Thinking it might be sensible to share the information to help other museum bloggers, here’s what I sent (and a little bit more).
Please add your own recommendations in the comments if you have any favourite and essential WordPress plugins or tips.
This really is just a recommended start point.
Nice to have plugins
Depending on the content and target audience of your blog it might be useful to have an academic citation generator. This one lets people quote and reference your blog appropriately.
If you have multiple blogs and want to have a page that aggregates the RSS feeds of these, or you just want to aggregate other blogs’ feeds to a seperate page on your blog then you need the BDP RSS Aggregator.
If you ever need to embed code in your blog posts then you need RunPHP. This is particularly useful if you want to add interactive scripts to particular posts or subpages.
Maybe you want to put a Flash player in a post but want to make sure your visitors have a the right version of Flash. Then you need the Kimili Flash Embed plugin.
If your blog has a search feature then you are probably wondering how to get the serach to also search ‘pages’ instead of just ‘posts’. After days of fiddling we found this nifty Search Pages plugin.
Dealing with spam
Spam is a fact of life with blogs. Indeed if you don’t get spam then you should be worried, because it probably means the rest of the world can’t see your blog and you need to start doing a bit of promotion. Whilst there are plenty of spam plugins the most effective ones tend to cripple the ability of visitors to quickly leave comments, instead usually requiring them to enter some randomly generated set of character or answer a question. So, I’d been hunting for a robust but unobtrusive solution and now highly recommend SpamKarma for WP above all others. SpamKarma learns as it goes, blocks and keeps a blacklist of IPs and other nifty things – and best of all, it doesn’t interfere with visitors’ ability to leave comments.
Tracking RSS feeds
RSS feeds are great for visitors. They can quickly access the content of your site without actually visiting it – sometimes they never visit and just read the feed. This is good for them, but bad for you – if they don’t visit your page then your usual web analytics aren’t really going to kick in. And if they do you will be hard pressed to determine a lot about their interactions with your feed. The answer is Feedburner.
Redirect the RSS feeds to Feedburner (www.feedburner.com – set up an account). This way you can track who and what is accessing your RSS feeds and which articles are being read that way. If you have trouble getting wordpress to change the feed locations then use the Flagrant Disregard Feedburner WP plugin.
Promoting your blog
Claim your blog in Technorati. This helps you expose your blog to the rest of the world and tells Technorati that you exist. WordPress will automatically starting pinging Pingomatic each time you post but I’ve found that the best results are achieved by registering your blog with Technorati.
Technorati also lets you easily track who and what is linking to your blog which is useful to see who to do link swaps with (if that’s something you are interested in doing, or is some cases allowed to do), or just to build a better idea of why people are interested in your blog.
Then submit your blog to Museumblogs.org.