Riding shotgun next to WordPress

  • July 3rd, 2006

In an effort to answer the emails and search patterns requesting active plugin currently in use on 5ThirtyOne, I’ve widdled through the plugins page deciding which ones I relied on most.

I realized that quite a number of plugins were activated, yet unused. So I thank readers for their inquiries which prompted me to do a little Spring cleaning and sharing.

wordpress plugins in use on 5thirtyone

Bloggers always say that the content is what drives a blog into “stardom”. While completely true, there are some aspects of blogging which are often overlooked or receive very little attention. These aspects of blogging can be addressed by answering a simple question: Aside from that noggin’ of yours, what drives your blog / site?

I’ve taken the time to meticulously collect the plugins actively summoned on 5ThirtyOne in hopes of broadening the perspectives concerning and understanding the flexibility and convenience offered by the WordPress platform. If there’s something worth noting, or something which you highly recommend that WordPress users make use of, feel free to drop your insight in the comments.

Behind the scene control

WordPress admins in search of additional control and convenience regarding their pages may want to consider the following plugins below. These plugins – while completely transparent to the reader – offer an additional level of convenience while updating or maintaining a WordPress driven site.

  • Easy Admin Access – Access your admin Dashboard using this helpful navigation bar which sits prominently at the top of your WordPress pages.
  • Akismet – Assuming blogging is second nature, you’re more than likely aware of comment spam. Akismet does away with the hassle of mass moderation as its stringent filter picks up the slack. Note that a WordPress.com key is necessary in order to run this plugin.
  • Corrector – Gmail-like spell checking directly from your blog editing window. I highly recommend this plugin for users who find themselves blogging from public terminals which may lack the convenience of system wide spelling checks.
  • flickrRSS – Roll your personal Flickrstream into your blog and enjoy the added convenience of caching images (just in case Flickr decides to have one of its regular massages).
  • Code Snippet – When it’s time to share a little coding with the masses, make use of Code Snippet’s syntax highlighting and definitions in order to provide clear understandable markup without worrying about converted entities or stripped code. Original authors site seems to be down (9/3) – Mirror for Code Snippet 2.0 download.
  • Ultimate Tag Warrior – Definitely roll this into your site if you’re looking to create a tag based blogging platform. I’ve created four distinct WordPress categories on 5ThirtyOne which allow me to control what content is display on specific areas of the site. Because categories have lost their true value, I rely on the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin to keep content somewhat organized and browseable.
  • WordPress Feedburner Plugin – This will save you a little time if you’re pushing Feedburner as your universal RSS / XML feed. Any calls for the default WordPress feed will summon your Feedburner feed thanks to this plugin.

A little eye candy for readers

It’s the little details that readers discern and walk away with. Despite the fact that the following may be rolled into every other blog on the street, the level of integration into your own pages will surely help you stand out from the rest.

  • Gravatar – Globally recognized avatars. Help readers identify comments with respective authors. Add a little personality.
  • Subscribe to Comments – While RSS may be “geek speak” many, email is definitely common language. Keep your regular and visiting guests in the loop by providing an option to follow discussions via email.
  • Extended Live Archives – Browsing by tags may not be a suitable option for readers who have yet to fully understand the free tagging spirit of modern bloggers. Provide readers with an option to browse by month, day, and year using this slick Live (AJAX) archive viewer. See mine in action here.
  • Quoter – Readers wishing to reply to specific comments will enjoy the convenience offered by this plugin. Instead of manually re-typing or copy n’ pasting a previous comment, Quoter provides easy quoting thanks to a little javascript. Make sure the Quoter link is prominent enough for readers to notice.
  • Addicted to Live Search – Interested in a no hassle method of integrating live search functionality into your WordPress driven site? Look no further as this plugin provides a convenient upload & activate method for offering readers instant feedback for their search qeuries.

Options that WordPress should include

The last two plugins to highlight offer functionality which I believe WordPress should include by default. Although some may argue that plugins play the role of filling the “gaps”, these two are one of the most common plugins I’ve seen active on most WordPress driven sites I’ve visited.

  • WP-Contact Form – Leaving your email address in plain site may sound ludicrous due to the likelihood of email spam. In order to circumvent that particular issue, check out this plugin which provides a blog editor quicktag for inserting a contact form wherever you please (single posts & pages).
  • Search Everything – WordPress’ defualt search functionality leaves a lot to wish for. The Search Everything plugin allows administrative control over addiitonal search options. By default, WordPress searches blog posts. What it will not search are additional pages or comments. Somewhat inconvenient as comments and pages often hold a great deal of applicable information. Use this plugin to specificy what reasources are made available for site wide searches.

Feel free to recommend your favorite plugins in the comments below as I am continually on the lookout to make this whole “blogging thing” a little easier. I would also be interested in hearing what methods or practices users employ to publish your content: desktop blogging options, etc. Digg this.