My Top 5 Favourite WordPress Blogging Tools

As a result of a) having Virtually Paul tell me that he only finds out about cool blogging tools from me; b) realising that I haven’t actually written a Tech post in a long, long time and c) seeing that Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger Group Writing Project is up and happening, I thought it only fitting that I make a top 5 of my favourite tools for blogging with WordPress.

1. Akismet. That counter on my sidebar doesn’t lie: I really have had more than 5 and a half thousand spam comments blocked. In the time I’ve been running the blog, I’ve only had 3 or 4 comments incorrectly blocked (and Jaclyn, if you’re reading, you were one of them: Sorry!) and it’s remarkably rare that a comment spam will get through the spam blocking wonder that is Akismet. I love it

2. Mint. Sure it actually costs money (practically nothing), and it might not quite cover all my stats-nerd needs, but Mint is quickly becoming my tool of choice for statistical analysis. Mint specialises in giving a really nice quick look at how things are travelling – there’s a nice overview of everything I’m interested in all on the front page. It makes me happy. And any gaps in my statistical nerdy needs are met by my love of……

3. FeedBurner. FeedBurner are a perfect example of what is quickly becoming a Web 2.0 dictum: do one thing and do it the best. Feedburner look after RSS feeds. They do all sorts of cool things with it, optimising it for browsers, putting helpful links at the bottom of the feed, and importantly for my aforementioned statistic addiction – tracking subscribers and hits on the blog. FeedBurner is only really made useful because they have a ripper little plugin which automagically forwards all the hits to my regular feed addresses (http://www.geoffreport.com/wp/feed/ or a derivative of that) to my FeedBurner feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/geoffreport ) without me needing to touch anything. Gotta love that!

4 . Google Reader. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it really does make my blogging world a happier place. I’m currently monitoring 138 feeds, and that can only happen because it all goes in centrally to the Google Reader interface. It’s also a source for what I think is probably my most under-utilised feature: the starred post feed and sidebar widget where I link through to interesting things I’ve come across in the blogosphere. If I don’t find it in my Google Reader, it doesn’t go in there.

5. Google Analytics. I know, I know, I’ve now got three places that I’m listing statistic services, but it’s MY favourite top 5 after all, so you can all just put up with it. Analytics is cruddy at trying to pick up the here and now stuff, which Mint is much, much better at, but Google Analytics is an absolute wonder at looking over historical data – particularly now that I’ve almost got a year’s worth of data in there. So I can have a look at how the traffic spike for one Problogger writing project versus another, or how many people read the “going out” announcement versus how many read the “engagement” announcement. It gives a stats junkie way too much to do.

Others that came close to making the list are Adsense, but I haven’t made a penny off that yet (although it’s getting there), or ScribeFire except that I’m still getting used to using it, and not that sure that I love it as much as I’d hoped that I would.

85 Replies to “My Top 5 Favourite WordPress Blogging Tools”

  1. Mirko – I think that there are vast advantages in Mint for looking at the “here and now” view of how the site is going. But because a) I haven’t had Mint for that long and b) Mint doesn’t seem to be as good at a comparison between time periods, I like having that Analytics repository of data being built up. Plus Google Analytics doesn’t cost me anything, so I can put up with the minor delay for having *another* javascript scriptlet running. Appreciate the interest though.

  2. Hey Geoff, I found this article through the Problogger Group Writing Project, and I thought it was interesting to see your take on the most useful blogging tools, and it is very relevant to what I write about over at Bloggst, so I linked to you in my entry as well (my comment is linked to it).

    I agree on many of your tools, and I even wrote a few entries over at Bloggst about FeedBurner and Analytics – Feel free to check them out if you wish. You should find them without too much trouble 😉

    Anyways, I like your blog so far, and I’ll be following you in the future. Added you to my reader!

  3. I also came here through Problogger (helping with your next traffic spike!) and since I use WordPress for my blog, these are pretty helpful. Im curious about Mint, is it really that good? My host provides me with some stats, and Ive tried assorted free ones, but none of them are any good.

  4. Hello Geoffry, got a load of traffic already today? Just read your post, because of the problogger contest. And guess what? Your entry is on my ‘Top 5 top5 entries for Darrens Top 5 Group Writing Project’, which is still in the making. But should be online within an hour or so. if I win, you will win a bit too 😉

  5. Oh my, 138 feeds?? I’m curious to know how much time you spend reading your feeds each day. That’s quite an accomplishment!

    Thanks for the tips Geoffry and good luck with the Problogger project! 🙂

    JoLynn

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  8. I love the photo in your header. I found you in the ProBlogger Top 5. I have all except Mint, but I will give it a look see based on your recommendation.

    I will add you to my Top [?] of the day once I am done sifting through them all.

  9. Nice post. You are right about Akismet. It totally rocks. We were getting so completely hammered by spam (52215 comments “Awaiting moderation”) that we had to disable comments altogether. A blog without comments is like a dead newspaper.

    Now with Akismet, comments are enabled and the blog is cool again.

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  11. I will second your top 5, though I’m not using Mint, I have reviewed it in the past and was impressed. Maybe it’s time for another look!

    Stop by and check out my Top 5…

  12. PS… I meant to ask your opinion of Google Reader vs Bloglines? I’m using Bloglines but have a Reader account… maybe I should use it a little more to see how I like it!

  13. Dan, I’m a huge fan of Google reader – I was a Bloglines user before the re-design of Reader but I can’t go back. Reader loads much quicker, and just has a few extra features that I really like. If they start reporting numbers of subscribers for each feed on the Reader page it would be just about perfect.

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  15. I like the list…it helps solidify things for this newbie because I keep hearing about certain tools from various poeple and when I hear one over and over then I know to spend time figuring it out cause its good!

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