Tag Archives: blog

my 10 favourite wordpress plugins

Versions of this post have been sitting in my drafts for years.. it was interesting to go back and see the plugins I could not do without compared to today though I found that actually there haven’t been that many that have changed. Just new ones have come in and added to the funcitonality of WordPress.

Here are my favourite 10 today.

1. Akismet

I can’t really not mention Akismet. Made by the developers at Automattic, it stops spam in its tracks and is simple to use. What more do you need?

2. Disqus

I have dabbled with all the different third party social commenting tools over the years – Intense Debate, JS-Kit and Disqus – and lost comments as a result – but disqus seems to have a good balance of community vs features. There is of course Echo on the scene – which you can see here, which tracks reactions around the web – but whereas I initially thought it might blow Disqus out of the water, I am not so convinced now. Disqus already has that functionality. I think Disqus is already in a strong position to compete and grow.

3. All-in-One SEO pack

For all those SEO tweaks to help with your search rankings. Given the majority of people who reach this site come from search, its a pretty important part of the mix for me. I don’t use it enough.

4. Feedburner feedsmith

Another simple plugin which does what it says on the tin. Diverts people connecting to WordPress‘ RSS feed to my feedburner account. Keeps everyone in one place – handy if I ever want to change URLs. It also allows me to track the number of subscribers and measure interaction with my RSS feed. (The URL to the page hosting the plugin seems to have disappeared 🙁 )

5. Google Analyticator

I have used a few Google Analytics plugins over the years and recently switched to this one, mainly as I saw it get a mention within a Google blog – its as good a recommendation as you will find 😉

6. Google XML Sitemaps

One of those that helps make sure the various search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask) get updates of changes to your website.

7. Tweetmeme

I have used Sharethis in the past but this reduces the barriers to sharing even further (albeit with the loss of sharing with other networks) – from a rollover and click to just a click 😉

8. WordPress Mobile Edition

iphones, androids.. they can all surf the real web.. none of that WAP stuff of years gone by but that doesn’t mean you cant make the interface more easy to read.

9. WP Super cache

Cache your blog, reduce the load on your blog server and increase the number of visitors your blog is capable of dealing with.

10. Zemanta

I started using Zemanta again last week. It adds value to your blog posts (links, images, related links). Before it did it in a way to really seemed to highlight Zemanta everywhere. Now it is more subtle and just as usable. This one looks like it might stay a while this time.

I think it is worth doing this post annually to see how it changes even if it means I might have to increase it to my favourite 15 😉

new blog design

I got bored with the old design which happens once in a while.. so I have a new design courtesy of Vladimir Prelovac – obviously with some minor edits by me 🙂

There is still a little work to do, the first of which is to figure out why I have started disappearing from Google again – I have obviously done somethign wrong!

Anyhow, most of my readerbase is via RSS which will never see the design so a gentle nudge to those users to come on over and take a look 🙂

Increasing interaction with your blog

I am amazed it has been such a long time but I took a conscious decision to stop being picky about the design/layout of my posts back on August 3rd and removed my own requirement to have an image on every post.

The reason for the decision in the first place was simple – I removed posts I hadn’t got round to sorting an image out for because they were no longer timely or interesting – in effect I was censoring myself. Since then 99% of posts have just been text and the volume and frequency of posts has increased.

But has it devalued the look and feel of the blog? I think in some small way it is not as easy to read, certainly longer posts. For long posts, it is just too much text – I like visual aids when moving through text 🙂

As I look through my RSS feed, there are a lot of people who write long posts that I find myself skimming. Some with images, some without. I find that if an image catches my eye I may give it more attention than a post without images so for longer posts at least it should improve interaction with your readers.

So do I go back to adding photos? I think it’s a question of using quality images rather than using one every post and more important still, not letting the lack of an image stop you from posting in the first place.