B-Tips is less a tutorial and more a brain-dump of all the stuff I’ve learned how to do over the last couple of years. It is inspired in part by more knowledgable bloggers than myself, as well as the multiple conversations I’ve come across on Twitter, where the topic is fear of coding (usually in relation to switching from Blogger to WordPress). (This is NOT a how-to on switching. I had hiccups and help in switching, and it was many moons ago, therefore if you need or want to switch, I recommend reading one of the many tutorials out there to help guide the way). My point is, HTML and simple code is not a scary thing as long as you have Google. Or friendly bloggers to brain-dump on you. Other great references are Parajunkee’s View, BookNerd and Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. All of them have more knowledge than me.
My Five Favorite WordPress Plugins
The great thing about WordPress, and a large reason people switch from Blogger to WordPress, are all the great plugins. They give you a lot of control over your blog, as well as the opportunity to do fun things, and make your life easier. Sometimes I can spend hours looking for and researching plugins, because anything out there to make blogging simpler, or easier, is something I’m interested in. Everyone has their own favs, these are mine.
- Duplicate Post – This plugin allows you to clone a post you’ve already created. If you’re picky about formatting (like me), this is a great plugin to have. I don’t clone my reviews, because they get scheduled well in advanced in Editorial Calendar (more on that in a minute), but Duplicate Post helps to clone memes I participate in, like Teaser Tuesday, The Sunday Post and Follower Friday, where the format doesn’t change, but the variables, like books, links and body copy do. This saves me precious time I don’t have to copy and paste from an old post. And it’s just generally a safer method.
- WordPress Editorial Calendar – This plugin is the most productive plugin I have in my list. It shows my published and drafted posts in calendar view, much like Google calendar, so I can see what my future weeks look like. Looking at a bunch of drafts in regular list view can get overwhelming, so this Calendar, which lets me schedule drafts with titles and times, really helps to organize my blog life. So if someone sends an email to me, asking if I can do such-and-such post on XX date, I say sure, then I go right to my post calendar and schedule the draft. This way, when it’s about 2 or 3 weeks out, I can see it visually and know I need to begin thinking about getting all the stuff together for it, and I don’t forget about them. It is the plugin I recommend over every other one.
- Category Posts Widget – This is a plugin that enables a widget for your sidebars. I use it to display our latest book reviews, so readers of the blog can find what I’ve recently read without having to dig too deeply into the menu at the top of the page.
- Broken Link Checker – Broken links wreak havoc with your blog, like lowering your site score, messin’ with your SEO and causing poor page load times. This plugin regularly checks for broken links, and then emails you the list of links you need to check. To make it even easier, there is a Broken Links tab in WordPress once you install this plugin that lists all the broken links so you can go in and fix them. It makes it all pretty easy.
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox – My host offers free backup services, but they warn users to find their own backup solution as well. I never want to be in a position where my blog goes down and I don’t have the files to get it back up. That’s where this plugin comes in. It backs your WordPress files up to your Dropbox automatically, at intervals you choose. You can choose subdomains and folders to exclude and it’s very user friendly. Mine backs up every night at midnight.
Do you have any plugins that you love and aren’t listed here? I’d love to hear about them!