A Few Blog Changes

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 AuthSMTP.com on mail critical applications such as my support desk. And that’s where I’ll now also be using AuthSMTP.com – 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.

Posted by Frank Haywood




Extra sentence space – cool! I’m old school too and I like 2 spaces after a full stop, but the internet world seems to have decided that it’s no longer necessary. Who voted it in – I didn’t!

I’ve already implemented top commenters on my main blog as part of the theme and if nothing else it’s rather nice to show that a few people are at least reading it. The competition element should be interesting to watch. It’s likely to spur people on to make a comment to keep a particular slot.

There’s another blogger who’s used it to good effect – to the extent that it’s caused a couple of arguments on his blog about top position. Over a period of just a couple of months his readership has increased and so have his comments, so it suggests it works very well.

The only thing that would worry me about such a thing is that if there are many pages on a blog the top commenter link will appear on all of them. If you lose the spot then Google will suddenly see hundreds of backlinks disappear. That’s not always a good thing!

I like your new comment box too – is that part of the threaded comments plugin?


Frank Haywood

Hi Amin,

Lol! Fighting over a single position in the comments. Wonderful. Aren’t people funny?

Yes the comment box is part of the threaded comments plugin. And yes it is nice isn’t it? I guess a well written plugin never ages.

After some pretty bad performance problems only on this blog yesterday after rebuilding Apache the other day, I decided to rebuild it again with a couple of changes. Aha! Much much better. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what I’m on about, it was a painful experience.

This morning I decided to see if I couldn’t make it go even faster, so I grabbed another plugin called WP Super Cache written by one of the WordPress authors, Donncha O Caoimh.

After a bit of fiddling with permissions on directories and files I got it working.

All I can say is… Wow!

I’ve had to disable a couple of other plugins in the meantime, but it’s a small price to pay for the incredible speed increase. Even though the server this blog runs on is in Texas, it draws the page pretty damn quickly to me here in the UK, and I’m very pleased (so far) with it.

If I run into any major problems, I’ll do a post about it. But so far, so good.


Well, it looks like there *may* be a slight problem with WP Super Cache and Brian’s Threaded Comments. I made the above comment, posted it as a reply back to yours, but no content appeared. It looks like it’s related to the link I put in to the WP Super Cache page, but I’m not sure exactly what’s going yet. I turned the cache off and cleared it, but still the same problem.

Oh well, I might have to remove the threaded comments…

Frank Haywood

Hmm, I don’t think it’s Brian’s Threaded Comments (BTC) at all. If I try to place that link above in the previous comment I made, the comment disappears although I can see it all when I edit it.


What’s going on I wonder?

This is completely wacky. It seems it’s only related to that single comment I made above. Any other comments and inserting a URL seems to work fine. I’ll turn on BTC again.