Oct 06 2008

5 Trends of Popular WordPress Blogs- Part1

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In this post we’re going to outline 5 WordPress trends for web developers who know their stuff.

There are plenty of WordPress techniques and hacks out there for beginners. Everyone knows about the routine tricks like:

These features are all fine and very important, but today we’re going to look at WordPress trends that are a bit more challenging. They’re not the run-of-the-mill techniques you’d teach a WordPress beginner. These 5 trends are slightly more difficult, but if done well they can add an extra special something to your website layout.

1. User Contributed Link Feed

User Contributed Link Feed

Many sites in the design blogging niche have their own community news sections where users can submit a link to one of their own posts on their sites. This is a feature that i included here at Noupe and on devsnippets as well to spread the word about great content.

1.1 Manually

There are only few tutorials that explain how to create a user link feed module, my favorite one is the one that Collis Ta’eed wrote here, he explains in details how to allow the users to submit links and to create a public link feed out of it using WordPress’ comments.

1.2 TDO Mini Forms (WordPress Plug-in)

This brilliant plug-in was written by Mark Cunningham, allows you to add highly customisable forms to your website that allows non-registered users and/or subscribers (also configurable) to submit posts. The posts are kept in “draft” until an admin can publish them (also configurable).

2. WordPress Post Thumbnail

WordPress Post Thumbnail

2.1 Manually

Giving each WordPress post a thumbnail, and displaying the thumbnail on the home page is one of the most used trends among many WordPress websites to help attract traffic to these posts by the use of images. WordPressgarage has an interesting tutorial on creating thumbnails for each post on your blog and using Custom Fields to add and display them on your front page. Also, check out another Custom Fields thumbnail tutorial.

2.2 Post Thumb Revisited (WordPress Plug-in)

There is a nice WordPress plug-in that scan posts for images. Then, it can do the followings:

  • Loop display: show a thumbnail linked to the post.
  • Sidebar display: it can shows thumbnails from the most recent posts or thumbnails from random posts.

3. Tabbed Content Section

Tabbed content section is a great design technique that can save a lot of vertical space and make the layout look less cluttered. Many websites use it to set apart a bit of the most important text so that the reader’s eye is drawn to it. Tabs are essentially a piece of eye candy for the reader. Here are a few ways a designer could create tabs on their blogs.

tabbed based interface

3.1 Manually

You can manually create a tabbed based interface on your WordPress blog to help rotating older content. There are many great javascript Tab-Based Interfaces using different javascript libraries like jQuery, script.aculo.us and others.

3.2 Tabbed Widgets (WordPress Plug-in)
tabbed based interface

Tabbed Widgets features:

  • Use other widgets for the tab content and specify a custom tab title.
  • Make tabs rotate in a set interval so that they become more noticeable and prominent.
  • Set a random start tab on each page load so that all tabbed content gets equal exposure.
  • Make unlimited number of tabbed widgets that can be then used as regular widgets under ‘Design’ ‘Widgets’.

4. Show del.icio.us and Digg count

4.1 Show Plain Digg Count

Many websites use the popular Digg badge on their post to show how many diggs a web page has, and provides a link for the user to digg it. However, you can go one step further and display a digg count for a whole range of articles. For example:

Show del.icio.us and Digg count

You can skip the usual digg badge and use the stylish digg icon in list of articles to show the digg count and inside paragraph. Leon Chevalier from http://aciddrop.com has an excellent tutorial that goes into some detail about how to retrieve the counts in PHP and via AJAX.

We don’t want to give every link on the page a digg count, so this nice script has a few options that decide which links should be digg-count-ified. Style hasn’t been forgotten, there are a few options to manage the opacity, pad_links and the box_type.



4.2 Show Plain del.icio.us Count
Show del.icio.us and Digg count

Now when we have learned how to customize our count for Digg, it’s time to learn how to do it for del.icio.us. Dejan Cancarevic from http://stylizedweb.com has a nice and simple tutorial to make del.icio.us count into plain text by using small JavaScript and JSON feeds.

Today i came across a new WordPress plug-in, Delicious Count WordPress Plugin is a great tool to help assess blog post quality. The plug-in displays the number of Delicious saves of each post in a blog in a user friendly ’summarized’ format.

