Archive for the ‘Best Wordpress Plugins’ Category

Autoblogged | Review

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Price: $59.95 (single license), $129.95 (unlimited sites)
Product: Easily automate your blog posts by configuring intelligent RSS and blog searches
Value for money: 5 out of 5

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Price includes

  • Full unencrypted PHP source code
  • Free technical support
  • Access to customer forum
  • Minor version upgrades

For Digital Point users, you can get the following discounts by entering the following codes:

DPTENOFF – $10 off a single site license
DP30 – $30 off an unlimited site license

I give this product 5 out of 5 because it really is worth the money. There are still a few minor bugs they have to work out (which don’t really affect me), but they do provide regular updates and are working on the outstanding issues. When you think you pay up from $100-$300 for a premium theme, this software which comes in only just over $100 is a steal in my book.

This software allows you to put any number of RSS Feeds into categories you specify as posts, putting your Wordpress blog on autopilot if you so wish.

Autoblogged – what is it and why you should get it if you are running a blog site?

I came across Autoblogged surfing the web one day and after reading about what was possible with it I couldn’t help purchasing it. Many of my rush of the blood purchases usually end up with me regretting it a week later. But, I have found Autoblogged an indespensible part of my website. I also intend to use it on a number of other sites in the future.

How I use Autoblogged
Depending on your objectives, the way you use Autoblogged will differ. The way I use it is to have it search for relevant content which is then automatically fed into my site as a post. I then add my own comments to that feed if I have time and/or if I have something intelligent to say about the feed.This adds relevant content to my site which is good for my readers and also alerts me to other relevant content related to my website and allows me to quickly add new content on my site. I have seen a significant improvement in the number of visitors to my site since I started using this plugin.

For example, on this site I have a bunch of Wordpress related tutorials. I use Autoblogged to search for relevant topics such as ‘Wordpress Tutorials’ or ‘Premium Wordpress Themes’. Depending on the type of site you have, you would obviously change these keywords.

Below is the admin area and an example of the type of different searches you can perform. You can choose to have the feed ‘Published’, as a ‘Draft’, ‘Pending’ or ‘Private’ which is quite handy. On most of my searches I choose to have it as ‘Pending’ so I can make a decision later on whether or not to keep it.

You can choose to search from the following:
- RSS feed
- Google blog search
- Technorati search
- BloggDigger search
- Blogpulse search
- MSN Spaces search
- Yahoo! News search
- FlickR Tag Search
- YouTube! Tag search
- Yahoo! Video search

I most commonly use the RSS Feed and Google blog search. The RSS feed search is particularly useful as you can really narrow down your search.

You can select the category you want the post to be categorized under. In addition, there are a host of other options which allow you to fine tune your feed including filtering options,

It also supports images and videos. It is ideal if you want to build a content portal or news aggregation site.

Some of the main features are:

RSS Feed Sources

  • Configure multiple RSS feed sources with the ability to enable or disable individual feeds.
  • Support for RSS 0.9, 0.91, 0.92, 1.0, 2.0, and Atom 0.3 and 1.0 feeds.
  • Integrated feed caching, HTTP Conditional GET support, and support for GZIP-compression to improve performance and reduce bandwidth usage.
  • Support for dozens of RSS modules including Dublin Core, GeoRSS, ITunes, Media RSS, RSS 1.0 Content, W3C WGS84 Basic GEO, XML 1.0, and XHTML 1.0.
  • Numerous pre-defined searches to locate articles via Google Blog Search, Technorati, Blogdigger, Blogpulse, MSN Spaces, Yahoo! News, Flickr, YouTube, and others.

Feed Processing

  • Process feeds automatically using built-in pseudo cron feature so an external scheduler is not required.
  • Set a range of intervals for random update scheduling.
  • Manually process all feeds or one feed at a time.
  • Preview feed processing without importing any posts.
  • Disable cron operations without disabling the entire plugin.
  • Allow other feeds to notify your autoblog of updates using an XML-RPC ping.
  • Configure individual feeds to update every time AutoBlogged runs or after every each number of runs you set.
  • Include all posts from each feed, set a limit on posts added per feed, or have AutoBlogged select random posts based on a percentage you set.
  • Automatically create text-only excerpts based on number of words, sentences, or paragraphs.

