Choosing a Mini-Challenge
Selecting which mini-challenge to participate in was a challenge in and of itself. There were so many great challenges to participate in this Bloggiesta, but as I’d just recently cleared out my downloads folders and reorged my entire backup/data system on most of my computers, I couldn’t in all fairness participate in the Digital Decluttering challenge.
Though I still have one computer that needs a total overhaul. But as it isn’t all blog-related clutter and as it will take me at least a week I thought it better to choose some other type of challenge.
I also like the idea of Brainstorming for Post Ideas, but as I recently went through my own brainstorming session I knew I couldn’t come up with anything new for the challenge.
And I was this close to joining in on the 50 Bookish Things To Do Before You Die challenge, but I know I’d just have to come up with all 50 things right now and then I’d likely not give the list another peek for the rest of the year.
So, while I’m not the world’s most active plugin user I have enjoyed a few which made me think that joining My Shelf Confession’s Favorite WordPress Plugins challenge was the challenge for me.
And so here are…
My Favorite WordPress Plugins
Dynamic To Top. This plugin has been a lifesaver. I tend to be a little bit wordy and some of my posts tend to have a lot of information (i.e., Book Watch: Releasing This Week). But I don’t want to change to a “Read More” format on my site and I don’t want to include just one or two posts on the homepage. This plugin gradually appears as you scroll and allows readers to quickly get back to the top of the page at any point in time, not just after they’ve reached the bottom of the page.
It is customizable, so you can change what it says within the box, you can simply have an arrow if you prefer, and you can change the color and the shape – to a degree – if you wish to do so. While mine is currently rectangular, with a border and shading for both the text and the “image,” I can easily tweak it to look a bit different.
Jetpack – specifically Jetpack Comments. While the Jetpack suite comes pre-installed on WordPress blogs these days, not all features are automatically activated. (I’m not thrilled with the auto-activation of the G+ component that just recently installed with the latest update, but I still really like having the Jetpack suite of options.) My favorite is Jetpack Comments.
I was wary of activating them as I’d had custom fonts in my theme which I thought would change the look of the comments. But spam comments were getting out of control. Prior to activating them I’d have two to three hundred spam comments a day I’d have to weed through and if I let it slide for a bit I’d have twenty to thirty pages of comments. And I had to look because there would be the occasional real comment that Akismet would label as spam that wasn’t.
After installing and activating Jetpack Comments my spam has been reduced to one to two comments per day on average, though it’s starting to increase just a bit. Totally worth it.
Blogger Importer. For some bloggers this may just be a one time use plugin. But as someone who moves my blogs around quite a bit I’ve actually used this plugin a bunch of times and it’s super easy. Since I first moved a blog from Blogger to WordPress, following instructions on Parajunkee’s website, the process has gotten so much easier. Now with not much more than a few tweaks and the click of a button all blog posts and comments get imported. In minutes, if not less. No more downloading of the xml file and uploading it.
And while it doesn’t bring along images, if you have them in a place you’re comfortable with keeping them, it is easy peasy.
Of course if you want to import your images, you can with the Blogger Image Import, which didn’t work for one of my blogs way back when, but worked fairly well the last time I used it a couple months ago. It’s not my favorite as it imports each image in a post as if it’s a new one rather than the same image, but at least it brings it over and allows you to delete the album from Google/Blogger.
And a definite must is using the Categories to Tags Converter Importer which allows you to convert categories to tags or tags to categories so that your categories list on WordPress isn’t filled with crazy tags like, “Best Book Evah!” or “Dupli-Trading” or “Trading Fail” or “Sad Day.”
Media File Renamer. This is another plugin that has been a lifesaver. While I haven’t had to use it all that often, when I have it has totally come in handy. I hate having incorrectly named media and if it’s an instance where I don’t notice my error until long after the media/image has been added to a post it’s not like I can just go back and fix it by deleting and re-uploading. Not if it is used in multiple posts. This plugin allows me to rename the media without having to tweak each and every post it’s possibly been used in. Super helpful.
Special Text Boxes. While I don’t use this plugin that often with my newer themes, it is a plugin that I have love, love, loved during the course of my blog’s history. While I taught myself how to create a text box in the early days, it seemed a bit complicated to have to constantly be adding code to a post. I loved this plugin because it allowed me to create a cute textbox with a custom image – I figured out how to make a pretty purple quote mark and add it – and all that was left to do was just select the copy in my post, click the button and the coding would be added. It even allowed me to change the color for both the box and the font for each and every post.
And of course it goes without saying that any – and every – blog should activate their Akismet plugin. To date Akismet has protected my site from 103,040 spam comments, has only missed 879 and only marked 134 as spam that weren’t. I know I feel protected.
Well, that’s it for me. While I have used a few other plugins, I am not exactly a plugin afficionado. And I’m wary about trying out too many as I’ve heard horror stories about conflicts with themes and plugins. But worse, I’ve heard stories where plugins allow for security risks to blogs, i.e. WP Super Cache plugin.
Though after checking out April’s post I am sort of curious about the Collapsing Archives plugin as that is about the only thing I like about Blogger.
Well, those are my favorites, but I’d love to hear what yours are, or what Mini-Challenge you chose to participate in. So if you’d like to share, leave a comment and if you have one, a link to your post.