WordPress Plugin Review: Collapsing Blogroll

Last time, I wrote about a new WordPress plugin, at least new to me, that is, Collapsable blogroll. The author let us know that there is a newer version with a slightly different name, Collapsing Blogroll.

Here’s what I did to update from Collapsable blogroll to Collapsing Blogroll:

  • Downloaded collroll, unpacked the zip file, ftp’d the folder ‘collroll’ and its contents to wp-contents/plugins/.
  • Logged in to the WordPress dashboard and edited the links page where I had used the older plugin, Collapsable blogroll, to create a list of links from the blogroll. I changed <!–catlinkspage–> to [collroll] and saved the page.
  • From the Manage Plugins page I deactivated Collapsable blogroll, then activated Collapsing Blogroll.
  • When I visited the links page, all the links were hidden, or collapsed, and the words Expand | Collapse were visible. Clicking on expand showed all the links. (I’m not sure the words expand/collapse need to be there as you can set the links page default to either expanded or collapsed.)
  • Once I knew that the new plugin worked as expected, then I deleted the older plugin.

Improvements in the plugin allow you to change the appearance of your links page from the WP dashboard. Visit the new Collapsing Blogroll page that is listed under Settings in your WP-admin.

From there you can select a title background color by clicking on the white color swatch. A color picker comes up that lets you select whatever color you want by picking it from the rainbow or entering the RGB/#hex values. If you uncheck the box “use this color” next to the title background, then there is a transparent background, or no background color depending on your point of view.

Also featured in the newer plugin, you can select the order of categories or links as either alphabetical or one of your own choosing, which is especially useful if you use a different plugin to order your links. Since I’d been using “My Link Order” on a site where the Collapsing Blogroll was installed, this feature was a relief to see.

From the settings page you can specify the width of the blogroll div, in px or %, so your link list can fit in the sidebar or other space you’ve created.

And finally, indicate whether you’d like the initial link list to be collapsed by default, or not. Make sure to save your new settings.

Collapsing Blogroll will be really helpful for those sites where there are many links, especially when the list of links changes from time to time. Works in WP 2.8.4! Thanks again, Romain!

WordPress Plugin Review: Collapsable Blogroll

A client’s site was being updated and I needed to find a way to capture their blogroll into a page of links. Instead of manually inserting links and titles into a new page, I searched for a WordPress plugin to do the work for me. It would be desirable to have the links page be automatically updated when the blogroll was updated.

It took a little bit of searching to find the plugin called Collapsable Blogroll, but it does exactly what was needed. Downloading the file collapsable-blogroll.0.1.zip, unzipping it, uploading it to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory, and activating it via the wp-admin page went smoothly. No surprises there.

All you have to do is place <!–catlinkspage–> where you want your blogroll list of links to appear. It’s that easy! Put your links inside a post or a page — it’s your choice. By default the link list is separated into the categories of your WP blog and each list is shown in the collapsed state. Just click on the category name and the list will expand to show all your links.

I like the fact that you could add a new link to your blogroll via the wp-admin and it would show up right away on the links page.

The Collapsable Blogroll plugin works with WordPress 2.8. Thanks, Romain!

WordPress Plugin Review: Page Links To

The other day I was looking for a way to have a WordPress page redirect to an external page, one that is not on the same domain as the WP blog. A quick search for ‘links page’ lead me to a great little plugin, called Page Links To.

Page Links To has basically one purpose. According to the author you can “make a WordPress page or post link to a URL of your choosing, instead of its WordPress page or post URL.” Exactly what I was looking for!

Like most other plugins downloading the page-links-to.zip file, unpacking and uploading the plugin folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory, and activating the plugin was simple.

Then, all you have to do is make a new WP page by entering its title and leaving the content blank. Scroll down to the Page Links To widget and enter the URL that you want your page to link to. Here, you can choose whether the redirect is 302-a temporary move, or not. The default is 301-permanent move. That’s it!

Verify that all went smoothly by clicking on your page and you’ll see that it links to the outside URL. By the way both WordPress pages and posts can point to the URLs that you like. Might be great for resource pages or links to related sites.

Page Links To works with WordPress 2.8. Thanks, Mark!

Review of Popular WordPress Plugins: WP-Cumulus

If you display tags or categories in a sidebar of your WordPress blog, you might like to take a look at the WP-Cumulus plugin. It gets 5 stars by all the reviewers so far and definitely hits the top on the cool factor.

WP-Cumulus displays your tags and/or categories but in a visually-striking way. A rotating cloud of words is presented instead of a plain old list.

Here’s an example of WP-Cumulus in action:


Move your cursor over the display and the rotation will change direction and speed. Click on a word once it has a box around it to get a listing of posts containing that tag or filed in that category. Pretty cool, eh?

The only caution here is that you must be running WP 2.3 or later. WP-Cumulus will not work with earlier versions.

Installation follows the typical plugin format. Simply download the plugin, unpack it, and FTP the plugin folder, called wp-cumulus, to your wp-content/plugins directory.

There are three ways to display your WP-Cumulus cloud:

  • In a page or post like above, using the key [WP-CUMULUS]. Features can be modified under Settings/WP-Cumulus.
  • In your theme anywhere that you insert <?php wp_cumulus_insert(); ?>, probably in a sidebar. Just make sure the sidebar is big enough to display the cloud nicely.
  • As a widget, via ‘Design’->’Widgets’. Edit the widget to modify the size of the cloud and the colors used for the text and background.

Really nice, don’t you think?