Blogging Tools

Blog Setup – Blog Tools

I thought I would share today a bit which blogging tools I use here on hospitalera.com. in the hope that you find one or more of them useful for your own blog. If you know of something recommendable that is not included in this list, please feel free to add it with a comment.

Blog Setup

Domain names bought from Godaddy and hosted by Hostgator. I use Godaddy only to purchase and to manage my domains, that they do with excellence. Hostgator is my preferred host because they allow me to host an unlimited amount of web sites on one account, they have live support via chat 24/7 and their uptime is great. They also offer free one-click installations via Fantastico of WordPress and the like. I use WordPress with the free Atahualpa theme. I chose this theme because it is so incredible versatile and every blog you build with it can look completely different. It is also a good theme for non-techie-savvy people as most of the customization can be done from the dashboard and without changing the code directly. So that is my basic blog setup for this, and other blogs I have and / or be the web master of.


Blog Tools

I use a number of plugins and other goodies to run this blog. Google Analytics is my preferred method to keep an eye on my site statistics. Apart of that I have nine plugins installed on this blog.

Contextual related Posts allows me to display a customizable number of related blog posts at the end of my posts and on feeds. That is great for two reasons, first because it encourages readers to browse and read more of my blog posts and second because it deep links posts together and keeps Google happy 😉

Do Follow plus KeywordLuv , these two provide the option for my readers to add keyword optimized and do follow enabled comments on my blog. So for example instead of calling yourself “Coffee Machine”, you can put into the field John@Coffee Machines plus the url you want to link to and the plugin converts this to a keyword anchored do follow backlink. Important, to be do follow, you also need to install a do follow plugin, if not, you have keyword anchored NO follow backlinks in your comment section. And that would be really useless ;-(

The other, comment related, plugin I use is ““Subscribe to Double Opt In Comments””. This allows people to subscribe to single posts where they have commented on and get notifications whenever a new comment is posted. This is one of my most favorite comment features when I browse the blogosphere and leave comments on many blogs because it makes it so easy for my to keep track of my online conversations. It is called “Double Opt In” because you have to confirm that you really wanted to subscribe to those comments and makes it impossible for others to misuse your email address and subscribing you to other blogs.

For Sitemaps I actually use two plugins, one, Google XML Sitemaps to create a Google compliant sitemap and to submit it to Google Webmaster Tools and Really Simple Sitemap to generate and display a sitemap here on my blog. Having a sitemap submitted to Google helps the spiders to crawl and index all corners of your blog and having a sitemap on your blog gives your readers another possibility of browsing your contents.

Post Layout is a blog tool that allows me to add html or java script before, in the middle and / or at the end of my pages and posts without touching the template or having to modify the theme. That is the way I display my Google and other ads here on my blog.

Sexy Bookmarks are a little feature that allows my readers to bookmark and submit my ramblings with the help of the animated cuties below the content. I find them far more engaging then the static ones you see on many blogs.

And last, but not least I use ““TinyMCE Advanced” ” this one is a secret weapon against the most annoying feature or better said bug WordPress has. Ever tried to add empty lines to a paragraph only to discover that WordPress strips them out? Ever tried to align photos and text site by site and dreamt of having a table to make this easier? “TinyMCE Advanced” does all this and more. It allows you to change the annoying WordPress behavior that strips out the

tags and shows them in the html window. It allows you so to ad those extra, empty lines that help so much to structure your content. It also allows you to add additional options like “insert table” to your post editor.

So they are my favorite blog tools. What are yours? Care to share ;–) ?

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ 😉

36 comments to Blogging Tools

  • You have some really useful tips.I have just started a blog and looking for this kind of information.I would like to try these wordpress plugins.
    Once again thanks for this useful post.

  • My new absolute favorite plug-in is LinkWithin (that’s the one which puts the little “You might also like” boxes at the end of your posts, with thumbnail pictures). I think people like clicking on the pictures — I’m getting a lot more hits with that than I did with any other type of internal linking. And it’s almost uncanny the way the plug-in comes up with relevant posts.

    Akismet for spam. Couldn’t live without it.

    I recently put the Tweetmeme widget on. Wanted to put it on top, but *underneath* any pictures, at the start of the text. Couldn’t figure out how to do that, so I put it on the bottom. Not sure if it does any good or if it just makes me look pathetic because I don’t get many tweets. 😉

    I use SuperCache, which is supposed to make the blog load faster.

    I installed Shockingly Simple Favicon, but couldn’t figure out where to upload the favicon to.

    I have Google Analytics, but usually prefer to look at the StatCounter stats instead. I also like the WordPress stats a lot, because they are very simple and exclude my own hits.

