How Do I Create My Own Blog Page: Part II
I'm Back For Part II
Really? Ya mean I didn't scare you off in Part I? You really are a brave crittter. I commend you and I intend to award you for your diligence. And how will I reward you, by sharing with you the names of some of the finest Wordpress plugins I have found so far. Not only that, I might even tell you what they all do.
Might ... haha ... of course I'll tell ya. After all, how can I make you understand how useful they are unless I actually show you, right? And show you I shall. But first, we need to understand one another. I blog to bring in extra cash, but that doesn't mean you need to feel forced to do the same. And the reason I bring that up? Well, some of the plugins I user revolve around that and I don't want you turning around and running away, thinking there is nothing here for a blogger looking to have fun. Trust me - there is something here for everyone!
And with that, we will look at some very impressive (at least to me) Wordpress plugins.
Some Useful Wordpress Plugins
Okay, beofore I start this list, I want everyone to know that there are probably better plugins out there and that some naysayers will ultimately popup to say this plugin or that plugin isn't up to snuff. Fair enough, but before anyone squawks know this: I chose these plugins because they are typically easy to install, use and maintain, and because they definitely work for me. As such, I am putting the better good of the many ahead of the few who have the time to test every single plugin know to man.
With that said, if anyone knows of better plugins, by all means chime in below in the comments section - just don't try to battle with my choices as a lot of thought went into each one and not all decisions were weighted solely one one feature of any plugin.
Okay ... breathe in ... good .. good ... doh! Breath out! Breathe out! I always forget that part? Now where were we? Plugins? Thanks for that, mate. Let's get to looking at these plugins!
Akismet is a plugin used to reduce spam on your blog, and from what I have seen it doesn't reduce it, it squishes it like a bug. While I do have the Atahualpa theme installed, which includes spam protection, I find Akismet does a great job, and so, I left it active.
And what do I like most about Akismet? I like the way in integrates directly into the Wordpress dashboard, allowing me to know instantly how many comments I have and how many are probably spam.
To date, Akismet hasn't missed a spam on me yet and it hasn't flagged any ham (the opposite of spam), which are the posts we do want. And do I get any spam? You betcha ... the spammers came before the readers - lol! - and Akismet backhanded them all in a quiet manner.
Google Ajax Translation
I can't say enough good things about this plugin. Simply said, it allows anyone in the world to read your blog, with a translator that provides your blog in the language of their choice. And does it work? Many of my hits come from non-english speaking countries, so yes, it works!
If you want a global presence with your blog then this plugin is a must!
Google Analytics For Wordpress
This is for those who chose to make money from their hubs as well as those who just want to keep track of the hits. By signing up for a Google Analytics account you can install this plugin and have the data pumed over - including Adsense clicks, should you chose to include Adsense on your hubs (for those not in the know, Adsense is a pay for click program run by Google).
By using Google Analytics to monitor your site you can find its weak buttresses and shore them up, as well as discover unexpected strengths you might not have known existed otherwise. Extremely useful plugin. Did I remember to say that?
Google XML Sitemaps
This one is sooooooooo important to anyone who wants to see their pages have a chance at ranking on Google. In a nutshell, this plugin takes all of the links of your website and submits them to Google's crawler in a way Google likes to receive them. And as a bonus, it does the same for other search engines too. If you want to be seen by Google, install this plugin - it will definitely net you traffic in days to come!
Okay, so some plugins have names that make us want to shudder ... but trust me ... this is a good one!
Intensedebate turns your comments after each blog entry into somehting that makes them feel more like a forum. No plugin, in my honest opinion, goes out of its way further to thank your readers for commenting and to encourage them to do so more often.
This one seems more like a throwback than something useful, but it actually does serve a purpose. You see, people share pages every day on services like Diig, Facebook, Myspace, etc., and this little tool makes it easier for them to do so with your pages. And getting shared out is free exposure, which is a huge plus to your blog!
