Three WordPress Plugins You Must HaveSep 26th, 2009 | By Aaron | Category: How-To
When blogging, three things take up most of my time. Well, they did. Spelling and grammar, text beautification and linking the post to outside sources. Let’s say you mention the book, The Elements of Style in your post. You want to dig up the Amazon link so that you can possibly make some money, but you don’t know if you should mention it because your spelling and grammar are terrible (guilty) and you hate the way every time you write the number 2nd it just lays there all flat.
What to do? Well, you need a few things…
This plugin, simply put, rules. It handles the difficult task of hyphenation, superscription and subscription of things like exponential notation and cardinal numbers, and making pretty fractions. Even if you don’t write in a manner that requires any superscript or fractions, the hyphenation is priceless.
Probably the best thing about this plugin is it’s set it and forget it nature. Turn it on, do some minimal configuration and you never need to babysit it again. I install it by default on all client sites, just like the next two.
Yet another indispensable plugin. This one takes the generic spell check and turns it into a spelling, grammar and style checker. That’s right, I said style. If you use a lot of huge words or trite expressions, this smug little plugin will reign you in. It’s almost painful how much it corrects me. I used to think I was a good writer. Now I know I’m a hack. Reading other blogs convinces me that nearly everyone needs this plugin.
Let’s say you need to use words that aren’t standard dictionary words, but that you know you spelled properly. It remembers not to check them, and you can add a list in the configuration before you even write. Brilliant (although not any different from a user dictionary).
So, you type a bunch of stuff, you want to find out where the post enhancing links you know exist might be, but you decide to make people search for them on their own. Not good, because you know people are lazy. That’s where Zemanta comes in. It reads as you type and offers images, links, Amazon references (complete with your affiliate ID) and tag suggestions.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve published what I thought was a great article only to remember later that I didn’t tag the stupid thing. No more, however. Inside the tag box are a number of keywords which would make excellent tags. Just click them.
The same is true of links. Just below the editor block are a number (depending on the content of the article) of blocks. Click one and the first occurrence of the word is linked to either a Wikipedia article, a home page, or even the Amazon product we mentioned earlier. Time to get an Amazon Affiliate ID if you don’t have one…
There are several more plugins I find indispensible, but these three are the post edit powerhouse I use to keep things tidy and user friendly. Two of them require API keys, but all are free, like most other WordPress related plugins. Give them a shot. I can’t blog without them.