I’ve seen a number of blog articles lately which list which WordPress plugins the author is using. These are very useful articles. But I thought I’d share with you what I’ve tried and ditched. And why.
All of these plugins have their place. Unfortunately, it’s not at BluLob.com.
This one functioned very well. It allows you to add a five-star rating widget into each post. You can also plop the 10 highest rated posts into your sidebar navigation panels.
However, visitors rarely used it. Any visitor likely to use it would either rate it 5 stars because they liked the post, or not at all because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings (or think, why bother?). Besides, ratings are best for sites that have competing products or authors. I’m not competing against myself.
This is similar to why I removed the tag cloud widget from the sidebar. It is a feature that works really well somewhere like Twitter with many people posting. You can get an idea of the latest topic trends. It makes little sense on a one-author blog with a narrow focus.
Also a well-functioning plugin, WP-Sticky allows you to identify one or more posts to stay at the top of your home page. This is fantastic for a site like problogger.net (which again has multiple authors). If you have a home page with a big main panel like theirs for the sticky article, then areas for other articles, this works well.
My blog outline is more linear. One post appears below another in the same column. It could confuse readers who see the same post on top and think I haven’t added anything new.
On the other hand, I just had a brainstorm. I could have a “latest tutorial” panel, then a block for excepts for all the latest posts. It would require a major layout change, but I might do that. Then I’ll unditch WP-Sticky.
This was code I added directly into the sidebar rather than needing to install a plugin (I had one for Flickr as well). It was a great novelty at first, but after a couple of weeks I got bored with it. It took up a lot of real estate, and probably weighed the page down in terms of download speed and bandwidth.
I have prominent connections with Twitter elsewhere. I have a “follow me” button in the sidebar, which is a nice compromise between too much information and too little. I also have a “Tweet This” button with each post, thanks to TweetMeme. Readers also have the option to Tweet a post from the Add To Any bar at the bottom of each post.
Do you use WordPress? Are there any plugins you’ve tried and ditched? Please share with us in the Comments section below.