Post Filtering

  • Domain blacklist blocks posts from certain domains. Excellent way to block sites with spammy content, invalid HTML, or to allow webmasters to exclude their site from your blog.
  • Block posts based on any portion of the URL to prevent posts from a specific type of sites such as forums or to block feeds from certain types of software.
  • Keyword blacklists to exclude posts that contain keywords you specify.
  • Duplicate post checking based on title and/or URL.
  • Automatic filtering of malicious content in posts including SQL injection and cross-site scripting.
  • Feed-specific filtering based on all words, any words, exact phrase, or none of the words specified.

  • Feed-specific search and replace features using regular expressions to rewrite words, URLs, fix invalid content, replace affiliate IDs, etc.
  • Truncate or filter out posts with long titles.
  • Filter out posts where the titles are in all caps or where they contain multiple consecutive exclamation points or other punctuation.

There is a bunch of other things to say about Autoblogged which you can find on their site.

Google Analytics

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Google Analytics Plugin

This plugin is used to track your site statistics by using google analytics. If you’ve already signed up with google analytics you can get the necessary code to add in by simply clicking on ‘Add a website’ from the google analytics page. You will get an Analytics user account number which you can insert into the top column below. Once you activate the plugin go to the ‘Plugins’ area in your admin area and click on ‘Google Analytics’ and then insert the code you got from the Google Analytics site.

You copy and paste the highlighted tracking code from Google Analytics into the Google Analytics User account above, which is in your admin area on your wordpress site.

Popularity Contest

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Popularity Contest

This is a great plugin which automatically ranks your most popular posts. It allows you to really see how people are using your site and which areas of your site are the most popular. It’s obviously pretty handy for users to see what parts of your site are popular and to easily access those pages.

Unfortunately, for Wordpress 2.5 Alex King hasn’t released a working version yet, but forunately someone called ‘The Wordpress Guy’ made a fix and you can download a working version from this page.

Make sure you scroll down the page where it says :

You can also download the modified plugin from WP Guy in:
Popularity Contest for WordPress 2.5

After you download the plugin, upload it to your plugins directory, and then activate it from the Wordpress admin panel. In my case, I want to put it in the sidebar. I had no idea how to do this so I had to experiment by placing the code in different parts of the sidebar.php file. But, actually it wasn’t too hard in the end. First of all, go to your sidebar.php file and then scroll down to the place where you want to insert the code (this was the hard part for me!). Because I wanted to place it on the right-hand side of my page, I looked for a description of the right hand side – which I eventually found called <div class=”sidebar_right”>. I put the following code directly underneath this and ‘voila’ I had it working!! If you want to make the heading bigger you can replace ‘h2′ with ‘h1′ and you can change the name if you want as well and that will be reflected on your site.

<h2>Popular Posts</h2>

After this heading simply add the following code :

<ul><?php akpc_most_popular(); ?></ul>

Sitemap Generator Plugin for Wordpress

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Sitemap Generator for Wordpress Plugin

Although it is not absolutely necessary to create a site map and submit to google, it does help to do it because it makes it easier and faster for google to crawl your pages and index them correctly. Google basically uses your sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase their coverage of your webpages. You should submit your website to as many directories as possible, including the Open Directory Project.

Step 1: Download the XML sitemap generator from here

Step 2: Drag the folder to your plugins area using your ftp server.

Step 3: Activate the plugin from your admin panel

Step 4: In wordpress 2.5, Go to ’setttings’ and click on XML-Sitemap and you’ll get the following screen. Click on where it says ‘Click here’ to build your sitemap.

Once you do this you get a screen like this (below) which confirms that your sitemap has been built.

If you click on the above ’sitemap’ you can see the sitemap which has been built for you (as below).

The next thing you have to do is submit your sitemap to google. On the right hand side you will see something which says ‘webmaster tools’. Once you click on this you will be taken to googles webmaster tools dashboard. There is an option here to add your site, so type in your site as illustrated below – ie. www.whateveryoursiteis.com and click on ‘add site’

Copy the end of the URL which is displayed at the top of this page and go back to the webmaster tools website. You only need the last bit of the URL – i.e. just the bit which says sitemap.xml (see below for example).

Click on Sitemaps, Add sitemap. There is a drop down menu – choose ‘Add General Website’ as displayed below.

