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Which WordPress Plugins Does Lorelle on WordPress Use?

WordPress PluginsAs part of my month long series about WordPress Plugins, I was recently asked which WordPress Plugins I use on .

Do you want to know which WordPress Plugins I have on this blog?

The answer is: none.

This blog is hosted by the free blog service. Part of the price for being free is the inability to install WordPress Plugins of my own choice. I can only use the ones makes available to everyone.

Oh, I’m using WordPress Plugins on this blog. Don’t you doubt it. They are just the ones all bloggers can use.

We have a variety of WordPress Widgets to style our sidebar with fun accessories. We use to fight off comment spam every minute of the day.

As part of the social community of fellow bloggers, we also have the Friend Surfer, Tag Surfer, and My Comments features, added on through the use of Plugins and add-on code especially for

Example of Friend Surfer feature in blogsThe Friend Surfer allows you to monitor what your favorite bloggers are blogging about on You can add any URL and then set the time period you would like to see posts from “your friends”. You can set it since the last time they logged in, to a few hours or a week ago.

This is a great way of keeping track of your friends and their blogs, but also what key bloggers are saying. There are some top notch bloggers now using and they are shaking the web with their insights and resources.

Example of Tag Surfer feature in blogsDon’t have any friends on Or don’t know where to start to find out who is blogging about what on Or who is blogging about what interests you?

Try out the Tag Surfer option. Beginning with your blog’s categories, it shows you posts from those using the same categories. I have a category for Writing and I find a lot of fascinating fellow writers writing about writing on this way.

You can add or subtract the tags on your list without changing your blog’s categories. See what comes up when you add a new tag. You might find some fascinating bloggers.

Example of My Comments feature on blogsMy Comments is another important feature for the community. As part of the community, you can leave comments on other blogs. Actually, anyone can, but the joy of being a member of, it’s easier to keep track of your comments.

Your comments on are tracked through the My Comments feature. Comments to you and from you and in response to your comments are shown in a chronological order by post, with the comments threaded below. Find a new comment in response to yours? Click the Reply link and you are taken to the blog post to leave your comment.

example of the blog stats bloggers also have access to some rather amazing blog statistics including incoming links, web traffic levels, outgoing link traffic, most popular posts, top incoming search results terms, feed traffic, feed traffic sources, and more.

Through the use of WordPress Plugins and Widgets, it’s easier than ever to add tons of different video, Flash, music, podcasts, and more multimedia to your WordPress blog. I list many of these and how to use them in Adding Video and Podcasting Bling to Your Blogs.

If you want to spend a little money, you can add the ability to customize the look of your blog with the CSS Extra. You can also add more storage space, and even turn your blog into a commercial site with its own domain name – the options are many if you are willing to pay.

Still, there is a lot you can do without the CSS Extra to jazz up your blog in addition to the many Widgets and multimedia options. I explore a lot of these in Blog Bling, helping you cope with the lack of WordPress Plugins, javascript, and CSS in blogs, and showing you how I do the WordPress Plugin-like things on this blog.

My signature and list of related posts are all created manually. No Plugins.

Javascript bookmarklets help to create my site search tags at the bottom of my posts, and another one creates the social bookmarking submit links for blogs.

Sometimes your limitations force you to be more creative. They also help you learn that there is a lot more you can do with a free blog than you might have thought.

For another look at what is possible on a blog without WordPress Plugins, see my friend, , and his amazing blog. I sure wish he’d share more about how he does all that!

Most of the WordPress Plugins which drive blogs are buried within the layers of code and not available to the general public. But then, full version bloggers have tons and tons of options, choices, and variety of WordPress Plugins to choose from. blogs are a great way to get started in blogging. When you get to the point that you are ready to explore your blogging potential on your own, then and all the WordPress Plugins are waiting for you.

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  1. Posted February 22, 2007 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, SO glad I bumped into your blog–just what I needed. It’s going in my Tips & Techniques blogroll. You’ve done a lot of legwork for the rest of us. Thank you!

  2. Posted February 22, 2007 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I guess I should take down my self-hosted WP blog and hit 🙂

  3. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I have the same thoughts as Jane. Im thinking about leaving my self hosted WordPress and start over at Seems like I will save a huge amount of time. But, it’s a shame that you can’t transfer old posts to the account…

  4. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, you know I was really wondering if you had special privileges to tweak your template and stuff with your blog at… and now I figured out you are a CSS whiz.

    Okay okay, WordPress AND CSS AND Javascript whiz.

    Gosh, I feel stupid. 🙂

  5. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    (Sorry Lorelle for the second comment)

    Malin and Jane – IMHO, tweaking a template using the self hosted version of WordPress is easier. Well, its easier to get started with the default templates on (they are pretty), but I bet Lorelle’s customized CSS file is longer than your template’s PHP file!

    Lorelle, your thoughts?

  6. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Just an extra note (sorry): I finally managed to transfer old posts to my account, I never could before for some reason. I used a plugin to optimize all the tables and then it worked ^^.

  7. Posted February 22, 2007 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    As you found out, you can transfer from a full version WordPress blog into But should you? (And never apologize for leaving comments, unless they are evil comments. 😉 )

    If you are tired of the headaches of maintaining your own WordPress blog, and you just want to get back to the basics, is awesome.

    But remember, it has some serious limitations. You have a 50 MB file storage size restriction. More will cost you. Host a few videos, MP3, or podcasts here and you will fill that up fast. There is almost no styling permitted within the post content area, which I mention above. There are a lot of other limits, but there are a lot of other reasons to blog here. Simplicity and focusing on the blogging and not the toys is a good reason.

    As for the CSS on my blog, since all CSS in the CSS Extra package is restricted to the styles of the blog, not the content within it, it’s not much. A few colors in the backgrounds, headings, and so on. Very little. I like to keep this blog simple looking, featuring the text and content not the clutter. But thanks for noticing.

    I’d sure like to dig into the template tags and do some fixing in there, though. That part really makes it hard for me to keep blogging here sometimes. 😉 It’s the price you pay for free.

  8. Posted February 22, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, I am listening and will share the hacks I’ve developed. Pretty much everything I’m doing is “plugins-that-aren’t-plugins”. 🙂

    Case in point, I wrote a program to download category information and create an HTML tag cloud that you then cut-and-paste where ever you want.

    That’s the entire magic of my hacks… automatically processing info from and generating HTML code off of it.

  9. Posted February 22, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, I am not sure what you are trying to say here, since most of the features of code are probably within the WP-MU core code, not plugins. It is probably more resource efficient to put all of this in the core code, since when a WordPress blog runs, it has load all of the plugins, and if there are many to load, then performance will suffer.

    I took a look at the Engtech blog. I am having a bit of trouble figuring out how he did a lot of things there. The home page was probably with tables and such, but the header links seem like a challenge to me.

  10. Posted February 22, 2007 at 8:13 pm | Permalink is great and takes the hassle out of hosting your own WordPress blog. For those considering switching though, if you have any readership whatsoever in mainland China and value that readership you may want to think twice, as is blocked in China.

    One great solution to the problem of censorship, however, would be to inform your readers of ways to get around the internet censorship in China before you switch. Point them to Tor, Anonymouse , Public Proxies or your solution of choice.

    Once you’ve made the switch create a Feedburner feed for your blog. Feedburner feeds, unlike the feeds creates for your blog, are not blocked in China.

  11. Posted September 6, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    ok this was informative too! but I didnt get some of it..

6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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