Customizing the look and adding useful features to a blog makes a difference between a beginner and professional website. Thereafter, readers will begin to read a blog (quality content will retain readership). This blog is self hosted using WordPress Content Management and the article assumes that reader is familiar with WordPress Admin Console. The mentioned plugins need to be installed on self-hosted WordPress. This post lists 15 customizations - 8 implemented (go to list) in this blog, 3 in last stages of implementation (go to list) and 4 wish list items (Do you have a solution?) (go to list).
Implemented in this Blog
- Choose most appropriate WordPress Theme for the purpose of your blog – picture oriented, videos, text, scientific etc. For this text oriented Analytics and Marketing blog, plain, light-colored and text-oriented Europe theme is most suited.
- Change “No Comments” to welcoming readers to comment. Change files index.php and archive.php (Appearance -> Editor -> the php file). Search for text ‘No comments’ and replace with phrase of your liking.
- Show case your books – the ones you have read, you are reading or you have read. Install plugin Now Reading Reloaded and add books to your library. Sign up for Amazon Associates account to search and add books in your library. You can also get commission if someone buys books from your library.
- Let readers print, email and share a post on social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg. Install plugin AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget. You will need to signup for an account on AddThis.
- Get comments posted on Facebook in your post. Install plugin Facebook Comments for WordPress. This plugin will also show number of users who liked the post and if a reader is logged in on Facebook account then shows a couple of names and number of admirers.
- Monetize your blog and add colors. Sign up for Google Adsense, create advertisements of the dimension available on your blog and paste the code in Text widget (Appearance -> Widgets -> widget type “Text” [shows Arbitrary text or HTML]).
Plugins are available to insert Google Advertisements at more places than your theme’s widget areas available.
- Facilitate readers to subscribe to comments on a post. Install plugin Subscribe to Comments Reloaded and users will be able to subscribe to a post’s comments.
- Facilitate readers to subscribe to RSS and Email. Create a link to your blog’s feed in your blog; link is generally Blog URL/feed (Tip: Blog URL/feed/rss gives summary of blog). I recommend to redirect your blog feed to Feedburner.com (readers will be redirected to subscribe through Feedburner.com) using plugin FD Feedburner Plugin. Advantages of Feedburner.com are as follows:
- RSS through Feedburner works on all browsers
- Readers can subscribe to both email updates and RSS feed
- Readers get an option to subscribe using different formats
- Feedburner.com will provide measurements to analyze your feed subscriptions
Let me know if you struggle to find the URL for comments feed.
Last Stages of Implementation
- Facilitate readers to contact author in one click. Install plugin Contact Form 7, customize the fields and create a “Contact me” page.
- Conduct polls. Install plugin WP-Polls and run a poll on a widget or through a post.
- Register the blog in technorati. This will increase your credibility, web traffic and, google rank so that your readers can easily find your blog.
Wishlist Items (Do you have a solution?)
- Clicking on “1 COMMENT” or “4 COMMENTS” does not take user to “Leave a Reply” (comments section). The functionality works well when there is no comment “BE THE FIRST TO COMMENT”. The reason is that probably Facebook Comments for WordPress has modified name for comments section from #comments to #facebook-comments.The error has percolated to RSS feed as well.
- Internet Explorer shows “Name*” before input field name and thus Email and Website have shifted one field up. In Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla fields are well placed.
- Remove option to give comments on pages such as About, Site map etc. Presence of comments is preventing me from implementing “Contact me” page because “Contact me” page will show option to give comments and comments on “Contact me” page will look awkward.
- Implement option to rate a post and a comment. I need to search plugin for this purpose.