Thanks to Ira for bringing the issue to my attention 🙂
It seems others have noticed it too – see the ShareThis forum here.
I finished working on a few mini-projects here and there, during which I was digging through some options pages within WordPress. I noticed that somehow the Tagline Rotator plugin had duplicated data. Each time you visit this site, a random tagline is displayed at the top. These now include…
Before My Head Explodes…
Bits And Bites
Can I Kick It?
Come Into My World
Feels Like Home
Full On Kazakh Hysteria
Halfway Up The Downs
Hello And Good Morning
I Never Could Get The Hang Of Thursdays…
If You Think It’s Easy
Innocent Smile, Wicked Eyes
Keep It Rolling
Long Way Home
Mars, The Bringer Of Calories
Me Myself And I
More Than A Name
Novocaine For The Soul
One Nation Under Dog
One Step Sideways
PCs And Vodka
R To The K
Something To Do…
Step Into My World
The Good, The Bad & The Techy
There’s No Other Way
This Is Made Of Memories
Wednesdays In My Bed
What’s My Age Again?
Your Age Ah
If SEO was more important to me right now, it would make sense to use just one tagline that was related to the subjects covered on this site. As you may have guessed though, on this personal site, I like playing around with things occasionally. Right, now I need to catch up with a backlog of e-mails and finish writing a few posts for this site. We had a great time with Dad over in Evesham, but I did get very lax with staying on top of digital things.
So, now that I have completed the list of plug-ins that I’d recommend you check out, I thought I should probably mention how to install them. Most of them can be downloaded from the author’s site, extracted, then uploaded to your blog’s /wp-content/plug-ins/ folder. However, since WordPress now has a plug-in finder and installer routine built in, you’ll could just click on the Plugins menu option in the dashboard. From here, click the Add New link, and then in the search box, type in the name of the plug-in, and then click the Search Plugins button. From there, either click the Install Now option, or Details, if you would prefer to check it out a little further before committing to trying it out. Assuming the installation reports back as successful, all you need to do is now click the activate plugin link, and probably check the newly created settings page for it. You may need to use your head a little to find the settings page – if there isn’t one directly under the Settings area (and you’re sure it was installed OK), try checking the Appearance, Widget page. (Some plugins don’t even have a settings page, they’re either off or on).
This is it! The last WordPress plug-in review for a little while at least, as I have reached the end of the list of plug-ins I use across my different sites. If you don’t run a blog, apologies for this barrage of posts on a topic that doesn’t necessarily interest you. If you’ve come here expecting news about Kazakhstan, I’ll be trying to revive that category soon (though nothing controversial for about 6 months as I need to get my residency permit renewed next yet). If you have been waiting for more Amsterdam based posts, you’ll probably be waiting a few years for any personal reports from that city (see a post from earlier today). Finally, if the “Aware Or Conspiracy Nut” or book review categories were the reason you started coming here, I agree they’ve both been very neglected in recent years. I’ll try and revive them too some time.
Anyway, back to the reason for this post’s existence – WP Security Scan. It is a plug-in written by the same author as the All in One SEO Pack I mentioned a while back. Instead of trying to get you the best possible results in search engine rankings though, it scans through the files, folders and settings of your WordPress install, and draws your attention to any errors, lax security rules in place or other settings that need your attention. Some are automatically corrected, whilst others will require your manual intervention. If you want to ensure you reduce the likelihood of your blog being hacked, download it today, and make sure you follow the author’s advice when it comes to changing settings.
The following plug-in (WP Calais Archive Tagger) is very similar to, and in fact written by the same author as the Calais Auto Tagger plug-in I mentioned back towards the end of September.
It too analyses posts for you and tries to extract the right terms to use as tags. However, whilst the Auto Tagger works with posts that you are actually editing at the time, the archive tagger (you may have guessed this part already…) trawls through your archives (old, previously published posts) and adds any suggestions it finds. Again, you’ll need to sign up for a Calais API key, but these are free and I don’t appear to have received any spam after signing up with the scheme. Since I first installed this plug-in, updates have been released, so your old tags aren’t wiped out by the new suggestions, and throttling has been put in place to ensure you aren’t banned from Calais’ server by making too many requests at once. Oh, one quick note, WordPress’s dashboard has altered since the plug-in was first released – I don’t know if that is the reason why the area to enter your API key has moved to within the Plug-in section, rather than under comments, but in case you struggle to find the right area, now you know.
Let Me Begin… Just five WordPress plug-in posts left now! Rather than trying to decide which to recommend the most/first, I’ve just been writing about them in alphabetical order. Different people use blogs for different reasons and write about different topics, so my number one recommended plug-in for one person’s site might be totally useless to you. That said, WP-DBManager is likely to be useful to almost everyone running a WordPress blog. As you may guess from the not-too-cryptic name, it helps you to look after your database. A lot of the features could be achieved by using PHPMyAdmin. This would require your hosting company to use that interface, you to remember your user name and password, and no automation would occur.
