshire, they would be hard pressed to find a website designer as obliging, competent, professional and affordable as Design Conscious.”

Yvette Greasley 
Assist Animal Care services 
and Assist Child Care Services

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