5 WordPress Plugins to Activate Your Blog

WordPress plugins let beginners who can’t/won’t code a way to break through the technical brick wall preventing amateurs from building and improving blogs. Here are 5 WordPress Plugins for Basic Blogging

5 WordPress Plugins for Basic Blogging

WordPress plugins let beginners who can’t/won’t code a way to break through the technical brick wall preventing amateurs from building and improving blogs.

WordPress plugins get beginners get past the Brick WallThis article began when I was green and has been updated with my experiences.

1. WordPress Popular Posts Shows what the world likes most on your blog

Forget what you think is good.  Visitors will tell you.  This WordPress Plugin lets you set what “popular” means– whether it’s page views or comments — and shows popular posts in a Widget you place anywhere.

2. EZPZ One Click Backup Adventure with a safety net!

An early computer game had a robot sidekick who piped up every time you saved the game and said, “Oh goody are we going to do something dangerous?”  If you like to experiment with your bog (and who doesn’t?) back it up before you get nuts.  Note:  When using WordPress’ auto upgrade it is necessary to deactivate then reactivate EZPZ One Click Backup.  Postscript:  I couldn’t make EZPZ work.  Now using WP Tools Backup but looking for something truly EZ.  Comments welcome.

3. TinyMCE Advanced Old fashioned keyboard functions

Being an old-school typer, I enjoy being able to put in “carriage returns” as I write. See the post on TinyMCE Advanced.

4. HeadSpace2 Writing for Web Crawlers

The HeadSpace 2 blurb says it well, “Meta-data manager on steroids, allowing complete control over all SEO needs such as keywords/tags, titles, description, stylesheets, and many many other goodies.”  Lots of blank spaces to fool with and hope to generate web traffic.  Does it work?  Ask me in a few months.

Postscript:  Headspace2 is terrific but WordPress SEO by Yoast is scary powerful

5. W3 Total Cache An outboard motor for your bathtub duck

For your own peace of mind, back up your blog before attaching this amazingly powerful Plugin.  Some very weird stuff happened to me, but I checked loading performance before and after, and it works.  The part that didn’t work for me was “Content Delivery Network support via self-hosted / file transfer protocol upload.”  Still, the other parts improved performance.  Update:  This actually isn’t working that well — turning off minify seems to return the Theme settings.  Try WP SuperCache, which has been performing perfectly.  Here’s an article and detailed discussion on WP SuperCache versus W3 Total Cache.

Find any of these in the WordPress plugins by searching on Add New Plugins in your WP menu.

Detailed beginner instructions on how to use WordPress plugins

How to Add a Paragraph Break in WordPress

old typewriter
Remember carriage return? Its back!

Any good writer knows that separating paragraphs tells the reader when a new topic is coming up.  But in WordPress, the free blogging software, the ENTER key is ignored.  You can manually add a break, with a “br” command but WordPress will filter it out later.  Frustrating!


I found the solution at Enabling Line Break in WordPress | Rubayat Hasan, where you can see a number of joyously thankful comments.

The trick to getting the paragraph break back into WordPress is a Plugin called TinyMCE Advanced.  To get it, go to your Plugins menu, click Add New, search on TinyMCE Advanced, read the details (always read the details!), and click Install Now.

Once TinyMCE Advanced is installed, you can set up your WordPress “word processing screen” with new options by going to Dashboard -> Settings -> TinyMCE Advanced.  Drag up to the top bars any layout tools you want to appear in your word processing screen while writing posts and pages. 

But here’s what gets you the paragraph break.  At the bottom of Advanced Options click the box that says “Stop removing the <p> and <br /> tags when saving and show them in the HTML editor.”

Just a note, mentioned in the plugin details, the plugin will change your overall screen appearance because it needs room.  But that hasn’t been an issue.

Now, I just hit enter to get a “carriage return.”

Ah, for the good old days.old typewriter





Background: TinyMCE, also known as the Tiny Moxiecode Content Editor, is an open source “What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get” or WYSIWYG Javascript editor control.

TinyMCE can convert HTML text area fields or other HTML elements to editing functions.  In short, TinyMCE lets regular humans convert familiar editor functions — italics, paragraph breaks, etc. — into HTML code!

TinyMCE was designed to easily work with web content systems, including Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress.

Invest a few dollars in your WordPress knowledge.  It pays off in the time you save searching the web for answers, and lets you take your site or blog to the next level.


WordPress Tips #5 – 7

Continuing the blogsnewsreviews.com ridiculously simple WordPress advice

WordPress Tip #5

When you are writing Posts (or Pages) pay attention to the two tabs in the upper right corner of the workspace, namely, “Visual” and “HTML.”  What you can do to your text is quite different depending on which one is clicked.  Don’t be afraid to examine code.  It’s not rocket science, although it takes some getting used to.  For the Page version of this article, I started breaking up the Tips using a little piece of code: <!–nextpage–>  You just paste it in while the HTML tab is on, and it makes a new page.

WordPress Tip #6

As powerful as WordPress is, not all instructions and explanation are as clear as others.  Some “help” files seem to start out easy enough, and the tone is always friendly, but I get confused, especially by articles that embed references to very elementary articles while explaining something rather complicated.  An article I found quite helpful is Administration Panels. When you find instructions that are making sense, save them and re-read them. I got enough guidance from my web hosting company to get my WordPress site up and running.  BlueHost supports one-click installation of WordPress.  I have been so impressed with their kind and patient customer support (by people based in Utah) that I decided to become an affiliate. If you have gained some confidence that even an amateur can eventually figure out WordPress, I hope you will click through here if you decide to host a site.  It’s a pretty cheap hobby and some people say you can eventually make some money.

WordPress Tip #7 Find inspiration.

When I decided to start a blog, I found a couple of tremendously helpful sites, offering solid guidance on how to “monetize” you site.  One of these is Problogger, who offers solid information and does not blow sunshine up your skirt about getting rich quick on the Internet.

Shows, rather than tells, how quality content can make a difference.  Very inspirational.