Maxblogpress Ping Optimizer
Another unsung plugin, as it appears to do nothing - at least not on the surface.
You see, blogs typically ping other interconnected sites as you make updates. This is to inform the other monitoring sites that something has changed and they need to take notice. A great idea, right? Well, not always.
For example, what if you are working on an article and you keep going back in to edit it because you think of something else to add (I know it happens to me a lot). Now, each edit created another change notification, which overtime will get you recognized as a spammer and will cause you to be removed from the watch lists - effectively cutting you off from future traffic you could have had.
With this little plugin you prevent that from happening. Erm ... actually, it prevents this from happening ... silently in the background without your notice.
Mybloglog Recent Readers Widget
This little beauty links your readers back to My bloglog, which is of no importance to you.
No, I didn't mean it that way. What I meant to say is that you aren't concerned about that. What you are concerned about is the fact that the website behind this plugin will drive traffic to your blog, and one widget in exchange for some traffic isn't a bad exchange. And to sweeten the pot ... they have a fairly large user base and every new blog post you make is automatically broadcasted to their site, making their many members aware you have new material to offer. Pretty sweet, eh?
My Page Order
This is yet another underdog in the world of Wordpress plugins. It creates a simple means by which you can control the display of your pages (not your posts, but your static pages you create). Without this plugin it's a chaotic mess to get pages to behave and display in order, but this little ditty takes all of the mess out of the effort.
Want to ask something of the masses? Then go sign up with Polldaddy! Yep! That's right! Polls for your website that you can place on pages and inside posts. No longer need you wonder what's on their minds ... ya just need to find a way to prod them into voting. Controversial questions often do the trick ... ha!
As a rule, Wordpress pages display the full post for every post on a page. This can be annoying to someone looking to skim through for a diamond in the rough. That's where post teaser comes into play, allowing a reader the chance to skim down through your blog and pick the entry that interests them. After all, just like the sweekstakes, not all entries can be winners, right?
Visitor Maps And Who's Online
Simply said ...the coolest plugin hands down!
This plugin allows you to check your blog to see who is online, who has recently been online, where they dialed into the internet from, and so much more. It's a disney e-ticket to learning more about the visitors that are arriving daily.
It might seem we know enough about our visitors, via several of the plugins above. However, we can learn even more: How many visited us, what site referred them, what pages did the view, etc., etc. All very good info and all worthwhile to have at your fingertips.
What Are Widgets?
With all of the talk about plugins, we almost forgot about widgets!
And what are widgets? Well, widgets are preformed pages designed to serve a purpose. these pages hang out in your margins, outside of your posts and serve many purposes. Here are some of the more useful widgets:
Category Widget: Creates a list of your categories in the sidebar
Meta Widget: Gives the user and the admin(you) a place to log into your blog.
Pages Widget: Allow you to place your pages in your margins
Recent Posts Widget: Kind of says it all, doesn't it? Displays recent posts
Search Widget: Allows your users to search your blog for specific words or phrases
Text Widget: Often used to install affiliate banners and widgets (more on this in Part III)
Calendar Widget: Readers can select any date to see what was posted that day
Links Widget: Use this to place your links to other sites in your margin
Recent Comments Widget: Self -explanatory, like Recent Posts above
RSS Widget: Gives your readers a place to sign-up for your RSS feed (for reading your blog, without actually coming to the site)
Top Rated Widget: A list of your most popular posts (the ones getting the most reads)
Plugins can add more plugins to the list, but this is the basic subset we all start with. To install them on your site you merely drag them to your sidebar, click the down arrow on them, then add any neccessary changes before licking save. Once you hit that button it goes straight to every page on your site. Cool eh?
Well, That's All For Part II
Part III will soon follow, where we look into affiliate marketing. I saved this for last as there are many doing blogs just for fun and I didn't want to bog them down with tips and tricks they wouldn't be using. However, if you are just writing a blog for fun and find yourself curious, you're certainly willing to follow everyone else to Part III.