Everyone can see things like what ads you are running, or what your contact form looks like. They may not know what plugin you are using, unless you allow the linkbacks that some developers put in, but the effects of those plugins are quite apparent. But there are a lot of plugins that are made for the admins of WordPress blogs, to make things easier to run. I thought I would look at a few of those this time.
I mentioned this one before, but it is worth bringing up again. Reveal IDs for WP Admin is possibly the nicest admin plugin out there. With so many other plugins using IDs for posts, pages, and other parts of your site to give y0u control over them, it is really hard to understand why the WP developers decided to hide that information. But this plugin brings it back into view. Unless you are running a completely clean install of WordPress, with no plugins at all, you can probably use this.
If you are a steady blogger, you probably write posts ahead of time and schedule them. This allows you to keep a steady stream of posts going, with a standard posting time for your readers. Dashboard: Scheduled Posts gives you a way to look at all of them without opening the Edit Posts section of your dashboard. You can open one to edit from right there, or go to the Scheduled Post section of your Posts page. Not a vital addition to a dashboard, but handy to have. The only thing that would really improve it would be the ability to change the scheduled posting time.
Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu is a way to give yourself more room on your dashboard. It moves the vertical menu on your dashboard to a horizontal position. It also gives you a lot of control over the header at the very top of your page, including removing it. You can customize the color of the menu bar, and choose to have text, text and icons, or just icons. It does have some problems with some browsers, most notably Firefox 2, Camino, and Opera. It is amazing how much space that vertical menu takes up, even when it is compact.
Page Management Dropdown adds an entry on your Pages menu for every page you have on your site. This allows you to skip going to the Edit Pages section if you want to edit an existing page. You just click on it and to directly to the edit page. It is compatible with the Drop Down Menu, the two together makes things much nicer.
Dashboard: Technorati Reactions Extended is apparently for putting back something that used to be on the main dashboard, a list of any links from other blogs that show up on Technorati. I did not miss this, since it was already gone when I started doing this, but it is nice to have the information along with the standard Google Incoming Links widget. You can choose how many links to show, and whether the URL and date are shown.
Dashboard: Recent Posts Extended is by the same author as the Technorati plugin. It lists the most recent posts that have been published on your blog. You can set the number of posts that will be listed, and toggle whether to show the post author and the date posted. This is obviously much more useful on a multi-author blog, although even single writer can use it to more easily keep an eye on their post frequency.
StatPress Reloaded is an upgrade to a popular plugin that is no longer supported. It shows you all kinds of information about your visitors, feeds, referrers, pageviews, and possibly your shirt size. It seems to give the same kind of information as Google Analytics, but you don’t need a Google account to get it or leave your blog to look at it. And it is a nice complement to the WordPress Stats plugin, but you don’t need to sign up for an API to use it. It even gives you the option of exporting the information in a csv format.
So there are 7 plugins to make things easier on the back end of your blog. Most of them have to do with giving you more information about your blog, which can help you make better decisions. The others can make it easier to carry out those decisions. Anything that makes running your blog easier, gives you more time to take care of what to write for it. Which is why we all do this.