WordPress Plugins By Default

Different WordPress blogs will take advantage of different plugins depending on the needs of each blog, but can we find a core group of plugins that “should” be used on all WordPress blogs?

I’m sure the answer to that question is a big fat NO. And that’s because each blog is unique!

I looked through my blogs, including blogs that I write for fun and ones that I maintain for clients, to see which plugins are common to all. The list is a short one.

  • Akismet – best spam catcher of them all
  • FeedBurner FeedSmith – best way to manage your blog feeds
  • MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer – best way to ping your blog

Akismet comes along with WordPress by default, which makes it the de facto standard way of managing spam comments and trackbacks left on your blog. Piece of cake. Get your WordPress.com API Key so you can set up Akismet now.

Register your blog with FeedBurner via the FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin and you’ll be able to see how many people subscribe to your blog feed and other crazy statistics about your site visitors. FeedBurner makes it easy to analyze your site traffic.

MaxBlogPress offers several plugins worth checking out, especially the MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer. Pinging your blog lets the world know that you have something new on your site, which is a great way to get your message out there. Trouble can arise when you edit blog posts, or post-date your blog entries, as each time you publish your content or save edited content the ping service gets hit again. Multiple pings in a row may look like blog spam and you really don’t want your blog properties to be associated with spam in any way, shape or form. Use MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer to take control of pinging your blog.

WordPress Themes and Plugins

One of the great things about WordPress blogs is that each one is like the individual who writes the posts – unique! The WordPress blogging platform starts with a basic shell that can be modified in two main ways.

Firstly, the appearance of the blog can be modified by installing and activating a new “theme”. WordPress themes consist of a collection of code that governs how the blog looks, what colors and fonts are used, where everything is located on the page, whether there are two or three columns, and so on.

WordPress themes are available for download from many sites. The best place to get a look at new themes is the theme depository at WordPress, where there are hundreds of themes waiting for your review.

Secondly, the functionality of WordPress blogs can be extended with plugins. Plugins are useful bits of code that give added functionality to your blog. Plugins are available to help you deal with comments, feeds, media, searching, backing up your blog, and a host of other topics.

Over 3000 plugins are listed in the WordPress Plugin directory and that’s way too many to personally review – even for someone who has extra time on their hands! That wouldn’t include me, but I’ve tried a number of plugins and found some real gems. Others have been tested and then deleted, and for many reasons.

Take a look at the WordPress Plugins Directory. You might want to start with the most popular plugins as they are practically guaranteed to work as intended.

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Limit of 127 Points to Wrong Numeric Type

Sometimes the simple things evade us when we’re caught up in the details. Thank goodness for manuals.

It turns outs that the numeric type that you select for your database variables matters greatly – DUH!

I had an occurrence last week where a client entered values over 200 in a form, yet when the numbers were stored in the MySQL database were capped at 127. At first the error wasn’t spotted but when multiple entries were reported with the same 127, it became obvious that something was wrong.

My error was using tinyint instead of smallint as the numeric data type when setting up the MySQL table.

The MySQL Manual clearly gives us limits for each data type, as found in the following table:

Numeric Data Types in MySQL
Numeric Data Types in MySQL

I don’t think we’ll have an occasion to use BIGINT, but the other data types will definitely be of use.

When all else fails, RTFM!