Since you liked last week’s post on 5 ways to spice up your WordPress blog, I thought I’d share a few more plugins I’ve been playing with, and stuff I’ve been doing.

Image: tamra hays via Flickr, CC 2.0

Why not give them to you all at once, you ask, a little miffed?

Well, I can only think of so many at a time. And besides, if you got ’em all at once, you’d have nothing to look forward to.

Ha!

Let’s get to it.

1. A Better Blogroll

If you like highlighting other bloggers on your site via a blogroll, you will probably find that as you add more and more to them, it becomes a huuge list. Which means it’s very long.

Try the Better Blogroll plugin. What this does is let you select a certain number of blogs from your blogroll, and only that number of blogs will be displayed.

You can decide how what order these will be displayed in, and which categories of links are displayed.

What you might want to do is also explain, or put somewhere in the title (as I did), that these are refreshed each time the page is refreshed.

Much cleaner than a huge unwieldy list.

2. TinyMCE Advanced

I just found this last week, and it’s very cool. Being a non-geek, I had no idea that WordPress’ WSYWIG editor has a lot more options than show up in your “kitchen sink” when you’re writing posts.

I was actually looking for a plugin that let you insert super- and sub-scripts, and voila! You can do this, and more, with TinyMCE Advanced.

Also very cool is that you can rearrange the buttons you want over four rows. See how it looks in this screen shot, and how much more you can do?

Neat.

3. Flexo Archives

Again great for folks who don’t want their archives – which will grow over time – to take over the entire sidebar.

That is, assuming you want to display your archives, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t, since someone might want to search in them directly, not to mention it puts your blogging “history” right out there.

What Flexo Archives does is collapse the months into each year. When you click on the year, a menu with the names of all the months appears.

You can also decide whether or not you want the number of posts displayed (I chose not to do this).

4. Cincopa Media Platform

A while back I was looking for a plugin that would let me create a slideshow of images and embed it in a post. Initially I was trying to find something that worked with Flickr, but then I stumbled upon Cincopa.

It’s really cool. Basically you just upload the images you want, edit their titles, etc., as you desire, and once you create your “gallery,” you’re given a tiny piece of code to plug into your post.

I love how, when you click on an image, it starts the slideshow right on your blog!

You can even mix photos with music, videos and podcasts. So far I’ve only tried the photos, but I’ll have to try the others as well.

You can see how I used this on my 41st birthday post, as well as when I did a recap of the IABC/DC Metro 2010 Silver Inkwell awards.

5. Show categories as a dropdown menu

This one is really easy. All you have to do is go to your Categories widget, and select the option to “show as dropdown.”

I did this because as more guest bloggers have come on board and the categories on WUL have increased, this menu started looking really untidy. And I hate a messy sidebar.

I did try to find a widget that would do this for me, but didn’t see anything I liked. When I realized I could fix my problem with a simple check mark, I thought, well, that was easy!

The rest of the story

So where are the other seven tips, you ask?

Don’t forget I started out this post with my initial list of five ways for you to spice up your blogging.

That makes 10, and for the last two, check out John Taylor‘s post on a couple of plugins he really likes.

“And now, you know the rest of the story…”

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke