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Hi, I'mKevin Shoffner

Genesis & Multisite, WordPress

Recently while working on a large network, I realized something very valuable about WordPress Multisite and the Genesis framework, by StuidoPress.  Because if it’s popularity, and the increasing value of Multisite I found it a great message to share with others.

If you are reading this article you already know that Genesis is wonderful, and that using WordPress Multisite in certain cases does great as well, so I won’t spend your time talking about those pieces individually.  Instead, I will jump straight into the core of the issue.


So let’s say you have 5 sites for your brand, Big Mouth Local Farm:

Site 1 = Apples

Site 2 = Oranges

Site 3 = Grapes

Site 4 = Wine

Site 5 = Peaches


So in this case, the majority of your sites are selling fruit and you would think probably want the same brand across all sites, so you might think to go inside of the Genesis Framework and change the header.php file to include a Header Wrapper that has the same logo at the top because that seems like the most simple thing to do.  At surface level I would agree with you, but you have to weight the Pros & Cons:


Pros Cons
  • Quick to fix
  • Easy to find
  • Every update to Genesis, you have to do it again
  • What if your entire WPMU Network doesn’t have the same brand?
  • Do you want your sites to have different styles?

Okay, my biggest issue was the part about the “same brand.”  So using the same scenario above, your Farm now decides to branch out and offer tickets and CD’s of their music events they hold.  But they instead want a completely different look & feel and want to be called Loud Mouth Records.  Completely different logo and CSS, so that Genesis header.php bandage will not longer work.

What do you do?


It’s simpler than you may think.  Because you are using Genesis and WPMU, you do not want to change that header.php but actually just go into each instance on your Network and go to the Genesis >> Theme Settings >> Header and Footer Scripts to put your code.


Other things you can use this for:

  • Google Analytics being different on every site
  • Customized CSS files for just 1 or 2 sites of your entire Network, instead of changing the Child Themes

Check back as this will be updated often with additional information about Genesis and other Child Themes.

  • Pablo Otaola
    Pablo Otaola | September 1, 2013

    Is there any way that I can see the web site network that you created with WP Multi Site? I am in the process of making a decision of going with WP Multi SIte or with separate wordpress installations on the same server account.


    • k.shoffner
      k.shoffner | September 4, 2013

      Pablo, I am glad to provide one example.
      I have done many Multi Sites at this point, but most only have 2-5 sites within them.

      This particular MS has about 15 sites within it:
      sites within consist of sites like
      Notice the first 3 mentioned look similar, as they use the same theme and same plugins; easy to maintain

      Completely different theme; same plugins though

  • Josh
    Josh | October 14, 2013

    Kevin, I am looking at doing a multi site installation for a university as well, and was wondering if I could ask you a quick question…

    On your first three examples, the header and footer content and menu are the same. Is this something that is possible with multisites, or do you have to update it in each site every time you make a change?

    • k.shoffner
      k.shoffner | October 15, 2013

      Josh, I have not come across a better way to bring the updated menu(s) from site to site than the one below.

      • Tools / Export
      • WordPress plugin, All Content
      • Go to new site and Tools/Import

      Note: I am pretty lazy and have created a blank site just to have my menus (no Posts,Categories, Pages; just Menus). When I make a change to the Menu(s) I go to the blank site, make my changes and Export out the XML file so when I do an Import, it will only bring in the Menu(s) and no other items.

      • Josh
        Josh | October 15, 2013

        Thanks Kevin! I wouldn’t have thought of taking the “blank site” approach for the menus. Appreciate it!

  • nivedithatm
    nivedithatm | May 5, 2014

    Hi, I want to use Genesis theme for a Group website with a Parent company and four child companies. The domains of each are different. Can I reuse the theme on all 5 websites? How will the URLs of each look like once implemented. Appreciate your quick reply. Thanks

    • k.shoffner
      k.shoffner | May 5, 2014

      You should not have any problems using the Genesis, or Child, theme with the different websites. The URL’s could possibly look different based on how you set up your install, and permalinks. I wish you well.

  • craiulucian
    craiulucian | June 13, 2015

    How can i make this work. I installed genesis (parent and child theme) on a multisite and the only theme that works is the parent. The child theme says it’s broken. How can i fix that?

    • k.shoffner
      k.shoffner | July 1, 2015

      What Child theme are you using, and what version of Genesis and the Child theme are you using?

      What error are you seeing when it says it’s broken?

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