I’ve been asked quite a few times lately what plugins I use on Orgasmic Chef and I’ve even been asked who “did” my blog. If you’ve been a friend for a while, then you know that I often describe myself as technically challenged .
Luckily I have a husband who is pretty cluey when it comes to all thinks geek. He will tell people (often) that I’m not to be trusted with technology but that’s not 100% true. I know my way around but I don’t think logically – I’m more emotional. I know things because my guts say so and that drives a logical person NUTS.
When I decided that if I was going to continue blogging about food I knew I needed to lift my game. A total redesign of my site was desperately needed and a photography class was necessary. I use WordPress and I self-host. Yes it costs a bit of money every month for the server but I love the control that it gives me.
Now those of you with bags of money can just pick up the phone and order a design from a graphic artist and your blog is gorgeous. I know. I’ve been to your site. I lusted. Sadly, I couldn’t afford a clever designer — I wish I could have but reluctantly, I had to do the design job myself. It’s not a nifty designer theme but it’s mine and I’m okay with it. It’s got my food on top and not much else. I figured people were coming to see the food so it made sense to use that as my header.
I can’t tell you how many times I changed everything before transferring it over to my blog. I don’t “see” things in my head, rather, I feel them. You’d never hire me as an architect, I promise you. When I want to rearrange my furniture I just start moving stuff around. John rolls his eyes and says, “honey, that’s not going to fit there, measure it first.” Measure schmesure.. move it and you’ll know it’s 2 inches too wide, then you move it somewhere else. Same with my blog. I clicked all the buttons on the Thesis theme to see what they did and some looked great and some looked pretty awful.
Thankfully for those times when I erased the whole bloody thing, my hero was there to put everything back in order. “Maureen, it’s tricky to try to edit the .php code,” he said as nicely as he could. I’m blessed that he never ever gets angry. About anything. I went to my new blog design unafraid! I also mucked it up a time or three.
I don’t use tons of plugins on Orgasmic Chef because a lot of plugins will slow down the loading of a blog. A slow blog gets penalized by Google. That says it all, really. So here are what I use:
Akismet (gets rid of spam)
CommentLuv (a way to show what my commenters are doing)
Easy Recipe (my recipe plugin. I love the live formatting.)
Facebook Button Plugin (pretty obvious)
Fast Secure Contact Form (also pretty obvious)
Google Analytics (the king of stats)
Google XML Sitemaps (Google likes it when you have this)
Image Widget (this puts an image box in your sidebar)
Jetpack (I like the ease and compactness of the stats)
Pinterest Button (obvious)
Related Posts Thumbnails (puts the little picture links after a post)
Social Media Widget (those little icons at the top of the sidebar)
TweeteMeme Retweet (allows visitors to tweet your post)
WP Smush.it (please get this.. it reduces the file size of every photo as you upload it with no loss of quality)
I also use these two plugins but they aren’t launched yet.
Easy Blogroll (blogs I follow showing a popup screen cap of their site)
Easy Visual Index (popup thumbnails of all my posts)
I could very well be missing some fantastic plugins that would make my blog rock. If you use plugins that you think everyone should try, please share in the comments. When a few of us support one another, then we’re way ahead of the pack, I reckon.
Just so there is some food on every post, here’s a plate of puff pastry scraps sprinkled with sugar, rolled up, sliced and placed into a mini muffin tin and then sprinkled with demerara sugar. Sort of like a palmier but made from scraps and rolled one direction only. Okay, the only thing that makes them like a palmier is that they’re made out of puff pastry and they have sugar on them. However…. they were perfect alongside a cone of maple walnut ice cream.