    I did somehow manage to edit my templates so that I could run javascript on the blog, but for the life of me, I can’t remember how I did it, and if I ever had to do it again, I would be in trouble. 😉

    — Ms Terri, who loves talking about plug-ins

  • chef

    Glad I came back to this site some new very interesting items which I wanted to know more about. Great work on your site.

  • hospitalera

    @chef
    The link to your site didn’t work, care to try it again? SY
    PS I love sweet potatoes!

  • hospitalera

    @Ms Terri
    I don’t use a lot of pictures on this blog, but your suggestion might be useful for a blog that does.
    Regarding the favicon, just upload a favicon.ico file to your index/ root folder and the browser will fetch it eventually. Funny enough, this is the only point where IE is better then Firefox, IE fetches new favicons faster.
    I can run javascript without any modification on this blog, so perhaps it was a wp update rather then a hack? SY

  • I definitely remember putting in some lines of code (which I found after a long internet search) into my main template to enable the javascript. I think it may vary by themes, where some themes can process javascript out of the box, while others require modifications. Or, as you say, it may have been in a recent update, though I think some themes have javascript turned off on purpose, perhaps as a security measure.

    For some reason I couldn’t figure out where my root folder was!! Earlier, I was using a trial version of WS-FTP, which made everything very clear, but when that expired, I switched to Filezilla, which totally confuses me. Maybe I should pay for WS-FTP, but since I only FTP stuff about twice a year, it didn’t seem worth it.

  • hospitalera

    @Ms Terri
    Which host are you using and does it have a cpanel? To upload an *.ico file you don’t need ftp, you can use the normal file uploader as those files are very small, SY

  • These are some very useful plugins. Thankfully I don’t have the No Follow you refer to for comments built in, so the Do Follow plugin is unnecessary for the multi user platform I help maintain. From reading the info on the Keyword Luv developer’s site, I understand that “For your commentators to benefit from KeywordLuv, your blog requires a separate Dofollow plugin to remove the nofollow tag.” I use the Comment Luv plugin to allow for backlinking to an individual article. This is in addition to the link provided based on the commentor’s name. I understand you use Keyword Luv so it links using keywords. While I know a lot of people are proponents of Analytics, I use Cystats to keep up with stats (just preference I suppose.) Unfortunately the Contextual related Posts does not work on a multi user platform so we have a widget available for use in the sidebar that does virtually the same thing. I am a huge fan of the XML sitemap and think it should be on virtually all sites. I would highly recommend Robots Meta and All In One SEO.

  • I’m using BlueHost, and it does have a cpanel. I forgot about that! I almost never use the panel (I go straight into WordPress). I did try the built-in uploader once, a while ago, and got confused, which is why I thought it would be easier to get an FTP client. But I’ll look at it again. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Okay, I went into the File Manager in the C Panel, and it gave me a choice of Web root, public FTP root, and document root. I don’t really know what any of that means ;), so I selected document root. Then I see that the favicon.ico is already listed there, on the right-hand side of the page — so I must have already put it there with filezilla — so I guess that’s not the right place. Argh! I’m so confused. I’ll try the other “roots,” and see what happens …

  • I got it! Yippee! 🙂 In case anyone reading this wants to know how to do it, it goes into the “Web Root (public_html/www)”

  • hospitalera

    @Ms Terri
    Glad to found it out and managed to do it! A favicon is very useful to make your site stand out under all the other bookmarks your readers have. SY

  • hospitalera

    @Rich
    Thanks for all your input, obviously a MU blog and a single user blog work differently, I am not using All in one Seo anymore because this theme has the same seo functions already build in, but I have done so in the past. I never heard of Robots Meta before but will have a look into it, thanks, SY

  • I looked at the Contextual-related post plug-in but it seems to be only for WordPress blogs.

  • hospitalera

    @Karen
    That is correct, but there are possibilities to do this also for a blogspot blog, have a look here: http://www.bloggingtips.com/2008/09/08/5-related-posts-techniques-for-blogger-blogs/
    Just don’t forget to back up first! SY

  • I had no idea that Hostgator had support and chat 24/7, which is a huge plus. I totally hate having issues and having to wait on hold to try to sort them out with a representative!

  • hospitalera

    @Chuggin
    And this support over 24/7 chat is very effective, I had only to fill in a ticket ones or twice for something that I wanted changed, but even all of my tickets have been answered always in hours. And they bailed me out of a couple mistakes I made myself with some forum software — for free! Can’t praise them enough. SY

  • This is a great post, I am considering putting keywordluv up on my blog, and I LOVE the sexy bookmarks. The LinkWithin that MS Terry suggests sounds very interesting too. I might even put a similar post up on my blog and list the plugins I use, if that’s ok with you?

