I’m beginning a weekly feature here on Remarkablogger, and I’m calling it “WordPress Weekend.” Each Saturday, I’ll feature tools and tutorials for the WordPress blogging platform. I love the higher-level discussions we have here about things like experimenting on your blog or speaking your mind on your blog. But I have so much practical stuff to share with you, too. Stuff that makes a big difference at the day-to-day “get the work done” level.
And, so: WordPress Weekend.
If you’re not using WordPress, I’m very sorry that you’re doing everything wrong.
5 New Plugins to Improve Your Blog
Warning: I have tried some of these, but not all of them. I am using some of them on Remarkablogger, so you know they work (and work with Headway). I recommend that you create a test blog to fool around with stuff if you feel squeamish about experimenting on your live site. I’ll let you know for each one which ones I’ve tried myself.
Pushquote creates these nifty “pullquote” boxes that float off to the side of your posts and the text wraps around them. Just like the kind of pullquotes you see in magazines (and, of course, other websites). This is a great way to add visual interest and pull people into your writing (hence the term pullquote) without using pictures (pictures are still good, but now you won’t need as many).
Even better though, are the Facebook and Twitter buttons below each quote box that lets your readers share that pullquote with a link over social media to drive traffic to the article.
As you can see, I’m using this plugin on Remarkablogger and I absolutely love it.
Get the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pushquote/
Facebook Thumb Fixer
Facebook Thumb Fixer tries to solve that really annoying problem of when someone goes to share your post on Facebook and the thumbnail image gets screwed up. What it does is use the image you set as the “featured image” for your post (which you should be doing). For posts that don’t have a featured image, you can set a fallback image to be used instead, such as a logo or a picture of yourself.
I’m using this plugin myself because I noticed the images not working right when going to share stuff via Facebook buttons on Remarkablogger. Note that you may have to create a Facebook app which I would call a mild-to-medium technical hurdle for most of you.
You’ll also notice at the beginning I said “tries to solve.” That’s because it doesn’t always work. I get thumbnails from images in the post, but not the featured one automatically. This could be some conflict with how Headway handles thumbnails and won’t affect you at all if you’re using a different theme. That’s why I still think it’s worth checking out.
You can find it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-thumb-fixer/
WP Branding Bar
I’m sure you’ve seen websites where there’s this little bar at the top that stays at the top and is on every page. Usually it advertises something that’s a conversion for the site owner and which is supposedly something you’d want, like a free item or a free trial or whatever. Hello Bar is a well-known example of this. Hello Bar costs money if you want any real features out of it, which is perfectly fine (the features are really good).
But what if you want a similar bar that that’s under your control and costs nothing? One that lets you include images in it (Hello Bar doesn’t)? If that sounds pretty cool to you then you might be interested in WP Branding Bar.
WP Branding Bar has no analytics or split-testing capability like the Hello Bar does, but it performs the same function and I really like that you can use images in it.
I am not using this on Remarkablogger at the moment. I may test it or something similar in the future, but I have not tested this one.
Get the WP Branding Bar plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-branding-bar/
As an alternative, you might also want to look at Simple Welcome Bar, which offers the ability to turn itself off after a week for each return visitor to your site.
You know the toolbar above the post writing box in WordPress? The tech behind that is called TinyMCE (which I always read as “tiny mice” for some reason… and now you will, too! ha ha…). If you’ve ever wanted more formatting options, Ultimate TinyMCE has it all, especially things that would make your web designer not want to live on this planet, anymore.
I haven’t tested this one, myself. I have a feeling it might make your admin pages load slowly, too. But if you’ve been dying for more formatting control in your post text, this thing will certainly give it to you.
You can get Ultimate TinyMCE here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ultimate-tinymce/
Have you ever published a post and then, as you’re reading the post on your own site, you suddenly spot a mistake you missed? Then you have to edit the page, find the spot where your mistake is, update the page, and then, finally, look at the published page as visitors will see it again.
WP LiveEdit lets you edit your blog post right on the live, published page and update it right from there.
I haven’t tested this one, myself, but one thing you need to know about this one is that you have to tell it which fields in your theme to use for things like Title and the post content. It appears there is a selector for this, if I understand the instructions correctly. So hopefully it won’t be too much of a hassle.
You can find WP LiveEdit here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-live-edit/
For next weekend, I’ll have a video tutorial for you on how to set up a test blog for yourself on your own domain so you can mess around with these kind of things yourself and not worry about screwing up your main site.
Don’t miss it, make sure you’re on my email list so you get notified (also you’ll get a pretty cool free ebook).