The most popular FREE WordPress Plugins according to ProBlogger users.

Over at ProBlogger, Darren Rowse asked his community, “What are your favourite FREE WordPress Plugins?”

With more time than sense on my hands, I compiled a list of the 183 unique WordPress Plugins which commenters mentioned:

The Top 10

Plugin name Number of mentions
Akismet 39
All in One SEO Pack 31
Google XML Sitemaps 26
CommentLuv 16
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YAFPP) 16
WPtouch iPhone Theme 12
Broken Link Checker 11
SexyBookmarks 11
WP Super Cache 10
Contact Form 7 9

How I totaled it up.
Pasted the comments into an Excel spreadsheet, and removed all the non-recommendations.
Then I matched the plugin name to the plugin home page (mostly the WordPress plugin sites).
Next I tidied up the various spellings people used.
Finally, I did a pivot table in Excel, and here we are.

The other 173

Continue reading

Echo commenting chases the corporate dollar – I’m out

no to echo I’ve been dissatisfied with the Echo commenting plug-in for WordPress for a while now.

The latest-but-last gripe has been with Echo performance.  It adds up to 3 seconds to the blog page load time.  And it can’t be fixed by any tweaks on  Tweaks such as enabling Gzip compression. which I can’t change on their website.

Echo aren’t interested in doing any tweaks, they’re chasing the corporate dollar.  The price is run the Echo plug-in here has gone from $12 USD a year to $10 USD a month.

Chris Saad of Echo sums it up in this support post:

We appreciate your passion about Echo and its pricing – we really do. The reality for Echo is still the same as it’s been for some time now.

As a small startup our considerations are not just the cost of running the service, but the cost of support and the cost of the distraction to build a product for a totally different class of customer (in this case free or nearly free bloggers).

As you can tell from the changes to the Echo home page, Echo is now clearly designed for customers who are in the business of publishing. Business being the operative word.

They have very different needs than smaller bloggers (no more or less important, just different). Particularly in the areas of install, customization, support etc etc.

It’s a different business. One that others in the market are very well suited to execute on. I’m sure there is a provider that suits your needs. One size never fits all.

There are some free choices out there.  Disqus or IntenseDebate are two of them.  I’ve gone back to Disqus for the time being.

Bookmark and Share

Making your blog load faster.

Use the WP Super Cache plugin.  In the case of, pages load three times quicker with it.  JErm asked in the comments for the “Make it go faster – Enabling GZip Compression

How does this relate to WP-Super-Cache usage? Can they work hand-in-hand to make your site load even faster?

Yes they can.  I did some measurements of WP Super Cache turned off & on.
WP Super Cache
  (figures in milliseconds, lower is better)

WP Super Cache makes a big difference.  If you can make your page(s) load quicker, your visitors, and Google will thank you for it.

Why Google you ask?  Well, Google are now taking Page Speed into consideration for search ranking. So anything you can do to improve your page load speed is going to help.

But don’t just take my word for it, have a read of the Performance Benchmarks section of the WP Super Cache page.

Bookmark and Share

How to redirect Blogger Beta to (

Blogger to WordPress image - courtesy of Digital Inspiration

This was originally a post at, but I’m getting constant timeouts to that site, so I’m going to repost it here, just in case has gone down.
This copy was captured by the Google Cache as it appeared on 24 Dec 2009 04:44:07.

I refer to this article in the following two posts of mine:
So you want to move from Blogger to a WordPress blog & Things I learnt when migrating from Blogger


If you are like me and have decided to move your blog from to (the shared WordPress hosting site), you are asking yourself three questions:

  1. How to redirect visitors to the old blog automatically to the new pages.
  2. How to transfer the PageRank of your old blog to the new one.
  3. How to prevent being penalized by Google for duplicate content.

Is it possible ? Read on.

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due – there are some instructions already published

  • Tom Sherman has a nice manual for moving from the old Blogger to self-hosted WordPress.
  • [TechCounter] similar to the one above but contains erroneous information about preserving PageRank.
    (TechCounter link broke 2013 –
  • Webbleyou is a tutorial for migrating from Blogger Beta, but I find it unnecessarily complicated.

Bottomline: None of those tutorials work for moving to the shared hosting on!

how to do it

Here are the answers to the three questions:

  1. Redirect your visitors by combining JavaScript and meta tag redirects. Read below.
  2. Bad news, this is not possible. Tom Sherman correctly states

    This would require a 301 Permanent Redirect and access to the server, not provided by Blogger.

  3. If you don’t want to be punished by Google for duplicating content you must remove the old blog from the Google cache and tell it to ignore the old site from now on. Read below below.

set up redirects

I’m assuming that at this point you have imported your posts to the new blog at (if not, go to “Manage/Import”, select the obvious choice and do what you’re said).

