3 Simple Plug-ins to Improve Your Blog

It’s been a while since I’ve done any web-admin related posts, yet the face of Warhammer39999.com has changed fairly drastically since I started.  I figured I’d put up some of the WordPress widgets and Plugins I’m using, and a slight review of the ones that worked.  Keep in mind that I’m using a WordPress.org account, so this entry is really targeted towards other self-hosted wordpress users.  Of course, there may be similar plug-ins for other blogging engines, or you may become inspired to switch your blogging type.  In either of those cases, read on!

Currently I have over 20 plugins installed.  Some have worked to moderate success, some I swear by, and some are practically worthess.  Over time, I’d like to take a few moments to discuss the plugins for WordPress that I think really help to make my life easier.  So far I’ve already detailed a few of them (you can click on the links to find out more about each):

Today I’d like to elaborate a bit on a couple of other plugins I use, namely:

  • Shockingly Simple Favicon
  • FD Feedburner Plugin
  • No Self Pings

Each of these is a simple install, has a minimal footprint, and does something neat for my blog.  And of course, they’re all free:

Shockingly Simple Favicon

Every website can have an icon–though most don’t ever change it–it’s a unique way to make your page stand out.  This is as simple as finding (or creating) an icon you like and putting it in your webpage in the right location.  I made an attempt to do this with wordpress, but since the icon can change with each theme you try, the default location for the file that I know of didn’t work.  As such, I found a simple plug-in to put this icon in for me.

Once activated, the menu for this plug-in appears as “S. Simple Favicon” under the “Settings” menu.  At that point, you need to create and upload an icon to your website, and then then configure the plug-in options.  Now, this may seem overly simplified, but the plugin gives you a good idea of how to accomplish this.  It even points you to a free icon generator on the internet: http://www.favicon.cc/ where you can easily draw your own icon or import an image.

As stated before, it’s a subtle change, but now when you bookmark my site, or if you configure my site (properly) in your blogroll, you don’t get a generic webpage icon, or a wordpress icon.  Instead, you get a nifty little ultramarine logo.

FD Feedburner Plugin

I touched on this plug-in before, when warhammer39999.com went live.  Prior to that, the site was a simple redirect from my personal site.  When I first started this blog, I did a bit of research as to what software seemed the best.  Blogger & WordPress seemed the most ubiquitous solutions around.  Bother blogger & Worpress.com (hosted) solutions seemed easy to setup, but both lacked the sort of depth of being able to add such plug-ins to them.  Because of this, I opted for WordPress.org. 

The next thing I did was go through other wordpress.org blogs and see what they were recommending.  For some reason, they all seemed to recommend the use of Feedburner.  Though I didn’t know why at the time, I heeded their advice and was thankful for it.  Have you ever gone to a blog and seen a note that they’ve changed addresses and you’d have to re-subscribe to their feed?  This is precisely the problem that Feedburner gets around.

Feedburner allows your blog to change names, locations, etc. without affecting your readers.  The key thing is though, people need to be subscribed to your feedburner feed BEFORE you change your site.  So, the best practice would be to setup feedburner immediately after creating your blog.  I did it shortly after creating mine, and I’m thankful for doing so.

No Self Pings

This plugin is amazingly simple.  Whenever you create a link to a blog, WordPress, by default, pings that blog to let it know.  I believe this is also referred to as a “track back.”  In essence, it quotes the lines immediately before and after the link, and gives a link back to your post. 

One annoying thing is that your blog automatically pings itself.  In some ways, this is actually handy, as your users can see related posts through these automatic pings through your comments.  On the other hand, it inflates your comment count and makes it harder to track relevant interest in your blog (or at least I think it does).  Because of this, I searched for a way to turn these self pings off.

The answer was simple: No Self Pings.  This plugin was really just an install it, and forget it option.  Granted, it’s not performing brain surgery here—what I’m asking for it to do is a very simple task, but it handles it quite gracefully without effort on my part.  These are the makings of a great plug-in, in my opinion.

Well, that’s what I’ve got so far.  In the future, I’ll take some time to detail some other simple plug-ins you can use to make your WordPress.org blog work better, and I’ll likely try to tackle some of the more complex options as well.

Hopefully you found something worth implementing on your own blog!

Advertisements

6 comments on “3 Simple Plug-ins to Improve Your Blog

  1. Thanks for this. Most of the blogs I read are in Blogger or Blogspot, so it is very useful to get some tips for my WordPress blog. I like the No Self Pings one in particular – that feature of WordPress bugged the hell out of me!

    • Hey, thanks for the reply. I’m glad to hear someone’s benefiting from my trifling.

      Out of curiousity, is http://www.incunabulum.co.uk/blog a wordpress blog? I thought I recognized the theme as wordpress, but the “linkwithin” related posts makes me question it. While I know it works with WordPress, I’ve had a doozy of a time getting it to post pictures. Since I couldn’t figure it out, and my related post plugin seemed more configurable, I skipped linkwithin… If you made it work, I’d LOVE to find out how.

      My biggest pains seem to be picture related. The two things I’d love to have work (and perhaps they’re related) are:

      1) I want pictures to accompany my related posts plugin (like yours does)

      2) I want pictures of my posts to roll-up in blogger roll-ups (like at FTW). From what I can tell, blogger automatically associates pictures in roll-ups, but it seems all of the wordpress blogs are text only. As I’m more inclined to click a link if it has pictures, I presume my readers are to.

      Pray tell, do you have some secret you can share with me to fix either of those?

      Happy Holidays,

      -Rob

  2. Thanks for this. Most of the blogs I read are in Blogger or Blogspot, so it is very useful to get some tips for my WordPress blog. I like the No Self Pings one in particular – that feature of WordPress bugged the hell out of me!

    • Hey, thanks for the reply. I’m glad to hear someone’s benefiting from my trifling.

      Out of curiousity, is http://www.incunabulum.co.uk/blog a wordpress blog? I thought I recognized the theme as wordpress, but the “linkwithin” related posts makes me question it. While I know it works with WordPress, I’ve had a doozy of a time getting it to post pictures. Since I couldn’t figure it out, and my related post plugin seemed more configurable, I skipped linkwithin… If you made it work, I’d LOVE to find out how.

      My biggest pains seem to be picture related. The two things I’d love to have work (and perhaps they’re related) are:

      1) I want pictures to accompany my related posts plugin (like yours does)

      2) I want pictures of my posts to roll-up in blogger roll-ups (like at FTW). From what I can tell, blogger automatically associates pictures in roll-ups, but it seems all of the wordpress blogs are text only. As I’m more inclined to click a link if it has pictures, I presume my readers are to.

      Pray tell, do you have some secret you can share with me to fix either of those?

      Happy Holidays,

      -Rob

  3. Pingback: Warhammer39999 Has Moved | Warhammer 39,999

  4. Pingback: Welcome to the New Home of Warhammer39999 « Warhammer 39,9999

Have something to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s