Life is short, and blogging takes time.
Say you’re oncall (like I am currently). Do you really want to spend your two hours of free internet time a day doing annoying blog odd jobs and maintenance that ought to just be easy—or do you want to spend it doing research and writing? I know what any sane blogger would say.
Here are five WordPress plugins that are giving me more time now, during a couple weeks when I shall be very short on time indeed.
1. Bad Behavior
Akismet is a wonderful thing. But it can’t stop the automated spambots that leave hundreds of spam comments on your blog, which you then have to go through and delete from the spam queue.
Bad Behavior, however, detects automated spambots and stops them dead. I’ve gone from needing to moderate over 500 spam posts a week to barely seeing one bit of spam in Akismet’s queue. And real people can still post comments.
And it was easy to install: just drop in the plugin, activate it, and it does its work without you needing to twiddle much.
Hat tip to Daisy Olsen for this wonderful recommendation.
Bad Behavior really ought to simply be included with WordPress.
This plugin automates backups for you, taking one weekly full backup—which includes your
wp-content directory with all your themes and plugins, as well as a dump of your database—and daily database backups. I have BackUpWordPress mail my backups to my GMail account, thus giving me a convenient archive that’s entirely online.
And if you run multiple blogs like I do, having something like BackUpWordPress automate your backups—which has a great easy setup mode—is invaluable.
I like a lot of things about the new WordPress interface. But what I don’t like is the fickleness of the Flash image uploader, which is difficult to get working right even if you’re running Firefox 2 on a Windows machine—and much less so if you’re running Safari on Tiger.
Flexible Upload, on the other hand, gives you back the simple, working, non-Flash form—and lets you upload multiple images at a time, giving each its own resize option (you can set the default sizes on the Settings page).
The various Lightbox Plugins are also automatically supported if you have them—and if you don’t have them, nothing breaks. Thank goodness.
I tend to refer to my previous posts, which is a good practice for any blogger since it keeps the important stuff from being forever lost in the archives.
However, this results in a lot of trackbacks that are self-generated, unless you remember to turn off the option—or you have to delete the trackbacks after they’re made. A small thing, but really annoying when you’re doing things like a 2008 Hugo Awards Countdown series.
No self pings is elegant and simple.
If you’ve ever had your site pummeled by StumbleUpon, Digg, or any other Slashdot-worthy sites—or if your MySQL database is simply running hot—WP Super Cache saves the day. It’s an advanced version of WP-Cache; or rather, it’s a package that contains both WP-Cache (which caches the php and avoids DB lookups) and the new Super Cache code (which caches the PHP as executed HTML for non-logged-in users, thus avoiding both PHP execution time and DB lookups for most of the audience).
It brings you peace of mind, so that in the middle of the day when io9 suddenly links to your site you don’t need to worry about your server melting down.
Update: Struck out because this plugin is incompatible with WP Super Cache. In major ways.
Have Any Suggestions?
Currently I’m a bit swamped. If you’ve got any plugin suggestions that can ease up the load of your fellow bloggers, let us know!