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Adding Functionality to a WordPress Blog

Swiss Army Knife

I’ve been going over the blog itself during the last few days, and looking at the way I’ve set it up. Being new to it when I started, I didn’t make
it very sophisticated, and left many aspects unchanged from the default settings.

As Alex Jeffreys reminded us in his Coaching Course, perfectionism can be the enemy of productivity: “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going”. After all, there’s a daunting amount to learn, and you can’t do it all at once.

But, at some stage, it’s worth tweaking and improving things to produce better results; and that’s what I’ve begun to do here with the blog setup. If you’re new to blogging, I hope it’ll help you with yours.

In particular, I’ve been looking at Plugins, the software tools which can be added to the core of WordPress to extend its functionality. There are over five and a half thousand at the official WordPress repository for them; but a quick web search will show many more, from a number of sources. You just download them to your computer, unzip them (they’re usually compressed) and then use ftp to upload the folders into the Plugins directory on your blog server. Once they’re there, you activate them (by clicking ‘Activate’!) using the WordPress Admin facility, and configure them, if necessary, by filling in web forms on-screen.

You can get plugins to do all sorts of things, but there are a few basic functions that most people seem to recommend. Ever since I began this blog, for instance, I have used an an almost universally-prescribed plugin to stop spammy invasions of my blog, usually masquerading as comments. These are mostly added automatically by robot programs roaming the net. You’d think they’d all be adverts, but the majority of the ones I’ve had have been large blocks of seemingly random phrases. Anyway, the anti-spam plugin I’ve been using is called Akismet, and it’s listed on the “Manage Plugins” page of the WordPress Admin section which you see when you log in to your blog to edit it. Akismet has automatically weeded out hundreds of pages of roborubbish from the blog since I installed it.

I’ve also used the Google Analyticator plugin, to help keep track of the numbers of visitors I get to the blog. In his Coaching Course, Alex Jeffreys emphasised the wisdom of using Google Analytics on your web pages, and this plugin makes it convenient to do it for your WordPress blog pages.

However, there are some other things which it’s useful to add, and I’ve just added five.

I’ll explain what they are in my next post.

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One comment to “Adding Functionality to a WordPress Blog”

  1. This is good stuff James! I don’t use WordPress (I’m a Drupal man) but I have a lot of readers who do, and I’ve been looking for somewhere to recommend them to – now I’ve got just the place in your blog. Keep up the good work!
    Mike CJ´s last blog ..How to get your blog readers to subscribe My ComLuv Profile

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