From internals to externals: five plugins to boost your blog readership, posting and appearance

Quick plugin update: I’ve come across five plugins that I thought might be worth downloading: to increase readership, reading times, and reader retention rates. Then you can improve your blogging speed by using templates, switching posts to pages, and making your first page look sophisticated!

#1. Unblockable Popup

MaxBlogPress Unblockable Popup

is a plugin that allows your website to post a popup on your website that can’t be blocked. That, of course, raises questions about whether you should be using such a plugin, but I can imagine some circumstances where it can be used to advertise your mailing list or FeedBurner subscription! It could also be used for advertising purposes as well! I haven’t downloaded it yet, but some of the features used wisely could really bolster your readership numbers without unduly inconveniencing readers.

In MaxBlogPress Unblockable Popup 2.0, we have tried our best to fulfill all your earlier requests on how you wanted your popup window to be, and this is what we’ve got: >> Choice of Popup Style- Simple Box or Default >> Improved stylish Text Editor >> Flexible placement of “Close” button >> Easy to spot settings with collapsible blocks >> Choice of showing the popup only in specified posts or pages >> Advanced choice of plugin injecting mode Get more info on how and why MaxBlogPress Unblockable Popup 2.0 has accomplished to meet your expectations. Take a short tour of the improved version and see the screenshots that ellaborate the above-mentioned sleek features.

#2… Magazine Style

Magazine style drop caps and first paragraphs come courtesy of this plugin

. Take a look:

magazine-style-posts plugin

It’s good for longer articles and feature articles, too. And can help keep reader’s attention on the page. Some visual variety in your post presentation will certainly retain viewers longer (did I say ‘viewers’?) and increase those important pageview times! This is an aspect that I’ve been working on for some time! Take a look at the plugin by clicking on the image to see the website!

#3. Featurific

… Another plugin that I have been using on my blog to increase pageview times is Featurific. This plugin allows you to have a slideshow presentation on your frontpage. It works on most themes, once uploaded and activated. It takes images from the post (or default images) and uses them as background for each slide.


The site says much more but here’s an excerpt: “Featurific for WordPress: * Requires no configuration (although you can tweak nearly any aspect of the plugin if you so desire) * Provides an array of user-customizable templates * Integrates with the Stats Plugin to select most popular posts * Allows extensive customization of options such as the number of posts to display, post selection type, screen duration, auto-excerpt length, etc.”

#4: P2P Converter

Page2Post (or Post2Page) Converter

. It’s a simple plugin that converts your posts to pages or vice-versa. I know that I had a lot of pages that had built up over the years, and the original hierarchy had got lost. Not wanting to delete them, they were piling up in my ‘pages’ menu, simple answer: convert them to posts, they’re then archived! Alternatively, if you have a post that is a classic or a foundational type post: why not make it a page? You no longer have to copy and paste it. One click! Voila!

convert pages

You can see the button on the far right. It also works well with blogging applications that don’t support page creation. So, simply create a post when you need. Don’t publish, then when you login, convert it!

#5: Template Plugin

Post Templates

is a simple plugin that helps you to create a ‘standard’ post template that you can then use to create a bunch of similar pages. This would be useful for regular report-type plugins or reviews all of which have similar structures or wording. I’m planning to use it on my BlogCarnivals, since there are two of them, but the wording of the beginning and end is ALWAYS the same. In fact, I’ve long suspected that John Chow uses a template for his regular blog income reports (by the way, where is July’s? … Did I miss it?)

post template

There are also menus on post pages, manage post pages and elsewhere. The multiple hooks are quite effective!


Hope you find these plugins useful. There are dozens of plugins out there, the usual batch of popular ones, but these I thought would help improve your blog, both externally and internally. Post edited for accuracy, errors, and keywords.

WosServer: Tweaking Your Blog for your Stick Part 2

After yesterday’s little experiment, I began playing with the WosServer and found some little tricks for bloggers, would-be marketers or developers.