Add the sitemap.xml text and click on ‘Add General Web Sitemap’.

You then get a ‘Successfully added’ screen like the one below.

You will then be asked to verify your site. On this screen you may see that Googlebot has already successfully accessed your home page before. This just means that google has crawled your site, but because we now have a sitemap it will make it even easier and faster and the crawl will also be more accurate next time google crawls it.

Once you click on ‘verify site’ the following screen will appear. The words ‘not verified’ appear. This means your site has not yet been verified, which we now have to do. There are two ways to do this, by adding a meta tag or uploading a HTML file. Personally, I found it easier to upload the html file so that it what I will show you how to do here.

Once you choose the option from the drop down menu to verify it by uploading a html file, the following screen will appear. You are then asked to create a file with this name and upload it to your website.

The next step requires you to open notepad and simply click on save as and copy the html verification file so the name of your file matches that of the one provided – i.e. something like google11e16a9c84a5db38.html

Save this file where it is easily accessible and then drag and drop it into your site using an ftp server. I prefer filezilla because it’s reliable and free.

In step 2 on the verification page, you will notice it asks you whether or not you’ve uploaded the file and can view it in your browser. Just copy the file which has your website name and the .html code at the end of it into your browser and see if anything comes up. If you haven’t put it any text then a blank screen should appear.

After you verify your site you should get a ‘Success’ screen like the one below.

Trouble Shooting

When I first tried to verify my site I got the following error message which said Verification status: NOT VERIFIED. We’ve detected that your 404 (file not found) error page returns a status of 200 (Success) in the header. This happened on two of my sites. The first time I fixed it by disabling a ‘redirect plugin’ and the second time I managed to get it working by updating my permalink to custom %postname%, which I had forgotten to do when setting the site up. I’m not a technical person so I have no idea why this happened?

Easy YouTube

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Easy YouTube Plugin There are a number of different ways to embed YouTube videos into your wordpress site. You can add them manually by pasting in code from YouTube in the HTML page, but the easiest way I have found to do this is by using a Plugin called Easy YouTube. You can download the Plugin from here. Instructions below

  1. Go to YouTube or Google Videos and find the video you want to put on your site.
  2. Copy the URL of the page, e.g. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nTRfxikK9aQ
  3. In Wordpress, add the tag: ["youtube:URL"] or ["googlevideo:URL"] (without the inverted commas) replacing the URL text with the URL you copy and pasted from YouTube. So, it will look something like this – again, without the inverted commas ["youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nTRfxikK9aQ"]
  4. Hit save and bask in the wonder of your new media rich site!

Below is an example of an embedded YouTube video using this plugin. How to add tables and images to a wordpress blog You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video Width & Height So you want to change the width and height do you? Well its easy enough to do! Just adjust your tag to the following format: You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video Autoplay? Well now your asking alot… but your not the first! All you have to do is append “&autoplay=1″ after the URL.

Best Wordpress Plugins

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Below is a list of the plugins I find most useful for my websites.

1. Akismet plugin
This default plugin which helps protect you from Spam should be activated as soon as you start your blog.

2. A Sticky Post Orderer
Allows you to control the order of your posts in categories. This is a must plug-in for me and helped me get around the problem of ordering my posts which was nagging me for some time. You can download the plugin from here

3. Popularity Contest Plugin
This is one of my favourite Wordpress plugins because it is so useful. It automatically calculates the number of hits you get on posts, categories etc. and allows you to display them on your front page. Just using this plugin as a tool to better understand how users are using your site is useful, but having the top 10 posts always displayed on your site is good for SEO and allows users to easily see what is popular on your site.

4. Google Sitemap Generator
I am not technical, so creating a sitemap for me was way beyond my skill set. In fact, I didn’t even know what a sitemap was! Using this plugin makes it a cinch to create and submit your sitemap to Google.

5. Easytube
This plugin makes it easy to insert YouTube videos. Once you install it all you have to do is activate and then when writing you post simply add You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video and you’re done. I’m sure there are other YouTube related plugins around but this is the easiest one I’ve found so far.

