A few new site features installed (for pseudo-geeks only)

by Stephen Tall on September 5, 2010

Some site housekeeping notes follow…

As those who know me well will attest, I don’t really do or get technology. This site exists simply because I love writing, not because I love the geekery needed to platform it.

Though I ‘built’ StephenTall.org myself, it wouldn’t exist without the inspiration of others (the similarities it shares with Mark Pack’s site are not co-incidental), nor without some outside assistance (Robin Fenwick helped ensure the masthead photo was done neatly and tidily).

Still, I do try.

So in the last week — partly inspired by Denise Wakeman’s 24 Impressive Blog Plugins You Should Consider and by Rebecca Leaman’s Wild Apricot blog — I have been experimenting with a few WordPress plug-ins and nifty extras.

For the record, then, here are the plug-ins I use on the site:

  • Akismet – great comment spam filter;
  • All in One SEO Pack – still don’t really get this one, but am sure it would be terrific if I did;
  • CommentLuv – quite a fun one, allowing commenters to highlight their own blog-posts quickly and easily (though I don’t really get the comment-traffic here to optimise it);
  • fbLikeButton and Topsy Retweet Button and SexyBookmarks and Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – all fabulous, must-have tools in the social media age, allowing readers to share my posts with their social networks, or by email, or to see what else I’ve written in the past on similar subjects. One problem with all of them, though… they only work for posts originated through the site, not what I write for Lib Dem Voice which is auto-generated here via
  • FeedWordPress – quite simply this site wouldn’t exist without this plug-in, as it enables all my writings on Lib Dem Voice (at least those which appear under my own name) to be copied across automatically, and then tweeted out to my followers using
  • Twitter Tools and Twitter Tools – Bit.ly URLs – both crucial plug-ins, as most of my site traffic (which isn’t large) is generated via my Twitter and Facebook feeds;
  • WordPress Database Backup – crucial, I’m sure. And, like all back-up tools, one I really must remember to utilise before it’s too late…
  • WPtouch iPhone Theme – well, the site apears fine on my BlackBerry, though can’t speak for the iPhone, iPod touch, Google Android, or Palm Pre which this plug-in is also supposed to optimise (in some fairy-dust way).

And finally, I’ve also edited the site template to include the Apture code which produces the search ‘n’ share toolbar which magically appears when you scroll down the site, or allows you to search when you highlight specific words or phrases in the text. So far, I’m really liking it, as it lacks the intrusiveness of other, similar features which produce distractingly sparkly bubbles whenever you mistakenly hover your cursor over text.

But what other must-have features am I missing, dear reader? Can you help me pimp my site up still further?