10 Ways to Make Your Blog User-Friendly

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Posted 05 Sep 2007 in WordPress

WordPress is a highly customizable content management system (CMS) – and many of the top bloggers use it to maintain their blogs. Companies are even starting to use WordPress for their company sites, because of the flexibility added to the software thanks to the hard work of plugin creators.

Every blog has goals – some may vary, but every blog wants to have more visitors and to develop a community on their site!

The 10 plugins listed below will help you improve your site, make it easier for visitors to use and develop a sense of community with your readers!

Descriptions of and links to each plugin, as well as suggested ways to implement them in your WordPress installation are included below.

  1. Live Comment Preview v1.7 by Jeff Minard & Iacovos Constantinou — Activate to supply users with a live comment preview. Visitors who comment like to see what their comment will look like before they press submit. The live comment preview will display by default next to the comments box, but the developers have included code so that you can put the code anywhere that you’d like on your page.
  2. WP Grins v1.5 by Alex King — A Clickable Smilies hack for WordPress. This is another great plugin for commenters! Everyone loves smiley faces – and this gives commenters clickable smilies to use in their comments. Unfortunately, the code does not automatically turn into smiles until you submit your comment, but this is a great way to learn the ‘tone’ of a commenter’s post.
  3. Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form vv.2.0WP B20070414 by Mike Cherim and Mike Jolley — This powerful yet easy-to-install contact form features exceptional accessibility and usability while still providing extensive anti-spam and anti-exploit security features. While this plugin is really designed to help WordPress site administrators, it does provide great value to visitors who would like to email you. The form is configured on the back end, and even comes with CSS (cascading stylesheets) to help you integrate it into your site design. This helps the design of the site flow, which is important when trying to build authority! This contact form, unlike many others, allows emails to be carbon copied to the sender. Now, readers can get a copy of their emails to you!
  4. Click on me for a larger version!What Would Seth Godin Do v1.3 by Richard K Miller — Displays a custom welcome message to new visitors. This is a great tool to help new visitors find out important or fun information. I use this custom message to remind new visitors to subscribe to the RSS feed and let them know about the weekly features on this site. See it in action by clicking on the thumbnail on the right. As you can see, I have a message posted above the first post for new visitors. WWSGD uses cookies to keep track of visitors. After a pre-determined number of visits, visitors will no longer see this message, unless you specify they should in the settings.
  5. Easy Announcement v1.1 by Fauzi Mohd Darus — An easy way to display announcement on your site without have to edit your theme file. New visitors often look in your sidebar for information – it could be about you, a witty quote or updates on the site that really don’t need their own post. Having an easy to edit announcement widget is essential. I change thepinkc’s announcement on a weekly basis, to keep things fresh and make sure that repeat visitors that aren’t subscribed know what is most important or new on the site.
  6. podPress v8.2 by Dan Kuykendall (Seek3r) — The podPress plugin gives you everything you need in one easy plugin to use WordPress for Podcasting. podPress is a great tool to personalize your podcasts and make them really fit in with your site’s theme. Again, this goes to strengthening your authority and site’s brand. Because podPress plays as a flash file, it is easy for users to begin playing your podcast – they don’t have to download additional software or files! See it in action here.
  7. MyAvatars v0.2b by Andrea Micheloni & Napolux — This plugin allows you to add MyBlogLog.com avatars to WordPress comments. We like avatars, small pictures that represent us online. And in your comments section, you can add MyAvatars functionality, so commenters can see their own faces, and those of other commenters. It also helps readers keep track of where the last comment was – “Oh, I remember the cookie monster avatar, so that is where I stopped reading earlier.” See it in action on thepinkc.
  8. Full Text Feed v1.04 by Ronald Heft, Jr. — Prevents WordPress 2.1+ from adding a more link to your website’s feed. Readers who enjoy reading your site via RSS in a feed reader are annoyed when there’s a link like “Read more” in the text of a post. The reason why readers subscribe to websites is to prevent them from having to visit. Kind of like how we subscribe to newspapers so we don’t have to go door to door asking our neighbors about what is going on in town.
  9. Subscribe To Comments v2.1.1 by Mark Jaquith — Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. Subscribe To Comments does exactly what it says! And, there’s added functionality for subscribers, so they can unsubscribe from comments at any time. This is a viable and easy to use option for those who do not want to subscribe to the full RSS comments feed.
  10. Brian’s Threaded Comments v1.5.12 by Brian Meidell — This gives you threaded comments and a “wandering” comment form. Speaking of comments, rather than trying to reply to comments in a plain thread, where you have to scroll up to see who the person is replying to or have to guess about which comment a person is replying to, you can just use Brian’s Threaded Comments to reply to a comment in a threaded fashion, so new comments will go directly underneath the comment which they refer to. See it in action on thepinkc.

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13 Comments

  1. This is great! I was just redesigning my blog. Full text feed refused to work however.

  2. I don’t know if it works on old posts. Did you give it a spin for a couple of days?

    I’d love to hear more about what plugins you use.

  3. Ok GeekGirl what is podcasting? Grandma LL doesn’t know (never Googled it), no hv iPod, that could also have to do with it?

    U r great, I just mentioned on my blog I needed a contact form and tadaa: thanks you!

    • A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. – from Wikipedia

      That’s one of the easiest ways to explain what a podcast is…. HackCollege.com has one, and I’m doing a post about it later.

  4. WordPress Wednesday … Where u get the inspiration? WhooWee :grin:

    • I dreamed it, so it came to life! :lol:

  5. Great suggestions. This is the type of stuff that will boost your comment numbers too.

    • Thanks!

      I really love your blog redesign. :!:

  6. Me love JD blog design as well, just waiting for a sober 3 column design with main colum in middle and left and right sidebar :-)

  7. I’m going to talk about themes next week, so maybe I’ll find something for you! What colors do you prefer?

  8. I like a design like what you use with a white background.

    For links, I love good old ashion blue :-)

    More is less :-) Thanks!

  9. a good list …
    am checking out number 5 as i type this …
    thanks fro sharing …
    appreciated …

    • I think that the Announcements is great – let me know how it works for you – and how you choose to implement it! Because it is a line of code that you must insert, you could insert it anywhere on your blog, including between posts!


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