Recently a follower asked me about how I generated my year end writing stats and my short answer was plugins… this is my long answer 😁
So first my blog (obviously from the title) runs on WordPress (WP), along with several plugins to add features it needs.
I use WP for a few reasons; well supported, flexibility, rich ecosystem of software and hosting providers.
So let’s go through what I’m using with WP.
There are lots of free themes out there, but the one I’ve settled on is Garfunkel, mostly.
I have created a child theme to take care of a few things and add some additional features, which include:
- Changing the footer text to use the current year for the copyright line (and removed the theme name as well).
- Swapping the next/previous arrows at the bottom of pages.
- Changed the CSS to make the header full width instead of a fixed pixel count.
- A few other minor CSS changes as well as some additional CSS for a few of the plugins I use.
I use quite a few plugins to make the site, and managing it, better. Here are a highlight list of the major ones:
- Age Gate for managing access to the site to 18+.
- Ajax Search Lite for a better search experience.
- Archivist – Custom Archive Templates for generating the archives pages.
- CookieYes | GDPR Cookie Consent for cookie consent banner.
- Democracy Poll for polls.
- Featured Image Admin Thumb to add featured images to the posts list since all my posts have a featured image.
- Just Likes and Dislikes for the likes on posts/comments.
- Just Writing Statistics for my writing stats.
- Koko Analytics for visitors statistics.
- LuckyWP Table of Contents to auto generate the ToC for my stories.
- Menu Icons to add icons to my social media items in the top menu.
- Redirect URL to Post for the Random post menu item.
- TablePress to generate the tables for the story lists.
- WPFront Scroll Top to add the return to top arrow on the front end.
- Yoast Duplicate Post to create new posts based on previous ones, used to simplify the creation of new story pages and news items.
I’ve left off several “standard” plugins, like disabling Gravatars, or altering the admin appearance, or controlling updates, etc as those are more personal preferences than core to the site.
Those are the major plugins I use and what they’re for. The rest of the site is mostly just WP with a little bit of custom code as required for small things.
Comment spam is often an issue, so far I haven’t had much of an issue (I recently just got two spam comments, but they went away when they never got posted).
My configuration for comments is to require a user/e-mail address to post comments and their first comment must be approved manually by me before future ones will be allowed.
This has worked well so far and is all built into WP.
So that’s my current setup, what’s the future hold?
Well I have been poking around at installing the ActivityPub plugin which would allow people on Mastodon or other Fediverse servers to follow my blog directly. I do think that the Fediverse has the potential to significantly increase the reach of standalone blogs while still giving you complete control over your content.
That might happen over the winter, I’ll have to do some testing and see how it goes.