In my last post I talked about the WordPress plugins that I had found essential to have on my new website. Now I want to tell you about the other four.
5. Blogger Importer
Once I've got my website up and running, it's going to make sense to transfer my blog there, too. In one way, I'll be sad - I've been on Blogger for a long time and it's always suited me - but, on the other hand, it does make sense to have website and blog integrated. I had thought that I would have to start the blog afresh but then I found this great plugin which enabled me, very easily to import all the posts from this blog, complete with comments.
There were only a couple of problems that I found, and those were minor ones. The 'labels' on Blogger were interpreted as 'categories' on WordPress and I had to demote them to 'tags'. And all my draft posts were imported as though published and I had to change them back to drafts. But other than that, transition was very easy.
I'm going to continue posting here until I'm really ready to go on the website, and then I'll let you know - and hope that you'll be kind enough to join me there.
6. Column Shortcodes
The theme that I'm using does, I believe, have a template that offers columns - but no instructions as to how to find it or use it. I was getting rather frustrated because I wanted columns - and then I found this great plugin. It installs a button on your screen which, when clicked, offers you a choice of column widths. It will only give you two columns but you can either divide the page in half, or into one third plus two thirds, one quarter plus three quarters and so on up to sixths. And the narrower column can be on either the left or the right.
The joy of this plugin is that it's so simple - and I suspect that anyone with a little knowledge of coding could adapt it to do even more than it already does. The 18 people who have reviewed it on the WordPress site have scored it a solid five out of five.
Having sorted out the columns, I then turned my attention to my text. Try as I might, I could not get the size of font that I wanted. Here again, the theme offered different font options but I could find no way of overriding the default setting when I wanted to. And once more I was fortunate enough to find a really simple plugin which does exactly what I want it to.
Fonts installs a drop down menu from which you can choose the font style and the font size you want. Easy. I can't help wondering why something of that sort is not basic to every WordPress theme. We've all been using MSWord and WordPress for so long that surely we now expect to be able to choose our fonts at the click of a button. And, I would have thought, this was even more important when creating a web page than when writing a letter.
I had a picture in my head of how I wanted to display some of my text but was having great difficulty working out how to do it. I'm going to have several pages on the site which will be reviewing or recommending books, courses and the like. And I wanted to be able to delineate each one clearly from the next. Standout Color Boxes has solved my problem - and is rather fun, besides. You can show your text in a box with either round or square corners, with a choice of several colours for the background. It makes the page look attractive as well as producing the effect - well, almost the effect - that I was looking for. Since I could find nothing else that did anything remotely like this, 'almost' getting the effect is pretty good.
It took me a while to find all these plugins (not least because it took me some time to realise that a plugin would probably solve my problem). But the time spent browsing, downloading and testing (and I did reject quite a few) was, I feel well spent. For a WordPress novice like me, plugins are proving to be worth their weight in gold.