New Blog Design And Plug-Ins

BlogI changed my blog theme and layout yesterday along with installing several new plug-ins.

I was previously using the Semiologic theme. While it had a lot of nice features (it’s much more than just a simple theme), I found it difficult to edit the page to exactly what I wanted at times.

The new theme comes from Michel Fortin’s Clean Copy template…with some modifications of course (the sidebar has been moved to the right so the main visitor scan area can be in the posts).

Here are a Few of the New Plug-Ins:

Ultimate Tag Warrior

This is one of the best plug-ins I’ve seen. It makes adding tags to your posts easy which increases your searchability and it adds additional “tag” pages for more content for the search engines to crawl. How did I ever live without it?

Social Bookmark Creator

Add social bookmarking links or a dropdown box at the bottom of each of your posts. Make it easy for viewers to increase your traffic by bookmarking your content.

Popularity Contest

See your most popular posts by traffic, comments, trackbacks, and more. You can also modify the settings to have it score in whatever way you like. Nice way to keep your most popular posts available and viewable (see my use of it in the right sidebar).

Do Follow

Basic WordPress set-up adds a no follow tag to your comments. So commenters don’t get link love from posting and participating in the discussion. Originally this was done to prevent comment spam, but the spam keeps coming (most blocked by Akismet). If people participate in the discussion, they deserve the link credit in my opinion…so this plug-in gives it to them.

Enforce www.Preference

Redirects visitors to one specific link for your domain. So instead of people linking to terrydean.org or www.terrydean.org, mine is set for all visitors to go to www.terrydean.org (the benefit here is that some search engines now see all the incoming links for the same main page instead of separate pages).

Since this post has detailed some of the new plug-ins I’ve added, let’s mention two old faithfuls I couldn’t imagine being without.

Google Sitemaps

This creates an XML sitemap for Google, Yahoo, and MSN spidering. It is basically a map to your site for the search engines to find and index all your pages. As your site is updated, it also pings Google to let them know about the new content.

Akismet

If you allow comments on your blog, this plug-in is essential. Make sure it is activated in your Plug-in section. It blocks a majority of the incoming spam comments. Without it, I wouldn’t even consider having comments turned on.

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