Project 2 – WordPress


WordPress, Plugins & Themes

In my last article which has started this series on how to generate an income from your website I talked about what I was trying to achieve. This article will be talking about the plug-ins and theme that I am using on my site.

The Theme

Again, I think it is worth mentioning again that my design skills are not as good as I would like them to be so I decided to use a free theme to take the labour out of designing one from scratch. I came across a theme called ‘Shades of Blue’ from StudioPress which is a simple yet professional looking theme. I did change the background and created a simple logo to make it a bit more unique to my site only – and that’s it!

The Plugins

Running WordPress without any plugins installed is not recommended in my own opinion. Yes, WordPress is perfectly happy running without any and is secure enough but you don’t get to use it to its full potential. So here is the list of plugins that I feel are going to be useful to me:

All Related Posts
I have this as a sidebar widget. It works by displaying a list of other posts which contain similar tags and categories.

Amazon Product in a Post
This is self explanatory. It allows me to just obtain the product code and insert it using a simple piece of code –
[AMAZONPRODUCT=B000000000] – and it will display in your post. The good thing about this particular plugin is that
with a bit of CSS knowledge you can change the standard layout as much as you wish.

Better AdSense Targeting
This plug-in tells AdSense which areas of your site to look at when considering ads for your site. I have restricted
this to just the header and the content. If I have anything inside a post which I don’t want used (for example I have
some code for rating that I don’t want taken into account) I can use the [/ingore] tag. This is extremely useful for
ensuring AdSense shows ads which are more related to my site.

HTML Javascript Adder
Being able to put HTML, Javascript and Flash anywhere on your site easily is a definite bonus and this plugin allows
you to do this. It also lets you use shortcodes in widgets which is what I intend to use it for in association with the
Amazon plugin’s shortcode.

kk Star Ratings
As we all know film reviews are useful up to a point – they are one person’s view of that particular film which is good
if you have similar tastes, but this is generally not so. kk Star Ratings displays a 5 star rating system and allows
visitors to simply click their own rating for the film. Offering visitors some form of quick, simple way to interact with
your site is nothing but beneficial.

Platinum SEO Pack
Get this plugin. If there was ever a plugin that you cannot do without, this one is it! Please visit the plug-in site as
this is a serious powerhouse that you do not want to leave out. The first two features mentioned on their site are
that it optimises post and page titles for search engines and generates all SEO relevant META tags automatically!

Slick Contact Form
This was a good find for me. I was actually looking for a contact form which I could just throw into a page and link
from the main page, but this goes one better! You get a little floating tab which you can place wherever you wish
which once clicked, slides open to a contact form! No need for additional pages, can be personalised easily through
CSS and works well with my site.

Ah, spam. You will NOT be able to run a site without getting people trying to spam the comments section. Whilst
Akismet (which comes installed by default – do not turn it off!) will catch nearly every spam message due to
continual updates, you can stop ‘bot-generated’ comments by using this plugin. It allows you to set up a simple
question which must be answered before a comment can be posted. This seriously does reduce the amount of spam
you get a lot! I use it on this site too!

WP Email Guard
This is an ‘install and leave’ plugin. There are no settings to worry about. What it does is convert all mentions of
your email address to JavaScript code which stops people scraping your site and finding out your email address. The
good thing is that it is still visible and click-able for your visitors.

WP Socializer
This is a very feature-full plugin. In it’s basic form, it allows you to display like/+ buttons for the social sites that you
decide to display. It’s a nice way to ensure they look uniform and professional without too much messing about. I
would recommend spending some time on this plugin to ensure you get it right. It does have ‘templates’ ready made
which makes it easier.

And that’s it for the plugins that I have so far. If I add any more I will write about them. I would like a Twitter plugin which will post to Twitter when a new post is created but I have not found one that is not impossible to set up (so if anyone has any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them!).

If you have any questions about anything I have talked about so far, please feel free to let me know and I will try and answer them as best I can.