After being ill and feeling wretched for the last couple of days thanks to a horrible stomach bug (my wife had it too), I’ve managed to do a bit today.

(Of course the nice thing is, my online income hasn’t changed while I’ve been ill.)

The bit I’ve done where I actually feel productive (although not made any more money by doing it) is to make a few changes to the blog mainly by pottering around the web.

#1 – I’ve added links to some online experts in the sidebar.

#2 – I’ve added yet another plugin called Brians Threaded Comments. This allows visitors to make a comment about other people’s comments and have it neatly bundled in a thread. Of course, people can make a comment about your comment and so on.

It’s an old plugin (things get old rapidly online don’t they?) but seems to still work okay, and looks correct in FF, IE and Opera. If you spot any oddities, please let me know.

#3 – I’ve added yet another plugin called Show Top Commentators although I think that should be commenters* not commentators**. It’s probably a close call…

Anyway, the plugin shows the top commenters over a period of time which I’ve set to 10 commenters and 3 months at the moment, but I might change that. There are a few different versions of this knocking around, but the best one I could find is by Carsten Albrecht.

It works as you’d expect it to without you having to mess with PHP code, and without it overriding any of your default CSS settings. Very nice. And of course it encourages people to post to get a (rolling) permalink in the home page sidebar right back to their site. Stop posting comments and after a while, you drop off the list. I really like that idea.

#4 – I also found another plugin that I’ve wanted for a while now but couldn’t find because I guess I used the wrong search terms. It’s called Configure SMTP by Scott Reilly and allows you to use SMTP to send mail from your WordPress blog rather than the default php mail function which is getting more and more difficult to get through spam filters nowadays.

As I’ve said before, even though I have both DomainKeys and SPF enabled on my domain, some email still doesn’t get through. That’s why I use on mail critical applications such as my support desk. And that’s where I’ll now also be using – on my blog.

So the little carrier pigeon email message you get when you leave a comment (and Subscribe to Comments – another great plugin) will hopefully get through.

Can you tell I like plugins that make my blog “sticky”? You should too, it will help your internet business.

Finally, the icing on the cake for me (and I really hope this plugin works) is Extra Sentence Space again from Scott Reilly. What a wonderful find. I’ve always disliked that HTML by default did away with the second space after a full stop (period if you’re from the US). I got fed up of manually inserting non-breaking spaces just to get that extra space back. This plugin puts the second space back again and makes your writing online as legible as your writing offline. Fantastic!

Or is that just me?


-Frank Haywood

* One who makes or writes comments.
** An expert who observes and comments on something OR a writer who reports and analyses events of the day.