Some Blog Maintenance

Over the past week or so I spent some time hunting for WordPress plugins I have found useful on other blogs, and while doing so I stumbled into a handful of other useful-sounding plugins.

The one thing I probably find most frustrating about blogs is that once I have taken the trouble to post a comment on someone’s blog, I tend to promptly forget where I did so, and will miss any answers to my comments. So I was really happy to find the Subscribe to Comments plugin. Now when you post a comment on my blog, you can request emails to be sent to you if and when there are replies.

I also like the related posts features many blogs have. At first I tried one plugin (I forget the name), but it occasionally gave no output, and occasionally put output on the blog home page. I then found the Similar Posts plugin, which has worked fine at least in my tests. Time will tell if I’ll stay with it.

Security being close to my heart I was happy to find AskApache Password Protect, which can write all kinds of advanced .htaccess files for your blog to prevent unwanted access to your blog. The name is a little misleading, since it can do more than provide just password protection. Unfortunately some of the features don’t seem to work for my blog, for example the password protect features and a few of the other “safe” settings will just render my blog inaccessible. I haven’t yet tracked down the causes to these.

I was also on the lookout for a plugin that would enable me to fix the keywords and descriptions for each of my posts, and while there were several alternatives I settled on All in One SEO Pack. It actually let me fix a few additional issues I was not even aware of.

I tried two different plugins that were supposed to make my blog mobile friendly, but in both cases this seemed to play badly with caching. If a mobile browser hit a post first, then all subsequent viewers – even on desktop – were served the mobile version, and vice versa. So I am still on the lookout for a good mobile solution that works with WP Super Cache.

And speaking of caches, I also installed WP Widget Cache and Plugin Output Cache, although I am not yet convinced they help much.

While I was in the maintenance mode, I also cleaned up the PHP templates a little from some experiments I had tried earlier. And before I actually started on these plugin experiments I wrote a little backup script to rsync my blog directory and dump the blog database so that if something went wrong I could easily recover. Dreamhost provides backups too, but the hourly interval was not enough for my needs when I was testing several things in an hour.

PS. This is my 101st post!

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3 Comments

  1. Justin:

    You might want to try Mippin – just a suggestion but you can either mobilize your site directly through http://www.mippin.com/mobilizer or you can use the wordpress plugin which works extrremely well.
    To explain more, try mobilizing your site once, either way, and it will get published in to a mobile edition site called http://mippin.com (on any phone browser).

    Basically Mippin brings together thousands of similar, mobilized blogs in to one mobile community so that there‚Äôs now a great range of content, news, blogs, video, images, listings etc, all connected around similar interests and attracting lots of mobile readers. Throw in one of the largest audiences available on mobile phones and 100% ad revenue back to you because you mobilizing your blog and we think we’ve got a great proposition too!

    Let us know if you like it! And if it works well of course!

  2. Heikki Toivonen:

    Interesting. I took a look, but I don’t like the fact that Mippin seems to strip all links from posts. This makes many posts pointless, because their main content are the URLs.

  3. Justin Baker:

    That’s a very fair comment Heikki. We agree with you. It is something we have been working on implementing. We do have this enabled for some sites on an experimental basis (e.g. take a look at Techcrunch). The disadvantage of the current implementation is that the link is forced through a transcoder which is a little ugly. We are working on a solution which links through Mippin when an RSS is available – but it is not trivial. If you’d like us to enable all links in your feed let us know. Else, we’ll let you know when we have this conundrum solved. Thanks for the feedback.