Too many plugins from developers and too much writing from me left me with the necessity of doing another post. The first part is not really surprising, the only constant about the plugin directory at WordPress is that it is always growing. As for the second part, what can I say. I want to give a somewhat complete overview of the plugins, and for some of them that requires a lot of words. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
First up is WordPress MyLinks. Yes, I did cover it in my last post. And between the time I finished the post and it was published, the plugin developer did an update. Updates are not unusual, I really will need to go back and check out new versions of some of the earlier plugins I looked at. But the proximity to my post and the increase in features for the plugin, help get this plugin another quick look.
First off, the images on the page are now sorted by category. This makes it much easier to go through them. Next up, you can make a small addition to the shortcode to just display a single category. You can even have several categories on a single page, allowing to you set up specialized link pages. He has also included a new shortcode, allowing you to display a single page thumbnail image, anywhere on a page or post. Finally, if you are comfortable with HTML, he has included templates you can modify to customize the appearance of your link page. The author has taken a very nice plugin, and improved it a great deal.
Multiple Blogroll allows you to split up your blogroll into different parts of your sidebar. Your blogroll is split up by category, you can place more than one category per widget, and name each widget. This allows you to place links near particular places on your page. This is especially handy if you have links that are cyclical, useful part of the year, not really needed other times. Just remove the widget with those categories until it is time to use them again.
The list picks up your theme styling, just as the regular plugin does, so there is no real need of any styling. The limitations of the plugin are not too bad. No sorting of the links, and no control of what is shown beyond the choice of what categories go in each widgets. There is a bug right now, once a widgets is created and saved, you can not change what it contains. Removing the old widget and adding a new with your new choices gets around that until the author gets it fixed. Other than that, not a bad plugin, although not everyone will have a use for it.
Advanced Blogroll actually combines features from some of the others I have looked at. Installation is easy, activate the plugin, then place the widget into your sidebar where you want it. All of the options are taken care of in the plugin itself, and there are quite a few there. And the author even includes some CSS on his website to give a nice hover effect to the images. And there are classes for the images and the list if you want to do any additional formatting. Otherwise, it just goes with your theme’s styling.
First, you can place multiple widgets in your sidebars, which is in fact necessary because of one of the other options available. You can choose from a dropdown list of your link categories to only show one category, or all categories, in that widget. You can choose sorting order of links, what to sort on, the number of links to show, and whether the links will be words, images, or both. You can also control the size of the images and add nofollow to the links on the widget. This can be nice, allowing you to nofollow large sites like CNN or Google, but allowing following for smaller sites.
One of the disadvantages to the plugin is the fact that if you want a certain category set up differently from the rest of the categories, you need to add a widget for every category separately. If you only have a couple of categories, this is not too bad, but too many really makes the widget page get busy. Next, if you want to use the images, either alone or with names, any link without an image will not be shown. This is one way of controling whether a particular link shows in your blogroll, but it also means you need to provide an image for a link to show up. Which brings up the hardest part of the setup, if you want to use images, you need to either get them or make them. Some way to pull in favicons would be nice, although the 16×16 size is not very visible and looks horrible if enlarged too much.
A very nice plugin, with a lot of options for customizing. Except for getting the images, the set up is very easy. It lives up to its claim of being advanced.
What Others Are Saying is another RSS feed blogroll. The difference with this one is it does not show a post from all of your links. You set the number of posts, and it finds that number, either the most recent or randomly, from the sites on your list and posts them.
Set up is easy, put the widget in your sidebar and set the options. There are only 5 options, how long between feed updates, how many posts to show, use the most recent posts or pick randomly, link to the site as well as the post, and add nofollow to the links. The author has also provided some PHP code so the programmers out there can put the list where they want it.
Depending on your theme, the styling can leave something to be desired with the widget. The author is working on adding some options for this, which will be nice. Other than the styling issue, the hardest part of using the plugin is adding the RSS feeds to your links. I would not use it for my only blogroll, but it makes a nice addition on the sidebar to supplement your main list. A nice plugin that does just what it says it will.
Collapsing blogroll uses a comment code to place your blogroll where you want it in a page or post. This allows for an easily created links page, divided into sections by the link categories. At the moment, there is only one option, what color do you want the category header. This is very well done, but it seems very lonely so far. The author is very open to adding more options, and was very quick to figure out a problem caused by another plugin. A limited plugin right now, but lots of room for growth, with an enthusiastic author.
That is 4 1/2 more plugins for working with your blogroll. And there are still more out there, but I will probably move on to something different next time. It is not like I can really keep up with the plugin developers. I hope you were able to find something useful for your site in these two posts.