Website design, WordPress and plugins

by David Robertson ~ 13-Oct-2009 ~ updated 29-Dec-2009

This website, like most other sites, is a work in progress but I wanted to detail how the site is evolving and give credit to various developers who make their code available for others to use.

In case you haven’t guessed this site is powered by WordPress.

WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

The theme, Ad Clerum, was bought for £9.99 from David Law’s (aka SEO Dave) SEO and Adsense template website.  I chose this template mainly because of the SEO optimisation and the incorporated Google Adsense features.  Whilst I am very happy with the SEO, I have implemented my own Google Ad placements for increased flexibility (if you want to keep the Ad placement nice and simple Dave’s theme is superb).

I’ve tweeked the header a little.  I moved the navigation bar to the top and reduced the number of white borders.  I also changed the background to a blue grad which I made on this web design website.  Their backgrounds are free and so are many buttons, logos, menu bars and styling options.  A cheap paid subscription gives access to a whole host of other options. UPDATE! As you can see, I have been busy! I’m now using two backround images, one on the ‘body’ and one on the ‘footer’. Behind them I’m using #F3F3F3 which blends into both images.

I also added breadcrumbs, which I always like to see on a website.  Other tweeks included widening the right sidebar a little, so that I could display a category tree more easily. I’ve also played with the sidebar and main content floats so that Google reads the interesting stuff first.

One of the great things about WordPress are the hundreds of Plugins that are available. If you need something for your website there will be a plugin, and probably more than one, that can do it. As of today, Slovenia-Walking is using 26 plugins: 22 active plugins and 4 inactive plugins.

Active Plugins

Admin Post Reminder   Admin Post Reminder
» Shawn Scammahorn / Es Developed (url)
For security reasons (so hackers won’t know your admin username), you should not publish posts from your admin account. When the admin is logged in, the plugin displays a gentle reminder not to write any posts.

Advanced Excerpt   Advanced Excerpt
» Delicious Brains (url)
Control the appearance of WordPress post excerpts

Akismet   Akismet
» Automattic (url)
Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. To get started: 1) Click the “Activate” link to the left of this description, 2) Sign up for an Akismet API key, and 3) Go to your Akismet configuration page, and save your API key.

Breadcrumb NavXT   Breadcrumb NavXT
» John Havlik (url)
Adds a breadcrumb navigation showing the visitor's path to their current location. For details on how to use this plugin visit Breadcrumb NavXT.

Broken Link Checker   Broken Link Checker
» Janis Elsts (url)
Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator   Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
» Dagon Design (url)
Generates a fully customizable sitemap

Display Widgets   Display Widgets
» Strategy11 (url)
Adds checkboxes to each widget to show or hide on site pages.

Fast Secure Contact Form   Fast Secure Contact Form
» Mike Challis, Ken Carlson (url)
Fast Secure Contact Form for WordPress. An easy and powerful form builder that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with. Settings | Donate

Google XML Sitemaps   Google XML Sitemaps
» Arne Brachhold (url)
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and to better index your blog.

Greg's High Performance SEO   Greg's High Performance SEO
» Greg Mulhauser (url)
Configure over 100 separate on-page SEO characteristics. Fewer than 700 lines of code per page view. No junk: just high performance SEO at its best.

Multi-level Navigation Plugin   Multi-level Navigation Plugin
» Ryan Hellyer (url)
A WordPress plugin which adds a multi-level CSS based dropdown/flyout/slider menu to your WordPress blog. Visit the WP Multi-level Navigation Plugin page for more information about the plugin.

Page Peel   Page Peel
» Nemanja Avramovic (url)
Adds page peel advertisement on your blog.

Redirection   Redirection
» John Godley (url)
Manage all your 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors

Reveal IDs   Reveal IDs
» Oliver Schlöbe (url)
Reveals hidden IDs in Admin interface that have been removed with WordPress 2.5 (formerly known as Entry IDs in Manage Posts/Pages View for WP 2.5). See options page for information.

Search Unleashed   Search Unleashed
» John Godley (url)
Advanced search engine that provides full text searching across posts, pages, comments, titles, and URLs. Searches take into account any data added by other plugins, and all search results are contextually highlighted. You can also highlight incoming searches from popular search engines.

Shareaholic | share buttons, analytics, related content   Shareaholic | share buttons, analytics, related content
» Shareaholic (url)
Whether you want to get people sharing, grow your fans, make money, or know who’s reading your content, Shareaholic will help you get it done. See configuration panel for more settings.

Subscribe To Comments   Subscribe To Comments
» Mark Jaquith (url)
Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. Based on version 1 from Scriptygoddess

Subscription Options   Subscription Options
» Tom Saunter (url)
Adds subscription option icons for your RSS Feed; your FeedBurner Email Service; your Twitter Stream and even your Facebook page. 12 colour options. Totally user-defined.

WordPress Database Backup   WordPress Database Backup
» Austin Matzko (url)
On-demand backup of your WordPress database. Navigate to Tools → Backup to get started.

WP-dTree   WP-dTree
» Ulf Benjaminsson (url)
Dynamic tree widgets to replace the standard archives-, categories-, pages- and link lists.

WP-PluginsUsed   WP-PluginsUsed
» Lester 'GaMerZ' Chan (url)
Display WordPress plugins that you currently have (both active and inactive) onto a post/page.

Wp-Thumbie   Wp-Thumbie
» blogsdna (url)
Show user defined number of related posts with thumbnail images from BlogsDNA. Configure…

Finally, perhaps the greatest thing about WordPress, apart from the dedicated team of developers and testers, is the amazing amount of help that is available, either from the documentation or the user forums. Many times someone’s answer on the forum has got me out of a pickle!

Slovenia-walking would not be here without all those listed above, so a big “THANK YOU!” to you all.

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