Improve Your Site and Make Life Easier with these 3 Plugins
Alright ladies and gents, I finally sat down and forced myself to take care of a few odds and ends on this blog and the result was the installation of 3 new plugins here on Blogging Experiment. All three are one’s I’d recommend every blog using so I’ll go over each one quickly.
Subscribe to Comments
The first plugin I decided on was Subscribe to Comments by Tempus Fugit. I’m sure you’ve seen this plugin on several blogs and for good reason. It’s easy to install, it’s something that many of your visitors will use, and it will help make your blog “stickier” (increase the number of return visitors). The plugin installs a check box at the bottom of the comment box that allows commentators to subscribe to follow up comments. Many blogs set this check box to be on by default, but personally that drives me nuts. There was a great debate on yackyack.co.uk that I was able to participate in about this topic. As I said in my comment there,
“Maybe I’m unusual but I only comment on a few blogs and only then when the topic motivates me to. I usually have pretty strong feelings about whatever I comment about so I go back and check the replies to my comments pretty often. Basically I’m saying I don’t need the email but remembering to uncheck the box is annoying. Also, depending on whether or not they have captcha’s or math questions I don’t always scroll that far down to notice it.
I mean think about it, how many times have you had to uncheck subscription boxes that want to send you promotional emails or sign you up to receive “special offers from our partners” etc?
Basically, it makes it seem like you’re trying to get away with something. Maybe I’m the only one that sees it that way but it can damage my opinion of a site. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like this site anymore or think you’re all a bunch of spammers, but if I come across a new site that I’ve never been to before and they use the option, it definitely factors into my opinion.”
Enforce www. Preference
The next plugin I installed was the Enforce www. Preference plugin also by Tempus Fugit. This automatically 301 redirects the version of your site to your preferred url. For example, in the WordPress Options I entered http://bloggingexperiment.com. This plugin will then 301 redirect http://www.bloggingexperiment.com over to that preferred version (in my case, the non-www. version). Not only does it take care of that pesky problem, it also redirects the index.php (http://bloggingexperiment.com/index.php) back to the top level domain. All of this could be done with a few edits to the .htaccess file but really when there’s a plugin that takes care of it all for me, why not? I’m all about working smarter, not harder.
The final plugin I installed was WP-Chunk by villiage-idiot. This is a fairly simple plugin that shortens URLs posted on your blog (often in comments). This comes in VERY handy for those long URLs that are not only ugly to look at but often break many WordPress themes. It might not seem like a big deal if you’ve not encountered it but after you’ve had to edit a couple of URLs, you’ll be thanking me for tipping you off to this one. Again, work smarter not harder.
And there you have it folks, 3 quick and easy plugins that will not only improve your blog, but make your life just a little bit easier.