WordPress Plugins I Use

I thought some readers might be interested in how I run this site, so here are the WordPress plugins I’ve installed.

After the most recent major upgrade, I started noticing some significant performance delays (which may have been there earlier, I’m not blaming the version). So I cut way back on add-ons and have been carefully testing the ones I use since. That’s the reason I’m no longer using comment previews or subscriptions. I didn’t think they were important enough to justify the potential overhead, especially since RSS comment subscriptions are built-in.

Necessary Behind-the-Scenes Maintenance

Akismet — Absolutely essential spam prevention. Since I turned it on a year ago, it’s stopped over 36,000 attempts to pollute my comments.

Google (XML) Sitemaps — For keeping Google updated on site structure and new posts.

WordPress Database Backup — What it says.

Additional Maintenance, Not as Necessary

DoFollow — Removes the automatic nofollow tag in comments; I’m not sure I understand all of the background politics, but I think people who comment should get credit for links back.

Kill Preview 2 — Removes the preview window from the editing screen in favor of a link that creates a new window. Cuts down on load time, especially if you save often, and you can see what the post will look like only when you want to.

No WWW — Changes the site to http://comicsworthreading from http://www.comicsworthreading.

Cool Features

Dunstan-Style Error Page — Provides a more detailed error page that gives readers the chance to search, go to most recent posts, or otherwise navigate the site.

Get Recent Comments — For the sidebar, so readers can more easily keep up with what visitors are talking about.

Similar Posts — I like the cross-linking. I’ve got a lot of content here (over 1500 posts), and I think it’s neat to see what the computer is reminded of when I add a new one. I started with a wasabi one called Related Posts, but it’s no longer supported, and I discovered a fairly major bug in it. I was really glad to find this newly developed replacement.

The same author put out Similar Posts Feed and Plugin Output Cache plugins to improve performance. He also does a Recent Comments, but without quite as many features as the one I’m using.

Still to Work On

The whole issue of statistics tracking. I tried Google Analytics, but it was much too much overkill for what I wanted, and I’d rather find something local over a third-party site. Currently, I’m using PopStats , which seems ok. I’ve tried others, but they created a performance hit. I don’t need little flags for every country I have a visitor from — I just want to see, based on my logs, how many hits, visitors, and where (referrers and searches) people are coming from.

I’d also like to turn Popularity Contest back on, but I think it might be too much load. Still to test that one.


10 Responses to “WordPress Plugins I Use”

  1. Kelson Says:

    As a fellow WordPress user, I wanted to make sure you’ve seen this announcement. Someone broke into the WordPress download server a few days ago and inserted a security flaw in the WP 2.1.1 files. If you downloaded it as soon as it came out, it should be okay, but they’re urging anyone running 2.1.1 to upgrade to 2.1.2 ASAP, just in case.

    Back on topic, I’ll have to check out Similar Posts. I’ve been using a locally-hacked version of Related Posts more or less forever, and I keep wondering when it’ll stop working.

  2. Myk Says:

    The nofollow attribute was originally implemented to stop spammers. Since they get no Google boost from links with “nofollow” they´d stop spamming your comments.

    Well, so much for the theory.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the information. I have upgraded, appreciate the warning.

  4. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Says:

    I actually liked the comments subscription function because I have way too many RSS feeds I already track to add specific posts to the mix. :-(

    The recent comments and related posts functions are great, though, and exactly the kinds of plug-ins that have me back on the fence on what my next move will be. Now that I’ve been considering switching from Blogger, it’s either been increasingly buggy or I’ve become less tolerant of the bugs that were always there.

  5. Johanna Says:

    The best part about plugins is how customizable they are, even beyond just adding them. For example, one had display values set to 10, and I wanted 20, so I edited the code and voila!

  6. Allan Says:

    Sadly, I’m incredibly lazy: the only plugin I’ve added is the akimet one. I keep meaning to try some others, and play about with the design code as I’m so impressed by what you do here. It’s great to see some of these behind the scenes “secrets” laid out. Thanks!

  7. david brothers Says:

    I’ve been using Slimstat for stats tracking, while using Sitemeter for hits counting. Slimstat isn’t perfect, but it is a little robust. I haven’t noticed a performance increase, either. I do recall running into a nasty bug on installation that I had to fix in the php file. I may switch to Popstats, if only because it looks much more simple. It’s also still being developed, while Slimstat has stalled.

    I also use Simple Spoiler and KG Archives. Both are super-easy.

    Thanks for doing this. I’d been meaning to ask you a few questions about your WP install, anyway. Are those neat purple boxes around your post info (authorbox?) and images part of a theme or are they from a plugin? They look extremely nice, and I like that you can do captions.

  8. James Schee Says:

    What happened to those odd “quilt design” logos each commenter had beside their post?

  9. Johanna Says:

    James: when I went to upgrade, I saw how many little picture files they created, so I junked them. The only feedback I ever got was how some people didn’t like the way theirs looked, and it wasn’t worth the griping.

    Allan: Glad I could help. I just want to “pass it along”, since the two first commenters, Kelson and Myk, have been so helpful to me in the past when I had code questions. Myk gave me the idea to write this up.

    David: Thanks for the information and additional links. I know one can’t complain about someone doing something for free quitting, but it is a shame when someone stops working on something useful. Thankfully, so far, others have picked up the ideas.

    The purple boxes are part of the theme (modified Mostly Muppet). If you want the CSS for them, let me know.

  10. Anime Says:

    Hey recent comments came with the original WP install.

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