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.

Top 6 Top Sixes for a Top ’06

In the spirit of retrospectiveness, the season, and my “55405” post from about this time last year – as well as an attempt to participate in the ProBlogger Group Writing Project, here are a collection of Top Sixes – six of them in fact, for the past year. Most of them are probably just in random order to keep it nice and democratic.

Top 6 Inspirational Bloggers

The people whose blogs I’ve found the most inspiring, interesting and have made me think alot this year (taken from people I don’t know).

  1. Backyard Missionary – Andrew Hamilton (“Hamo”).
  2. The Forgotten Ways – Alan Hirsch – only started recently but the man thinks about church better than anyone else I know.
  3. Signposts – Phil and Dan McCredden
  4. Missional Diatribe – Andrew – I only found it a couple of months ago, but Andrew has got a great brain, and other than being a Collingwood supporter, is a really nice bloke.
  5. The Dilbert Blog – Scott Adams – Sure he’s an atheist, but he makes me think about my faith more than most Christian bloggers.
  6. Jesus Creed – Scot McKnight

Top 6 Blogs of Friends

Yes, I do have friends, and they do have blogs. These are the six that I have read/loved/laughed at/blah blah the most this year.

  1. all said and done – By my lovely girl (aka: the beautiful Bec)
  2. Virtually Paul – By, wait for it: Paul
  3. Sojourn – Christina
  4. Ranges CC – Scot and Christina
  5. Shared Worship – Di
  6. Rick Ianniello – Rick – well, so I might not have met him in person, but he’s been around here for long enough to count as a friend 🙂

Top 6 Funny Google Search Terms Used To Get Here

In order of most traffic to least – number of visits shown in brackets

  1. pinko lefty insults (8)
  2. noise a goat makes (4)
  3. geoff with girlfriend (2)
  4. mark chaffey girlfriend (3) – also “greg tivendale girlfriend” (1)
  5. statistics,people scared of losing their ipod (1)
  6. reasons for lose your girlfriend (1)

Top 6 Big Realisations For The Year

  1. I like this girl
  2. She likes me
  3. People feel passionately about the concept of God being beautiful
  4. Ducks don’t always move out of the way when you’re driving along the road.
  5. My attempts at facial hair are best avoided – even for a good cause
  6. It’s a small blogosphere after all – (hint: Natalie Portman is code for a name that rhymes with “Lebecca”)

Top 6 Things I’m Happy About This Year

  1. The girl
  2. The Ashes (perhaps that’s in the wrong order)
  3. Andrew Raines – what a footballer he’s going to turn out to be
  4. Doing my course (MA in Church Practice at Tabor – very good course, go check it out)
  5. Just hearing the lights go on in some of the heads of my youth kids
  6. My little brother getting baptised – was the sentimental older brother moment of the year

Top 6 Things I’m Going To Work On For Next Year

  1. Getting the work/youth/course/girlfriend balance right. Sure it’s unrealistic, but who says you have to be realistic?
  2. Looking after the girl – she’s pretty special, and I certainly don’t want to stuff that up 😉
  3. Actually getting a paycheck out of my Google Adsense ads – All time revenue from the ad blocks currently sits at US$38.11, has to get to US$100 before I see any cold hard cash.
  4. Being a tidier person
  5. Taking more time to spend with God.
  6. Getting Richmond into a finals series – OK, so I’m not going to work on it, but how sweet it’d be to see some yeller and black action in September.

Well, it’s been a good year – let’s hope for an even better one next year.