This is a record of plug-ins and services I use here at KZBlog, partially for my own sake and partially for other bloggers who are curious. Feel free to post questions or comments or suggestions for other fun toys if you care to. UPDATED 27 August 2010.
Akismet which handles all my spammity spam spam spam. Works very well, with only the occasional false positive (mostly pingbacks) and so far only one or two false negatives. I do wish there was a way to automatically delete certain comments. For example there are a couple of domains that can drop 50 spam messages on me in one day and I would like to blacklist them. As it is, I can only automatically send them to be moderated or marked as spam. I still have to go through them and delete them.
All in One SEO Pack Probably could be doing more with this. As a non-SEO person I like it just because it sets the title and keywords of pages automatically.
Broken Link Checker Great if you are starting a new blog. Horrible if you start using it after blogging for 4 years because at that point, half the sites you’ve linked to have either gone out of business or changed their reference system. I like that it can strikeout broken links though, so readers know. And you can fix links directly from the control panel instead of going back and forth between posts.
Do Follow Just trying to return the comment love. Do wish the control panel would open up so I could tweak it but hopefully it’s encouraging comments.
Google Analytics for WordPress Makes placing the tracking code easier and I can eliminate myself from traffic data. Which is good because somedays I open 10-15 pages and keep them open for hours. Which would be a major blip in the data. Does other cool stuff I don’t understand!
Google XML Sitemaps Generates a sitemap which helps search engines crawl your site better. Like most of these plug-ins, does all sorts of cool stuff I don’t understand but don’t need to to make it work!
ILWP Colored Tag Cloud Responsible for the tag cloud. I like it better than the WordPress built-in tag cloud function only because I can change the colors of the tags and make it all rainbowy. And unlike other tag cloud plug-ins, I can put it anywhere, not just in the sidebar.
Share This makes it easier to share posts to Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Stumble Upon and other social sites. Hint, hint, hint!
Subscribe to Comments Lets you subscribe to posts so you get notice of comments. I always dig that in other blogs because otherwise I forget that I posted. But I keep it set to not subscribed as the default because when I do post to a random blog and suddenly get 200 emails saying, “Bob replied to Dave: me2. it was the awesomest dude!!”, I get a bit annoyed.
WordPress Popular Posts Makes the popular post widget over there. All customizable and stuff. Pretty cool.
RSS Import I went through a lot of RSS import plug-ins. Again I didn’t want a widget, because I didn’t want RSS in my sidebar and I wanted something customizabile. Which is what this is. Unlike a lot of other plug-ins it also worked out of the box. For some reason Google Reader doesn’t play nice with feeds all the time. Decided to use Google Clips, from Google Reader and subscribe to my favorite sites in order to make one nice feed that has all the sites on KZ and Central Asia I read on a regular basis. Probably will get around to getting rid of my blogroll soon in favor of the feed. WordPress Mobile Edition gives a mobile friendly template to the blog in case you access it from your cellphone. I believe I have it set so that iPods and Blackberries and such like will get the normal site, but if you’re on an underpowered phone with an expensive internet plan, you want a stripped down site. Don’t like the way mobile themes never take you to individual posts from a search engine or link, always the home page so I disabled my mobile theme.
Widget Context allows you to show or hide widgets on specific pages. Really useful for customizing a 404 page or keeping some things off of single post pages or whatever.
Latest Posts by Category Archive replaces the native Mimbo function in the right sidebar so that everything is a widget. Widget Context keeps this widget hidden on the single post pages. Good widget but needed some customization for the fonts. Initially it was friggin’ huge.
Eco-Safe Just added it to this site. Makes it easy to save, email or turn any post into a PDF. Better than printing this stuff out and wasting ink. Incidentally just read that Century Gothic is a more ink-efficient font than Arial and everyone should switch over to it. Maybe I’ll phase that in at some point here. I should note that Mimbo is a print friendly theme so if you print a post out, you won’t get the sidebar or comment form or too much extraneous stuff! EDIT: Actually I’m going to use the java script instead of the plugin so I can customize the layout and move that puppy to the right margin!
I’m also using Tim Thumb in conjunction with get_that_image to produce that header image and get_that_image allows me to set a default image, hence the heavy metal dombro when my lead posts have no images in them. Tim Thumb came with the Mimbo theme, and both were designed by Darren Hoyt
Icons by Icons Etc. which has some really nice looking but simple icons. I dig the aesthetic very much.
I used to have SocioFluid on to add sharing buttons to the bottom of each page. I like the idea of big visible buttons over the tiny Share This thing that opens up. But the sociofluid wordpress plugin wasn’t customizable enough for my tastes and the script I put in looked ok, but also slightly dominant. Someday I will put something together myself that I really like. Probably would use icons from Icons, Etc.. Blue jelly or Orange jelly? Hmm…. Jelly….Mmmmmm……
To format the Tweets differently, I’m using this function which is awesome. Basically makes it possible to style each post individually based on category-or theoretically could be modified I suppose to classify by tag or date or author. I use it to make the tweets look radically different, but it could also be used to put standardized background images in posts by category or whatever.
Other than that, it’s all Mimbo theme. I am particularly proud of my using the “featured posts” function to actually feature all categories in order to give a more magaziney feel but also to draw attention to more posts. Notice that on post pages that list turns into a list of the 3 most recent posts in the same category. How cool is that?
I did tweak the lead post code from Mimbo (that blue box at the top) to create a separate Loop that 1) excludes posts in certain categories and 2) puts either the latest post or a sticky post and if there is more than 1 sticky post, gets the latest one only! Most of that I copied directly from the WordPress codex. Recently also widgetized the right sidebar instead of piggy-backing on the “featured-cats” div of the Mimbo theme. Makes it a little easier to move things around at the expense of some extra loading time for both sidebars.