  • hospitalera

    @Petra Weiss
    Absolutely ok, that is what blogging is for me all about, sharing and learning from each other, so that we are all more successful 😉 BTW, your name sounds German, are you a fellow country woman? SY

  • Some very useful tips.

  • hospitalera

    @louie jerome
    Thanks! SY

  • I also use Atahualpa for my wordpress blog but I never managed to get the Google XML Sitemap going ….
    The plugins I personally use and like best are CommentLuv, Goggle Analyticator and WP-SpamFree. I think I’ll try the Link Within plugin, it sounds nice to link via thumbnails!
    (PS: and greetings from a German living in South Africa!)
    .-= Claudia@calories to lose weight´s last blog ..3 Day Tuna Diet =-.

  • hospitalera

    @Claudia
    What is the problem with it? I run it on several blogs and never had a problem. Perhaps I can help?

    I must have a look at the last two plugins you mentioned, regarding the last one, remember thumbnails are nice to look at but anchored text links are the best when it comes to SEO. SY
    PS Greetings from a German living in the Czech Republic 😉

  • Thanks for offering your help!
    Google XML sitemap: when I activate the plugin it gives me the following error message: “There was a problem writing your sitemap file. Make sure the file exists and is writable.”
    I thought “writable” was the problem, but I didn’t quite get how to make it writable, or change the permission. Did you do any changes before the plugin worked???
    .-= Claudia@calories to lose weight´s last blog ..American Heart Association 3 Day Diet =-.

  • hospitalera

    Did you look into the settings of it? Go to Dashboard>Settings>XML-Sitemap. What are your settings there? SY

  • I had another close look onto my settings, but couldn’t find anything unusual, I didn’t alter any of these settings anyway.
    In between I have tried “Google sitemap generator” from the same author, but also the sitemap could not been written.
    I have now installed “Dragon Design sitemap generator”. Here the installation went fine, but I am not sure if it really generated a sitemap … any ideas how I can check?
    .-= Claudia@calories to lose weight´s last blog ..American Heart Association 3 Day Diet =-.

  • hospitalera

    @Claudia
    The easiest way to check it is to submit the generated sitemap to your Google webmaster tools, if Google accepts and downloads it you are good to go. If you want, and trust me, you can give me a a short admin access to your blog. Just set me up as a temp admin and let me have a look around. If you agree to that just send me the login details to hospitalera (at) sybilleyates dot com. You can always change the login details as soon as I am gone 😉 Alternatively you can also ask at the Atahualpa forum as you are using this theme. Are your theme and plugins all updated? Might it be that one of your plugins conflicts with the sitemap plugin? SY

  • Possibly on of the other plugins is interfering, although all of them are fairly updated. I had also upgraded the Google XML sitemap plugin again, but the same error message came up.
    I am quite busy at the moment and will be away for the next week, but I will definitely contact you via email thereafter. Maybe you’ll pick up one of my newbie-dummy mistakes and get it going 😉
    .-= Claudia@calories to lose weight´s last blog ..American Heart Association 3 Day Diet =-.

  • hospitalera

    @ Claudia
    Do this, you also could try to deactivate the other plugins, reactivate them one by one and look if one causes the problem. Then you can google the both plugin names together and see if anybody comes up with a solution. Regarding “newbie-dummy mistakes”, it is simply a case of “Vier Augen sehen mehr als zwei.” 😉 SY

  • Ooh oops i just typed a huge comment and when i submitted it it come up blank! Please tell me it worked properly? I dont want to sumit it again if i dont have to! Either the blog bugged out or i am just stuipd, the latter doesnt surprise me lol.

  • hospitalera

    @Fuzu
    Sorry to break the bad message to you, but there is no other comment to see anywhere, just this one. Please re-submit, thanks, SY

  • diane i. davis

    Good Morning just figured i will let you know that i also had a issue with this blog appearing frozen also. Must be monkeys in the system.

  • hospitalera

    @diane i. davis
    What were you doing as the blog appeared to be frozen? SY

  • Just starting to get involved with blogging and after seeing the flexibility and and all the things you can do with the various plug ins, I’m wondering what took me so long. Thanks for some good advice on the plug ins.
    .-= Ed O.@cheap fax machines´s last blog ..Do Follow Blog, Comment Luv Keyword Luv =-.

    • hospitalera

      You are welcome 😉 Feel free to leave any questions and / or suggestions in a comment or two 😉 SY

  • Nice compilation of blogging tools mate, I also think that a do follow website obtains more traffic especially if they have keywordluv installed in their commenting platform. But to lessen spam, askiment and captcha system works well..
    .-= diocelin@website design münchen´s last blog ..XT Commerce Abonnement Modul =-.