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It’s been five months since I last profiled the plugins residing on my blog, a topic I am prone to revisiting every few months. December 2008 included 15 plugins, March 2009 increased to 23 plugins, September 2009 shifted to 22 plugins, and I have 35 today.
Before I continue, it’s important to keep in mind that each summary does not necessarily include everything from the past. For instance, comparing the following list of 35 to the 22 used five months ago, only 16 are in common. Six plugins I shared then — BackType Connect, Better Comments Manager, TweetMeme, What Would Seth Godin Do?, WordPress Mobile Edition, and WPBook — do not exist here now. By scrolling through past incarnations linked above, you can see how I’ve progressed and changed my use of plugins.
Three notes: 1) The following plugins only exist for self-hosted WordPress blogs; 2) some plugins are unique to blogs like mine that use the Thesis theme; and 3) I continually activate and deactivate plugins in an attempt to run less plugins and duplicate their efforts through custom functions or .htaccess scripts.
1. Akismet protects my blog from spam. Pre-installed with WordPress, new users need to follow directions on the Plugins page to sign up for a WordPress.com account, and copy the API code into the plugin management page.
2. Apture makes it easy to add contextual images, videos, reference guides, links, maps, music, news, documents and books to my blog to create a fuller media experience to hopefully keep you engaged.
3. CommentLuv is the reason why if you write a comment and include your blog in the appropriate box, your most-recent blog post will appear under your text after you hit the “submit” button. I recognize that everyone doesn’t have a blog; but for those that do, developer Andy Bailey and I want you to share your content with everyone else. This plugin enables that love.
5. Contact Commenters, the subject of a recent blog post that illustrated how to turn a lurker into a user, enables me to send targeted email messages to people who comment on specific posts or haven’t commented in a given period of time.
7. DoFollow is a piece of genius from Semiologic that removes the “nofollow” attribute that WordPress adds to comment links by default. In other words, if you do not have this (or similar plugins) installed, then every time a comment includes a link, search engines won’t follow it. The reason for this has been hashed over the years, but the end result is I want search engines to follow your links so I tell the robots to do follow you.
8. Feed Pauser is a clever plugin that allows me to publish a post but pause its feed publication up to 20 minutes. If you are like me and usually make some typos, or don’t like how the final content is displayed, pausing feed publication is useful. (And on that note, if you’re not currently subscribed to my blog feed by RSS or email to receive future articles when they are published, please consider it.)
9. Find Me On is the source of the social media icons displayed in the right sidebar. While I’ve manually uploaded icons and linked them to places like YouTube in the past, I find this an easier method. Still, this is an example of something I may deactivate down the road and run instead as a plugin-less widget.
10. Get Recent Comments powers a widget in the sidebar that shows recent commenters on this blog. While WordPress includes a similar-named widget with installation, that includes your own comments whereas this plugin allows me to remove comment names, such as my own.
12. KeywordLuv works like CommentLuv; but while the latter provides a link to your last blog post, the former enables you to separate your name from keywords describing your website. If used properly, this will reward you with improved anchor text. For example, writing Stephen @ Custom WordPress Plugins in the name field results in Stephen from Custom WordPress Plugins. Don’t merely write your blog name as the keyword, but use contextual words. When I write my name on blogs like Kikolani, I write Ari Herzog @ Online Media Strategies. If you want to use this plugin on your own blog, you must enable the DoFollow plugin.
13. Maintenance Mode is an “under construction” splash page that temporarily appears when and if I am making programming changes and don’t want you to see anything else. When I upgrade the WordPress version, for instance, I activate this plugin. The rest of the time, it remains inactive.
14. MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer prevents me from alerting search engines every time I update a page or post. Without this plugin, you run the risk of search engines thinking you’re a spammer.
15. My BlogLog Recent Readers displays names and faces of recent website readers who clicked over from the My BlogLog social networking site. Check it out in the right sidebar of this page. If you mouse over their faces, you can click to their profiles. It was recently reported that Yahoo, which owns My BlogLog, is in the process of killing the site so whenever it dies is when I’ll remove this widget.