Using WP-DBManager means you can optimize, repair, backup & restore your database, as well as delete backups database , drop and empty indivudal tables and run selected queries. You can also (the most important feature for me) have database backups automatically created and e-mailed to you. If you only write a new post every week or so, there is little point in having the database backed up every 24 hours (unless you receive a LOT of comments), similarly, if you are writing about WorPress plugins five times a day, it makes sense to at least have daily backups emailed to you.
Should you wish, you can also directly run SQL queries, and have the database optimized as often as you like. Having just re-read this post before publishing, I realize I should probably point out that the database holds almost all of the data you would want backed up in case you needed to restore all your posts, comments and WordPress and plug-in options. If your server gets hacked (and your host doesn’t keep decent backups) or if you accidentally install something that wipes parts of your blog out, then these backups will contain all you need. Obviously any external files (like videos and pictures) would not be included, but you will probably have those backed up on your home PC.
Now go and jump around 🙂
If you want to increase the amount of time that the average new visitor to your blog spends on your site, one option is to include links to related posts. The aptly named WordPress Related Posts (the English language version of the author’s post about this plug-in is down, so that links to the official WordPress.org page for it instead) plug-in does just that. You can select how many posts you want listed, what the plug-in should do if no related posts are actually found, and whether thumbnails should be used. You can also instruct it to never include posts from certain categories, display how old the related post is, how many comments each post has, and whether to automatically insert the information into each post (in case you want to edit your theme’s PHP files yourself and customise it more) and/or your RSS feed.
Although it doesn’t work in a multi-blog environment (if you don’t know what that means, you don’t need to worry about it), and there are a lot of competing plug-ins available, until I find a problem I can’t easily fix with it, I’ll probably continue using it.
Anyway, I need to check my old e-mails sometime, as another author has invited me to try out their plug-in for displaying related posts, but I still have other more important mails to sort out first, so it may take a while. If I do end up changing, I’ll try and remember to post details on the new one.
We are already onto the W of plug-ins that are used across my different sites. So this review will be one of the last in this series. For anyone more interested in Windows Mobile applications and tweaks, I realised recently that I’ve not put any up for a long time, so those will most likely be the next series here at ChrisMerriman.com
Anyway, back to the plug-in… Wizzart – Recent Comments is a more versatile replacement for the Recent Comments widget that was recently integrated into WordPress. If you know more than me about CSS (I’m pretty sure AlexC is well past that point already!) you can define the rules for this widget, or if you are more of a point, click and hope sort of person, the widget admin area opens up some basic options.
You can obviously decide how many comments you want to display, as well as how many characters should be included (useful if your theme’s sidebars’ width mean the default character count often ends up with a word left trailing on a new line by itself). You can decide whether just comments should be displayed, or whether you also want to include recent pings and trackbacks (when WordPress is informed of links to your posts, be they internal or external).
If you wish, then only comments from the current category of the post you are viewing will be presented (if you write about amateur radio hardware and also snowboarding, then you may only want comments relevant to each topic displayed by default).
Finally, it is Gravatar enabled, meaning that if the comment author has a Gravatar account, their chosen profile picture will be displayed. WordPress populates this field with a random image if you have selected that option (check the Discussion option page).
If you are 100% happy with WordPress’s own Recent Comments widget (or simply don’t use it), or perhaps you have all your blog entries set to no comments allowed, then obviously this plug-in isn’t for you, otherwise, take a few minutes to check it out.
Although I have not had the time recently to sit and read through my twitter friend’s tweets very much, I do still use the twitter service itself a lot. This blog has the Twitter Tools plug-in installed, which provides a lot of integration of customization between tweets and posts.
Every time I create a new post on this site, a tweet is automatically generated under my Twitter account, which has the post title, and a link to the post itself. This obviously helps encourage a few people to visit my site, and through an app in Facebook, sets my status update as well. If you write a post about bar reviews, and don’t want to have to manually create a tweet explaining you’ve just published the post, this plug-in makes a lot of sense.
Also, every time I tweet, a blog post mirroring the content is created on this site. I find this very useful, as if I’m out and about with my phone, whether I’m writing a tweet from within PockeTwit (possibly with a picture included), streaming an (at the time) live video from my phone with Qik or publishing my location via Foursquare, I don’t need to either instantly repeat any information from a different program, or wait until I get home and remember to mirror the data elsewhere. Obviously I still need to remember to actually embed the pictures/videos later, as I appreciate that some people don’t have the time to click on external links, but the Twitter Tools plug-in definitely saves me a lot of time.
There are related Twitter Tools plug-ins that cover…
Bit.ly URLs (to automatically shorten long URLs to keep within the 140 character limit imposted by Twitter. You can also use it to track visitor activity related to those links, if you have a bit.ly account).
Exclude Category (if you don’t want to have a certain group of posts tweeted about, this helps you.
Hashtags (which as you can probably guess, correctly handles hash tags. If I mention #UKNews in a tweet, then the corresponding blog post will automatically link that hash tag to the relevant search URL on Twitter.)