Log into your Blogger account and click your way through the awkward navigation menu until you are at the “Template/Edit HTML” page. To redirect visitors from the main page, insert the following between the <head> and </head> tags:

<meta content='6;url=' http-equiv='refresh'/>

Number 6 means that the redirection will take effect after 6 seconds. Replace the url with your own.

The tricky part comes now. We want to redirect users from individual post pages to the corresponding post pages on the new blog. For that, we need a piece of JavaScript spiced with Blogger proprietary tags. Insert the following right after “<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>” in the template:

<b:widget id='Redirector' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'>
<b:includable id='main'>
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'>
<b:loop values='data:posts' var='post'>
<script type='text/javascript'>
var new_page=&#39;;;
var permalink = &#39;<data:post.url/>&#39;;
var timestamp = &#39;<data:post.timestamp/>&#39;;
timestamp = timestamp.split(&#39;/&#39;);
timestamp = timestamp[2]+&#39;/&#39;+timestamp[0]+&#39;/&#39;+timestamp[1];
new_page = permalink.replace(/youroldblog\.blogspot\.com\/2007\/[0-9]{2}/,new_page+timestamp);
new_page = new_page.replace(/\.html$/,&#39;&#39;);
document.location.href = new_page;

Don’t forget to enter your new blog’s URL at var new_page = .

Important note! For this script to work, all your posts should have been imported to using their Manage/Import function. The creation dates of all posts must match, because they are part of the permalinks.

remove duplicate content

Insert the following between the <head> and </head> tags:

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW"/>

After seeing this, search engines should remove your old blog from their cache and the old content will stop existing for them. Therefore they are not going to penalize your new blog for duplicate content.

optionally, display a message

This is not required, but helpful for your readers. Tell them that you have moved and that they are going to be redirected. Right after the <body> tag, insert this:

<div style='position: absolute; top: 30px; left: 30px; border: solid 2px #333; color: #000; background-color: yellow; padding: 5px; width: 400px; z-index: 5; font-family: Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: large;'>
<p><strong>My blog has moved!</strong></p>
<p>You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit<br/> <a href=''> <strong></strong></a> <br/> and update your bookmarks.</p>

Well, now we are set. Found any errors in this tutorial or have more tips? Share them in the comments please. 🙂

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
© 2005-2008 richard laffers

Bookmark and Share

Things I learnt when migrating from Blogger

Blogger to WordPress image - courtesy of Digital Inspiration

So you want to move from Blogger to WordPress?  I don’t blame you, Blogger has it’s limitations.

The one’s which annoyed me were:

  • not being able to use my own domain ( with Blogger.
    (yes, I know there are some hacks you can use, but I didn’t want the world to see my underwear was stamped with Blogger).
  • not being to use meta strings.
  • lack of support.  You’d identify a bug with Blogger, and Blogger support would say that it would be fixed in a ““future”” release.

So I struck out on my own, and have learnt a few things along the way. Continue reading

Link Checker – another WordPress plugin

Link Checker is designed to crawl though your blog, verifying that the links you’ve linked to are still there.

broken link checker options

Now my utility of choice is Xenu, and I blogged about it here.  Not that there is anything wrong with Xenu, I just noticed Link Checker* and thought I’d give it a spin.

So, the results?

broken link checker report

Took about 10 minutes to scan 2385 links, which seems ok.

Now you can leave the plugin Activated, and every 72 hours (default), when you login to the Admin panel, it will run.  I’m going to de-activate it, and only run it every couple of weeks.

* first heard it while looking at Pelf Nyok’s “Pelf-ism is contagious” blog.

Make it go faster – Expires Headers

apache_feather Or, Wisefaq now tells your web browser that it’s ok to cache graphics (GIF/PNG/JPG/JPEG/ICO), Javascript and CSS.

“This would be important because??”, you ask.

Well when you visit again, your web browser will use it’s copies of the graphics/Javascript/CSS, instead of downloading them again.

A win for you (speed), and me (bandwidth).

Hooray for us!

So how did I manage this?

Wisefaq sits on an Apache web server. Continue reading

Scoble got his WordPress blog hacked

And there is a lesson in that.

then expect to be hacked.

Especially if you’re high profile like Scoble.  Robert, you have my sympathy.

I run two backups here.  A whole web server backup, and a WordPress Database Backup.

And I’ve used both, at times, to recover from stupidity on my part.

And no Virginia, backups won’t keep you secure.  But they’ll allow you to recover from mistakes, or hacking.

If you run a WordPress blog, and you’re not at release 2.8.4, you should upgrade now.

Bookmark and Share

Make it go faster – Enabling GZip Compression

Things were getting slow around here, as you can see with the results from

Now WordPress, in versions before WordPress 2.5, had a GZip compression option.  It was removed in v2.5 because WordPress thought it was better to implement compression at the OS level.  All fine and good, but by default, my hosting provider does not do compression.

The quick performance fix was to enable compression.  But how???

Continue reading