Ask the Oracle and Other New Blog Features

March 16th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

Yesterday I went a little crazy installing some new plugins for the blog. Most of these were on the administrative side, but there are some new public features as well.

There are thousands of WordPress plugins available, so it can take quite a while to sort through them to find the gems. One thing that helped me a lot was to do a Google search on “best wordpress plugins,” which brings up many sites with good compilation lists. It beats spending hours wading through the official WordPress plugins archive page by page.

Ask the Oracle

The simplest addition is a new Random Article link. This link also appears at the bottom of the “Best of” section of the sidebar, so you can access it whenever you want. I put a link to it in the RSS feed as well, so RSS subscribers can spontaneously ask the Oracle for advice whenever they want. It surprised me that this was one of the most requested features. I guess a lot of people want to use the Law of Attraction to manifest their answers. There are currently about 700 articles to choose from. Since it’s totally random, someone will click the link and get this article — will it be you?

Email this article to a friend

The blog articles now include an “Email this article to a friend” link. So far about 20 people have already used it. You can also use it to email articles to yourself as a reminder to read them later. This was another commonly requested feature.

Social bookmarking

Each article includes a “Share this” link, so you can quickly add any article to your favorite social bookmarking sites. You can also use this feature to send articles via email, AIM, MySpace, and SMS. This feature is available for RSS feed subscribers as well.

I looked into a lot of social bookmarking plugins, and I’ve used a couple different ones in the past. I like this one the best so far, partly because it reports general stats, so I can see which articles are getting bookmarked the most. This helps me recognize what people liked enough to save and/or recommend.

The most popular article on the site is still the ubiquitous How to Become an Early Riser, which is nearly 3 years old. I suppose if you want to work on personal development, the first step is to get out of bed. :)

Print this page

Sometimes people request a link to a printable version of each page, but there’s no need for one. Just go to any page on the site and click “Print.” You’ll get a nicely formatted printout with no navigation elements and no ads. If you’d like to see an example of how any page will look when printed, just use your browser’s Print Preview feature (File -> Print Preview… on most browsers). This is done by using a separate CSS file for printing. The site has included this feature for years.

If you know of other good WordPress plugins, please let me know. I don’t want to overload the blog with featuritis, but if there’s something people find really useful, I’ll consider it.

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