6. Smart Update Plugin
A great plugin which allows you to track which pings have been successfully ‘pinged’. It also allows you to create a log file for debugging purposes. This was good for me because I had no idea before I used this plugin whether or not the sites I was pinging were being successfully sent to. It turned out that about 1/3 of the sites I was trying to ping weren’t working.

7. WP-d-tree Pluging
This is a great plugin and allows you to create drop down menus and collapsible and expandable categories for all your posts, categories, archives etc. and also enables a fair bit of tweaking of the colour scheme and the way the categories are displayed when you expand them. Surprisingly easy to install and use.

8. WP Review Site
This is the perfect plugin if you want to add a ratings system to your site. The plugin integrates with Wordpress administration and you can sort your posts by weighted average. Unfortunately you have to pay for this plugin but it’s probably worth purchasing if you have a site based on user ratings.

Ninja Affiliate

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Ninja Affiliate

Price: $97
Value for money: 5 out of 5

Description: Affiliate link cloaker/affiliate link manager

I recently purchased the best value for money and most useful plugin I’ve ever come across. I don’t like to hype products up, but this one did something rare – it did what it says it can do and it is easy to use.

Before I purchased this, I had a product called Wordpress Affiliate Pro which did something similar, but not as well. Although this wasn’t a bad product, Ninja Affiliate was much easier to use, more flexible and the support is better.

Ninja Affiliate is a WordPress plugin which hides your affiliate links. But, it also does a lot more.

  • Cloaking: The best part of the plugin and very easy to use.  You can easily choose how you want to make your affiliate links look.
  • Grouping Affiliate links: you can put your affiliate links in groups, name them and view click through data in the management screen.
  • Link Redirects: The plugin comes with a redirection system to help protect your links.
  • Link customization: You can easily customize the text that appears on the status bar of the browser when people hover on the link.
  • Keyword management: You can select what keywords you want to transform into affiliate links, and it also allows you to limit the number of keywords per post.

Ninja Affiliate’s web site.

WP Review Site Plugin and Theme

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

This plugin adds star ratings to your comment forms, and can be used on any Wordpress theme . The plugin also comes with a bonus WordPress theme designed especially for review sites

Continue here: WP Review Site Plugin and Theme

Popularity Contest Plugin for Wordpress

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Popularity Contest

This is a great plugin which automatically ranks your most popular posts. It allows you to really see how people are using your site and which areas of your site are the most popular. It’s obviously pretty handy for users to see what parts of your site are popular and to easily access those pages. Unfortunately, for Wordpress 2.5 Alex King hasn’t released a working version yet, but you can download the latest version and the fix from here.

After you download the plugin, upload it to your plugins directory, and then activate it from the Wordpress admin panel. In my case, I want to put it in the sidebar. I had no idea how to do this so I had to experiment by placing the code in different parts of the sidebar.php file.

But, actually it wasn’t too hard in the end. First of all, go to your sidebar.php file and then scroll down to the place where you want to insert the code (this was the hard part for me!). Because I wanted to place it on the right-hand side of my page, I looked for a description of the right hand side – which I eventually found called <div class="sidebar_right">. I put the following code directly underneath this and ‘voila’ I had it working!! If you want to make the heading bigger you can replace ‘h2′ with ‘h1′ and you can change the name if you want as well and that will be reflected on your site.

<h2>Popular Posts</h2>

After this heading simply add the following code :

<ul><?php akpc_most_popular(); ?></ul>

 

FCK Editor Plugin for Wordpress

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

FCK Editor Plugin for Wordpress

From my own experience and from looking at the various posts on the web, I can see a lot of people have problems with the WYSIWYG editor in Wordpress. I had serious problems trying to get a page to look the way I wanted with text and images always getting skewed. I was trying to format this page without any luck. I tried using the <br> line breaks to try and separate each image evenly but the editor kept automatically deleted the <br> tags for some reason.

After a few hours of searching I came across FCK Editor, which seems to a much more powerful and feature rich plugin that the built in rich text editor in Wordpress. The only issue I’ve had with it so far is that you can’t seem to add an image using the default ‘Add Media’ part of the original Wordpress editor. However, you can just use the one which comes with FCK Editor which seems to work fine. There are some cool features like a built in file manager which enables you to upload the files directly through the editor. It also supports the wordpress read more feature. The editor looks like this – see below.

 

The table insert function looks like this:

You can download the editor from here