7 WordPress Plugins I Don’t Really Need but Must Have Anyway

WordPress plugins that I love but don’t really need. (Why limit yourself to plugins you need?)

  • Drop Caps Plugin – Add a drop cap to the first letter of each blog post. (Makes me think of fairy tale books of old).
  • Personal Favicon – I had wanted an icon for awhile but could not find something to make it appear faithfully. Now I do. It’s cosmetic but a nice touch.
  • Sideblog – Possibly my favourite and most used of them all! Have a mini bog within your blog. I use it for quick notes, sticky notes or just call them extra bits of stuff.
  • Tagline Rotator Plugin – You can have a tagline to go with your blog title. This plugin lets you set up a bunch of them and have them rotate. I’m using several taglines and add more when I think of something good.
  • WP Lifestream – Another miniblog idea but more like links and commentary. You just add the code and don’t have to post to this one, it comes in as a feed from sites you use: StumbleUpon, Tumblr, etc.
  • Tumblr Widget – The sweetest miniblog I have found. This plugin lets me have my posts to Tumblr appear in the sidebar of my  blog.
  • WP Change Template – The newest and not yet fully given a trial run. Lets you set a timer on your WP themes. For instance, when you want one to run the week of Halloween and then go back to your regularly scheduled theme.

Database Confusion

I feel I must find out more information about domains, databases and such written for the terminally stupid. I have a new domain which is hosted free with Hosting Matters. Nice deal, just pay once a year for the domain itself (it is added to my account where I pay to host wordgrrls.com). Anyway, I am trying to set it up with a lifestream blog-like thing. But, I keep stumbling over databases and passwords and whatever else. I don’t know which are the right ones to use any more. There are some from the main domain, some from my installation of WordPress and some from other things which I have uninstalled. I kept them all in the same Notepad file. Maybe that was my first stupid mistake. Now I am confused. Luckily, Hosting Matters has very patient and understanding technical support. I will probably have it figured out by tomorrow and finally know which database is the one I should be using for everything.

Is Vox Better than WordPress and Blogger?

I originally wrote this in 2006. Vox is still around. I never did much with my account there but have kept it. I wish I had a plan for another blog to run with Vox. I don’t see it happening soon.

Have a look, take a spin around this free weblog host and decide for yourself. It’s from Six Apart, known for Movable Type. Is Vox their way of competing with WordPress and Blogger?

Vox is a network like OKCupid, including boards, quizzes and personal avatars. One of the interesting features of Vox is Collections, like a scrapbook on the side. It’s simple make changes and add the newest features. There are a LOT of templates to choose from. I selected the Toronto cityscape.

I joined Vox to look around. Whatever your opinion it really does compare well with other free blog hosts I’ve reviewed. I don’t need another blog but I want to be involved wtih this network and the feeling of community which is building here. I’m going to stick around.

Simple SEO for Your Site

Have a look at URL Appraisal for fun, mainly. See what it says your domain is worth. I think anything not on it’s own domain is already going to score low from this SEO based site. WordGrrls was appraised at $512.80.

I had a look at what they recommend for simple things you can do for SEO (search engine optimization). Two of them are things I am going to work on today:

3. Take advantage of alt and title tags in your URLs and images. When creating an image or link within your HTML, you have the option of including a TITLE attribute in URLs and an ALT attribute to1 images. Use these fields to add additional text about the link/image. This text is picked up by search engine spiders and can add to the keyword content of your pages.

7. Make sure you take advantage of meta tags like keywords and descriptions. Many sites often overlook meta tags. There are a large number of these tags you can add to your html pages to help give search engines a better idea of what’s in your site. Two tags in particular, the description and keywords tags, allow you to write a description of each page and also list relevant keywords contained within your site. Use these on every page of your entire site.

I may go the lazy way and see if I can find a plugin to play around with the meta tags. That way I don’t need to look at my HTML code to add a few words or change a spelling error I am bound to notice once I’ve had it up for a few weeks.

For the titles with links, I’m pretty sure that is set up for you in WordPress already. I’ve just ignored it up to now. So I will vow to do better. It is just adding a description to the link you are typing in. The description you type in will appear if someone hovers their mouse over the clickable link. It is a good thing. You may have noticed it on other sites and wondered how they did that. Now you know! it would be nice if Blogger picked up on this too.

Your Personal Blog Can Fill a Niche Too

I haven’t really thought a personal blog could be a niche blog. Seemed there was just too much to pack into or nail down to become a niche. I was wrong.

I read a post from Lorelle who has become famous (at least to me) for her posts about WordPress. She posted about her cousin’s personal blog as part of a series about personal blogs. Lorelle says her cousin, Duke, has the example of a perfect personal blog. Not to my thinking as I’m not a fan of any blog with a black background, but there is something to be learned from Duke’s blog. It fills a niche, nicely. Read the description of his blog, that’s where the niche gets nailed down and he slides right in. It’s very well done.

Duke, maybe with help from his cousin, has used his personality, his interests and become a niche blog. I bet it wasn’t done in a day. But, it was done and I think this really does show that any personal blog can become a niche, if we take some time to think and plan. Come up with a few lists about who you are and what you most like to post about. Even though there are thousands of Mommy Blogs there is something unique about yourself and your blog that you can find a niche too. I’m going to work on it for That Grrl, my own personal blog.

Tumblelog: A Snapshot in Each Post

I’ve come across a new plan in the way of blogging. It’s about using simple, short posts and then keeping your blog simple and to the point. Tumblelogs are like creating a snapshot in each post. The overall blog is a scrapbook versus a newspaper or full fledged novel.

Theme Playground had the post I read which includes template reviews. I picked out three to try after the holidays: Artueel, Elite and Tumblelog. If you want to have a tumblelog outside of your usual blog have a look at Tumblr or Gelato CMS to add it to WordPress. I found two other bloggers writing about tumblelogs: Tumblr, a different way to blog and Tumblelogging: don’t think about it, just write.

From Wikipedia: A tumblelog (also known as a tlog or tumblog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

Other links of interest:
The Tumblers on Ning Social Network.
Tumblr users on Facebook.
Tumblr Hacks
Tumblr Day but it was only done once, September 2007, so far.

Movable Type is Discouraging

Moving to Movable Type is getting very discouraging. I set it up quite easily, only a little bump or two along the way. But that was last week. Since then I have had zero success at moving the content from Blogger to Movable Type. Everything I have found about doing this is out of date, by a lot! I am frustrated but not yet giving up. I really would like to use Movable Type again. I do not want to use WordPress, no matter what I will not go back to that.

It is a shame I bought the domain and hosting before I found out what hurdles I’d have to manage. Now I am going to be away most of this week and won’t be able to do anything. Bugging me.