I have had a few questions regardig my blog and Kate posted a comment asking if I had a list up of the plug-ins etc I am using, I don’t, but thought it would be a good idea to post one. Thanks Kate.
I switched to Wordpress after getting my own domain and I must say after using Blogger for years I found it hard to get my head around initially, but ultimately I think it is so much better than blogger and worth the initial learning curve. Also there is so much help and information out there on Wordpress that it really isn’t hard to find an answer to your inevitable disasters (I speak from experience being prone to disasters of this nature).
I tried several different themes to begin with, and there are some great ones out there too, after testing many I settled on Copyblogger by Chris Pearson of Pearsonified, this was an excellent theme and very customizable (is that a word?) using Chris’s custom style sheet. After getting it exactly how I wanted it, I decided I needed more late nights, more challenge, more change for the sake of change (do the words glutton and punishment mean anything to you?). I decided that I wanted a 3 column layout rather than two, why? Just coz, OK. LOL So I decided to get Chris’s Thesis Theme, and shock horror, I paid for the privilege! Yes that’s right I paid. But it’s not because of the theme (although I love it and would have paid for it) it’s for the Thesis Forum that makes it worth the money (by the way, this ISN’T a paid presentation LOL). I knew that Chris’s themes were easy to work with since I had used Copyblogger, so that was a big plus. As I suspected the forum has been very helpful and any questions I have posted have been answered. Also I have learned a lot just reading the questions other people have posted. Chris is constantly updating and improving the theme and once you have paid you have paid for these updates for life, that was the deal maker for me. There is a suggestion area in the forum so if you can think of anything you’d like to see in the theme you can post it too. I think it is worth the money, he posts regular hints and tips on how to use the theme along with updates. The drop caps, blockquotes, alerts and notes in the post below are all part of the theme, they are not plugins.
I have used several plugins so far, I have also installed and then deleted several that I found useless or too hard to use, these are the ones I am using at the moment.
AskApache Password Protect: I installed this just the other day because a friend of mine Gill, who had recently began using wordpress, had her blog hacked, so I did a search and found this.
Buy Me A Beer: I installed this (you can see it in the side bar), and modified it to champagne (I don’t like beer) because very soon, I intend to put some freebies and tutorials up on the site and thought someone may like to buy me a champagne to say thanks! We’ll see how that works out LOL
Featured Content Gallery: Thesis theme came with a random rotation picture box which I replaced with this plug-in, it allows me to feature any content I like which rotates through 5 posts. I think it looks cool, but no-one seems to have noticed it yet, or at least not mentioned it.
Fancy Zoom: This is from the same creator as the plug-in above, and if you click on the I Love Blogging picture left you will see it in action. (It won’t work in any of the posts originally posted at blogger that were migrated here). Actually, I think it only works in Firefox too (see below in Browsers for more info on Firefox).
Instant Upgrade: The first thing I had to do when I started my blog here was upgrade and it was a nightmare, basically I had to delete and start again, I wish I had known about this back then. Makes upgrading smooth and easy, although I do recommend backing up your blog before upgrading (read-on, I have a plug-in for that too!) Just a side note here, before upgrading ALWAYS disable your plug-ins first.
Live Sig: This is how I got my signature at the end of each post. I actually created my own, but you can also use My Live Signature and for a small fee they can even animate it for you. I think this is my favourite plug-in, even though it took me 3 hours to get my sig looking like I wanted it to!
Share This: I settled on this after using Social Bookmarking Reloaded, mainly because I like the cleaner look of just one icon. Also Share This tracks stats/usage of your blog, but I haven’t even looked at that yet.
Subscribe To Comments: This works in the comment field and enables people that comment to subscribe to any more comments that are made. I wondered why you would want this initially, but I have found it handy when someone asks a question, I can reply through the comments to answer them, they get an email seeing my response, it’s also useful for other commenter’s that may be interested in the answers to.
WP-DataBase Backup: This is pretty self explanatory, but very useful, you can download the backup to your computer, to your server or have it emailed to you. You can also do scheduled backups hourly, daily or weekly.
WP Contact Form iii: I have just installed this plugin on my “Contact Me” page, why don’t you test it for me?
I thought it was worth a mention to, I have done all my blog fiddling with Firefox in mind, I have found Firefox an excellent browser and although I don’t know much about this stuff, it is supposed to be much more secure than Internet Explorer. It has lots of great features and plugins galore, and like Wordpress there is a mountain of info out there too. Click on the link in my sidebar to download it, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t use it. Besides all that I hate the way my blog looks in Internet Explorer, it’s too big and dorky LOL.
CoLT: This Firefox plugin alone makes it worthwhile for any bloggers to switch to Firefox, it copies the link and text into a HTML code for you automatically. It also copies Plaint Text, BB Code and more, I used it for this entire post, and it made life very easy.
I hope you have found this helpful, please leave a comment if you have. I’d love to know what plug-ins and themes you have found useful. Note your favourites in the comments so I can check them out.
II am currently testing some new plugins so check back soon if you want more suggestions. Better yet subscribe to my blog and don’t miss a thing, see sidebar for details.
Signed (with my new sig LOL)