16. Page Links To is used to redirect certain older posts or pages to newer posts or pages. I use this for a few pages, though you’d never see it as everything happens behind the scenes. This is another example of a plugin that can also be run as 301 redirect scripts, and I currently implement a mix of the two.
17. Popularity Contest ranks my posts by, say it kids!, popularity! It’s more for behind-the-scenes statistics, so I can see on a single page what posts are most popular in terms of comments and trackbacks. This helps me ascertain what topics and titles to use next time.
18. RSS Footer does what the name implies. At the bottom of every blog post that is syndicated by RSS, a line of code is inserted indicating it was sourced right here. This prevents would-be scam artists from ripping me off and using my work as theirs.
19. Search Meter gives me a behind-the-scenes perspective on what keywords people are typing in the search box in the sidebar.
20. SexyBookmarks is the impetus for the numerous social bookmarking icons that you are encouraged to click at the bottom of every blog post on this site. As your mouse scrolls over them, they pop up.
21. Simple Facebook Connect is responsible for the blue Facebook badge that you can click in the commenting section to avoid typing your name, automatically linking your comment with your Facebook profile, and optionally echoing your comment as a wall update. I added this last weekend. I’ve tried numerous Facebook Connect plugins in the past and I like this one the best for its look and choice of numerous plugins installed in the one. Here’s a simple guide how to install Facebook Connect onto your WordPress blog running Thesis.
22. Sitemap Generator from Dagon Design works like the XML generator above, but whereas the XML sitemap is intended for search engine robots, this map is for people.
23. Socialize is currently responsible for the yellow action box that appears underneath the Sexy Boommarks, but I occasionally use the plugin to insert bookmarking share counts at the beginning or end of the post. For instance, the retweet button on the left side of the yellow box here is from Socialize.
24. Subscribe to Comments is one of my favorite plugins, and one that I wish every WordPress blogger activates immediately; whether you have a WP.com or WP.org blog, you can activate it. This is the beef of why I hate Typepad. This plugin creates the opt-in box below the “submit” button, where, if you check it, you will receive email messages for new comments. I check the box all the time on other blogs. For background, see why I think this plugin is essential for your WordPress blog.
25. Subscription Options is a simple plugin that provides you a visual set of icons in the top right sidebar to subscribe and follow future blog articles by RSS, email, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Like “Find Me On,” I used to display similar icons without a plugin so the future of this on my blog is uncertain.
26. Thesis OpenHook is something I installed a few days ago to improve my Thesis custom functions and related programming that run in the background.
27. Top Commentators powers a widget that I run now and then for a few moments at a time to ascertain who are the top people who wrote comments over a given period, with links to whatever URL they wrote when commenting. This plugin was responsible for my listing the top 70 commenters of January.
28. WordPress.com Popular Posts shows off this blog’s most popular posts in the sidebar.
29. WordPress.com Stats tracks views, clicks, and referring sites to keep the popular posts updated and to show me detailed statistics with the click of a button.
30. WordTwit allows my Twitter stream to automatically generate an update about a new blog post and use my domain instead of a URL shortener to link the post for you. For instance, http://ariherzog.com/blog/oI was generated for this post, per this tweet I preassigned with text and let the plugin send with the generated link text and link. Want to read why I like WordTwit?
31. WP Ajax Edit Comments allows you to edit your comment, should you make a typo or want to change it.
32. WP Greet Box is a plugin I go back and forth on, such as my once-again installation this morning. It inserts a variety of horizontal alert messages welcoming visitors to this blog, customized depending where someone came from. Do you like it?
33. WPTouch iPhone Theme is a simple plugin file that allows for customization to provide a mobile-friendly view of this blog for a range of smartphones and other mobile devices.
34. WP Twitip ID, brought to you by Andy Bailey, also responsible for CommentLuv, collaborated with Roger Byrne to enable you to add your Twitter username when adding a comment. It’s further customized to work with the Thesis template.
35. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin is responsible for the related posts that appear at the end of every blog post. These posts are automatically created when you reload the page.