I had promised to blog about the plugins I use at WordPress about six months ago but I had been having some loading time issues and they were directly related to my plugins. Before I list the plugins, let me make a comment about the wordpress community. WordPress is a free piece of blogging software. It is distributed under a GNU General Public License, version 2 or later. It is the belief of the GNU community that derivative code must also be released under GNU General Public License as well. Remember that software code is just as much intellectual property as is a work of creative fiction so the GNU GLPv2 distribution of this work (that powers millions of blogs) is incredible.
There are thousands of free themes and plugins available to bloggers but there is also a very robust premium theme and plugin community. There are always many comments to the effect that once books are primarily digital, giving away free copies doesn’t make sense because people will only want the free but within the blogging community, the demand for premium products have only increased from the initial “free only” community. The reason for the demand for premium products comes from bloggers wanting access to richer feature sets and support. I don’t think you can dismiss the demand growth for premium derivative product as non applicable to genre fiction even though it isn’t exactly the same. There are lessons to be derived everywhere but I think the essential one here is that a) users were willing to pay for a premium product if b) it offered utility the free product did not.
A badly coded plugin can slow down the speed of a blog, as can a badly coded theme. It’s hard for an amateur like me to figure what which plugin is badly coded. You have to go with the trial by error (deactivating them one by one). Since the slowdown, I’ve moved to a new blog and implemented a new theme (from Pagelines) and will be making some additional changes to improve performance such as implementing a content delivery network (CDN) and employing a cache. And I’ve taken a hard look at what plugins I need and which ones I do not. Now I think I am ready to share with you my list. I have a combination of premium plugins and free plugins.
- Backup Buddy. I use this to schedule daily, weekly and monthly backups of the blog. It also has features to help with the migration of a blog to a new host.
- Gravity Forms. This is a “form” plugin that collects data and outputs it. I am using it as a contact form but also to collect winners’ names and addresses for book giveaways. You can also use forms to collect data and make new posts. I used Gravity Forms over at the dabwaha to collect the nominees for the RITA and that data was used to automatically create a new listing.
- WP Ajax Edit Comments. A favorite of the commenters, this plugin allows the users to edit their comments. YAY!
@ Reply. This plugin allows you to add Twitter-like @reply links to comments.
Add Quicktag. This allows me to add “Quicktags” to the editor. Quicktags are essentially text that is inserted into a post whether it is html code or plain text. I use it for the buy links. With a press of a button, the buy link text is inserted. I then go through and add the appropriate book code to make the link work. It’s a time saver.**
Advanced Spoiler. This is the spoiler plugin. The drawback of using this plugin instead of whiting out the text is that the spoiler shows up in the RSS Feed.
Ajax Comment Preview. Allows commenters to preview their comments before posting.
Akismet. Askimet is our spam filter.
Comment Whitelist. I use this in conjunction with Askimet. Some of the regular commenters get pushed into the spam folder because their IP address may be similar to a banned IP address. Putting the commenter’s email address or IP address in the whitelist prevents them from being marked as a spammer.
Download Post Comments. This is used for contests. The plugin allows me to download all the comments to one post in a csv list which helps me to identify the winners of giveaways in conjunction with numbers from random.org. (I need to do this for the ACE/ROC Giveaway).
NextGEN Gallery. We use this primarily on movie days to cycle through a number of images. We don’t use it to its fullest potential.
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded. This plugin allows readers to sign up for email notifications of new comments. I can also use it to email all the subscribers (which I have never done).
Twitter Tools. I use this plugin to tweet each new post. It can also be used to create digests of my own tweets but I haven’t used that feature.
WP-Polls. This is the polling software we use for dabwaha but also here at Dear Author (when I used to run polls regularly. Perhaps I should bring that back?)
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. At the end of the posts, we now have a list of blog posts that are similar to the one you are reading. This helps to identify other reviews or content that might be of interest.
Hope this helps!
** Here is my buy link text if it helps anyone:
<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/isbn/9ISBN”>Book Link</a> | <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN?ie=UTF8&tag=dearauthorcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=xxxx”>Kindle</a> | <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/10ISBN?ie=UTF8&tag=dearauthorcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=10ISBN”>Amazon</a> | <a href=”http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookSearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&r=1&ISBN=nookISBN”> nook</a> | <a href=”http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookSearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&r=1&ISBN=9ISBN”>BN</a> | <a href=”http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=10ISBN”>Borders</a>
| <a href=”http://ebookstore.sony.com/search?keyword=EbookISBN”>Sony</a>| <a href=”http://kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=eISBN”>KoboBooks</a> |