Essential WordPress Plugins

There is no denying that WordPress is one very popular PHP application, and that its popularity is well deserved, but perhaps what is more important is that WordPress provides a lot of flexibility in the form of plugins. WordPress Plugins extend WordPress by adding custom features (which may not be for everyone). In fact many of the WP Plugins do seem to be very specific, but there are a select few which have universal appeal. If you just installed WordPress, then your next task is to probably install all of these plugins or at least one of them.

WP-Cache 2 is my personal favorite plugin to install. I can’t honestly think why anyone would want to run WordPress without WP-Cache. As it’s name implies, WP-Cache does one thing, it caches your WordPress blog and immediately speeds it up. When first trying out WP, I was very disappointed with the loading times. It seemed to just pause. My MovableType blog never would take this long to come up, so it was definitely something I noticed about WP and other PHP/MySQL based applications that lacked caching. This is why I consider WP-Cache essential, because it adds a caching mechanism which is sorely needed in WordPress.

If you are using WordPress as your main site’s Content Management System, then you should consider installing these plugins too:

WP-ContactForm is the easiest way to add a contact page to your site. The hard way of course is to use a perl script like FormMail and verify that it is secure, or you can simply install this plugin and add your settings to WordPress and you are done.

WP-Shortstat brings web traffic stats to your WordPress Dashboard section. Most web hosts offer AWStats in cPanel, but how about if you just want something simpler and easier to acess? This is where the WP- Shortstat plugin really aims at, namely simple stats for your weblog.

Google Sitemap Generator is essential if you are interested in having your site indexed frequently by Google and if you want to help facilitate Google’s spiderbot by giving it a custom XML based sitemap to your site. The plugin gives you custom controls too, so you can add static pages from your site that exist outside of WordPress.

If you look around there are more WP Plugins, but most of them are either not as developed, or simply their niche is too unique for most general setups of WordPress.

Notepad2

Most web design requires you to look at html source code, because even if you design your pages in a graphical editor like Nvu or Dreamweaver, you always end up with typos that you have to go back and fix quickly. Perhaps you forgot to close a tag or you misspelled something in your content section, either way, you will need some type of text editor. On Windows most users rely on MS Notepad for this, but there are better editors out there.

Florian Balmer‘s free editor, Notepad2 is not the world’s greatest text editor, but it is simple and has many features over MS Notepad. Best of all you can manually setup Notepad2 as your default in Windows, by renaming notepad.exe. Note, that you have to replace the notepad.exe in multiple locations first and then let Windows know you want to keep the new file.

What I like is that Notepad2 has no nagging ads or spyware.

Download Notepad2.

See Who Is Linking To Your Site

Here is a simple way of finding out what pages on the internet link back to your site.

Bring up Google.com, then type in your url for your site.

Example:
www.mysite.com

And enter. when the the results come up, go to the bottom and click : Find web pages that contain the term…. This will bring up new results.

Notice at the top right it will say something like: Results 1 – 10 of about 580 for “www.mysite.com”.

Google does not show all results, just the most important ones it finds, or ones that it thinks are important. Go to the last page of your results and you will see a link that explains this. If you click on this all your results will be shown.

repeat the search with the omitted results included

For small web sites this actually works better than running a search for link: www.yoursite.com. The bad part with this method is that it also brings up your own site’s pages.

Sitemap, Forum, Legal Stuff Added

I managed today to tweak things a bit and added a Sitemap, added the legal pages for terms of use, the privacy policy, and redid the hosting agreements so they all format all the same. The sitemap has all the links, and the footer for blog pages also notes them as well.

Just another day editing html I guess. It feels like Friday already!

Mac OS X Tiger Network Speed Fix

Over the weekend I noticed that browsing in Safari and in Firefox was significantly slower than normal and since I had upgraded my Powerbook to Mac OS X Tiger, I figured it was probably a bug and Apple would fix it in 10.4.2 or some other update. However I started to look at it and see if I could fix it myself.

Apparantly some OS X Tiger users have been recommending that you disable IP6 in your Network Preferences, which does seem to work, but I’m not sure how long this lasts or if it is the actual fix or not.

I decided to spend some time tightening up my Netgear wireless router and noticed that the router setup did not have my ISP DNS server ip addresses. I corrected that and then in OS X Network Preferences I put the ip address for my router and that seemed to fix things and now browsing is back to normal.

The bug must be with the DNS settings, it must some how not be sending them through the router correctly, like it use to on Mac OS 10.3. Hopefully Apple will fix it soon.