Other ways to engage the community

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The above are just a few ways you can engage your visitors. There are many others that you may want to look into. Here are a few for inspiration:

Polls

Allowing your members to create polls is a useful way to get feedback from your members and to add a little interactivity to the site. If your site's authors pick the right questions, the information gathered from the polls can be useful, too.

A good polls plugin is: http://wpmudev.org/project/powpoll-for-wpmu-2 7.

This is one of the easier plugins to get working with WordPress MU. Many of the standard WordPress poll plugins require several steps to activate them on each member's blog, but PoWPoll can be set to automatically activate on new blogs.

The plugin supports voting restrictions, such as one vote per IP address, and restricts vote casting to logged-in visitors.

Sitewide searching

Making it easy for your visitors to find the content they are looking for is an important part of making a sticky site. With a niche blogging network, it is likely that someone who is interested in the posts of one member will also be interested in the posts of others. They may want to search for posts on a specific topic contained anywhere within the network.

There are a number of ways you could implement a sitewide search feature. There are some plugins, such as One Search (http://jason.ungos.com/projects/one-search-wpmu-plugin/), that tie in to WordPress MU to allow sitewide searching, or you could use Google's Site Search.

One Search requires that the user who is accessing the WordPress MU database has the rights to create VIEWS. At the time of writing, the code available on the plugin author's web site will also need to be tweaked to work with WordPress MU versions 2.7.1 and above.

It is possible to integrate Google Custom Search Engine so that the results page fits with your template. You can learn more at http://www.google.com/coop/cse/.

Pop quiz - doing the thing

1. What do people mean by "sticky"?

a) A web site that is difficult to navigate, so it takes you ages to find things you need.

b) A web site that engages readers, making them want to return.

c) A web site that takes a long time to download, so it makes the browser "stick".

2. What are gravatars?

a) Graphical Avatars.

b) Graphic, Realistic Avatars.

C) Globally Recognized Avatars. Answers: (1) b, (2) c.

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