If you already have a blog or site that you are working with that is live, you can create a full version on Wos. It’s a little fussy but you can do the following things…

For parts 1-5, see WosServer: A Useful Tool in your Armoury.

  • Step 6: Download a copy of the database from your website (via the PHPMYSQL interface or wizard).
  • Step 7: Get and install the WP PHP Admin plugin. Activate it as usual. Head over to the new tab.
  • Step 8: Activate the plugin. Then carry out an import operation to import your downloaded file into the WosServer MYSQL database.

phpadmin plugin used

Image shows: plugin activated and accessing my database.

  • Step 9: (optional) If you encounter a problem with the size of your file, you will need to go into the PHP files in Wos Server, and edit the php.ini file to increase the permitted size from 2M to something more reasonable if you have a BIG blog, like mine.
  • Step 10: Download the complete wp-content/ folder with ALL the pictures, too.
  • Step 11: Move the wp-content/ folder to its rightful location, images, plugins, themes, etc.
  • Step 12: You will also need to change the database name in wp-config.php to your imported database name.
  • Step 13: You will need to edit the ‘options table’ in your database from to twice or you won’t be able to access your blog. It will keep taking you to the live site. You will see the first of the two entries in the wp-options table in the first row named ‘siteurl’, the second entry is on page 4 of the list, entitled ‘home’. Change both of these to your new URL. It’s difficult to change them within WordPress like this, because you will end up on your live blog.

Oh, and when you login for the first, do remember to use your original blog password, not admin/password for the WosServer. Oh, and there’s no email reminder! So don’t forget! The good news is that the plugins/wordpress core updates all seem to work fine as they do in version 2.7. Good luck.


WordPress 2.7 – Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait To Upgrade WordPress Today!

With the recent and much anticipated release of WordPress 2.7, I was reluctant to upgrade some of my blogs because of past foibles, bugs and unexpected incompatibilities with plugins. So when I read that 2.7 was released, I was initially reluctant to upgrade ANY of my blogs. So I started with a couple of them, and updated, tested things out, and moved on. Ordinarily, I would have waited until 2.7.1 was released as a bug fix for some of the issues that area always present in a full release of WordPress.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with WordPress 2.7, in the few days that I have used it, and I’m a little frustrated that some of the hosting companies I work with haven’t updated the software on CPanel yet. Of course, Dreamhost jumped in pretty early, and that’s why I was happy to try it out. I’d say that there are five basic reasons I like this version of WordPress more than any previous release.

1. A Simplified Dashboard: You can eliminate clutter!

The dashboard has long been a bone of contention for me, because of the tendency of WordPress to want to flaunt its gimmicks, updates and features to all and sundry. In this version, though, users get to turn off the feeds, through the screen options at the top right. Simply uncheck the things you don’t want. Voila!

wp admin area

Additional features that are helpful are the little downward arrow that occurs at the top of most boxes, in the top right corner of each box. Simply clicking on that arrow or area closes or opens the dialog box in an obvious fashion. You’ll see the downward pointing arrow next to tools (see highlighted area). It works simply in a toggle fashion. These toggle switches are all over the admin area. To find them, just hover over the task bar for each item on the right hand sided.

down arrow in wp admin

The dashboard area is divided into three areas: the sidebar on the left where each of the menu items can be opened and closed; the central column which includes the stats box, the writing box; and the right column that pretty much includes everything else. As you can see from mine, it’s easy enough to pick things up and move them around a lot. Clicking on the words “screen options” highlights an area where you can turn off things you don’t want to see.

The right sidebar includes several new designations which may be confusing to new users. First the ‘pages’ button has moved to just below ‘links’. It used to be located right next to ‘posts’. This confuses me now. I often hover between writing posts and pages, and now I have to look further afield to find the pages button. It seems illogical to place it after ‘links’.

The old ‘design’ menu has been renamed ‘appearance’ on 2.7 but functions in pretty much the same way as the its predecessor. The Tools menu, however, is a new one and features several items that were moved from the former ‘Manage’ menu, including import/export functions. The Upgrade items, though, hint at some of the new features of WordPress that make management much easier (more later).

2. Keeping Upgraded – it’s getting easier!

Plugins are getting easier to manage: You will soon no longer need to use FTP to upload stuff – plugins and core upgrades can all be done within WordPress itself. This leaves ‘themes’ as the only item that now needs FTP. I imagine that future versions of this will remedy this. Other software, such as Joomla or SMF, have long had this ability. Right now, you can upgrade a plugin in much the same way as uploading other items. Find the item ‘plugins’ on the left hand menu. Click it, and you will see it open slowly to reveal four options. To add a new plugin, click on the words ‘add new’, and you will be taken to a page where you can upload a zip file of the plugin which is uploaded and installed. After it’s done, you can activate it straight away. A nice touch. Just hit ‘install now’ to upload the plugin!

plugins management

It’s also much easier now to find new plugins. Take a look at the next screenshot: you will see what I mean! The tags below the upload button hint at the next page. These plugins are from’s own plugin area, and clicking on the tags reveals that they can all be downloaded and installed quickly and without any fuss.

install plugins

In fact, activating and inactivating plugins has also got easier as has removing unwanted plugins. Simply just click on the plugins area on the sidebar, usually under ‘plugins’ >>> ‘installed’ menu option. You’ll find it easy to manage plugins from there, including removing them completely!

But this plugin management hints at another feature (one that I have not needed to try yet)… upgrading WordPress can now be done entirely from WITHIN the admin panel. Take a look for yourself! Under Tools >>> Upgrade, you’ll see the following dialogue.

upgrade wordpress

Very tempting when you can choose to download and reinstall automatically. I have no idea how this works, yet. But it would be a neat variation IF you could upgrade from WITHIN the admin area. Perhaps this is just teasing us.

3. Commenting from WITHIN WordPress

Admins often had to comment in a very odd fashion before: read the comment in the comments area; find the post in the archive, read the post, and then comment in the comment box AFTER the end of the article. Now it’s much easier:

comments reply wordpress

Just hit ‘reply’ to answer the query and a simple but functional comment box will appear just below, enabling you to answer without messing around in the archives! Of course, this presumes that you remember what you wrote!

4. Quick Posting and Quick Editing

The commenting function also has another feature that hints at much more power: the quick edit button. Clicking on the Quick Edit enables you to edit the comment very quickly, without calling up the entire post or page where it is entered. But the ‘quick’ idea has been extended with in several ways: making a powerful trio of blogging tools.

QuickPress : on the admin page, when you login you’ll be taken to a dialog box that enables you to write a short post, with media and tags and publish it in a matter of minutes! While you don’t have a WYSIWYG editor, you can learn some simple codes to faciliate quick blogging (they’re all available in the Write Post area).

wp admin area

Quick Edit is also enabled in the post and page view, and allows you to quickly update a number of features (the usual suspects that a busy blogger will forget in the heat of the moment!): such as tags, categories, slug, date or more…

quick edit post

This combined with Press Links (shouldn’t it be called ‘Quick’ Links?) means that posting, editing, linking and commenting can all be carried out fairly rapidly.

5. You can now add media without creating post

This is another puzzle from the previous version that was finally finished! For years, I never thought about uploading media to WordPress. I simply created a post and added the stuff I wanted… until last month when I created a batch of videos and wanted to upload them all at once. I would have had to create a post and add each one one by tedious one! Now it seems, I can simply upload media as I need and when I’m ready I can create a post and find the media I already uploaded! It’s funny, but that’s something you don’t need, until you really need it! And now it’s here!

upload new media

Now it would be nice if I could upload a number of files at one go! Oh, wait! It does! Or at least I think it does! I’m practising uploading media now! Now I wonder how I can create a simple gallery from these files! …