Show del.icio.us and Digg count

5. Featured Posts

Featured post

It’s becoming more and more common for blogs to feature certain posts at the top of the page. One of the common trend is to highlight the first post on the home page to give it different style and more exposure. Check out youthedesigner, designreviver‘s featured post section to get an idea of how such a simple technique can provide more focus to your latest or featured post.

You can achieve this in 2 ways:

5.1 Manually

Many tutorials explain gow to create a featured post or sticky post on your home page and other pages as well. I will highlight 3 amazing tutorials that will teach us how to do this in a few minutes.

  • 5 ways to highlight your first post in your WordPress theme- This post features 5 different methods you can use to highlight your first post on every page or on the 1st page only.
  • creating a “dynamic sticky”- Using two loops. One would query and show only posts in one category. The other would query all posts in all categories.
  • Build a Featured Posts Section for WordPress- This tutorial covers process of creating the index page of a magazine/news theme for WordPress. The main features of this page will be: Featured Posts, Latest Posts, Using PHP Variables for easy customisation of the above for users of your theme not familiar with PHP/WordPress, Retrieving a post image from the ‘Custom Fields’ section of a post.

5.2 Featured Posts WordPress Plugins
  • Featplug- Featplug is a WordPress plugin that can mine your blog’s content and generate ‘featured content’ section for your site using the suitable stories. Output can be rendered as slideshows or banners. You can download it here.
About the Author

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.

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Comments and Discussions
  • Andrew Galasetti, 06 October 2008

    I really like the featured post trend. I hope to implement that to my blog in about six months. It would be cool to show articles like a news or magazine site.

    -Andrew

  • blogsarticle, 06 October 2008

    It’s useful for me,TKS!

  • Gis, 06 October 2008

    :( Oh i am so out of trend i see! What you think dear? Maybe I need to hire a consultor? *giggle*

  • It is hard to keep up, but it’s also rather exciting. And the web is less than two decades old – where will we be a decade from now? Should be interesting!

  • insic, 06 October 2008

    Interesting post. I think im gonna implement some of this in my blog. thanks!

  • Amit Nyamtabad, 07 October 2008

    Very nice post, I plan to install a featured post section really soon on my blog along with the author thumbnails.

    Interesting observations there.

  • Remkus, 07 October 2008

    The plugin for the thumbnails is not working like it should. After I have downloaded, uploaded and activated the plugin it reminds me that I should upgrade to a newer version.. yet when I do that I am back to the same message.

    And also, I can’t find the options menu anywhere once activated. Other solution is to use this plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/thumbnail-for-excerpts/

    Otherwise great article though! :)

  • Remkus, 07 October 2008

    Comment edit would be nice now ;) Upgrading does work now and that also means the options page appeared…

  • Nathan Rice, 07 October 2008

    I think the overall trend here (as represented by the trends outlined above) is the fact that bloggers are aware of the need to put their best content front and center.

    If that means attaching thumbnails, using tabs, or having a featured story section, it’s all about catching the eye of the reader and pulling them in with great content.

    Great read!

  • Free Ads, 07 October 2008

    Good information. Now we need to take actions instead just reading it and ignoring. Implement at least one technique per week and you are set in a month. I am going to implement the tabbbed one first.

  • HipHopMakers, 07 October 2008

    Great post. My blog is lacking some of these features. I think I need to add them.

  • OpenSourceHunter, 07 October 2008

    Very nice, cant wait for the second part.

    • Seven, 04 May 2011

      More posts of this qautliy. Not the usual c***, please

  • Dejan Cancarevic, 07 October 2008

    This is very good list Noura,
    of course thanks for the mention, i appreciate it!

  • Dainis Graveris, 07 October 2008

    Nice to read Your opinion – pretty much agree with it! :) Cool new features talked out here too! Thanks!

  • Stefan Vervoort, 08 October 2008

    Noura, thanks for this article.

    I would like to suggest a ‘Community News’ plugin that I use. It works with an own moderation page, settings page, a customizable form-template and the plugin has widget-support too. More features like a separated RSS feed and image-support are coming soon. You should check it out!

    http://www.frank-verhoeven.com/wordpress-plugin-fv-community-news/

  • Rahul, 08 October 2008

    I really like the post. It’ll help to keep me updated on the latest trends. I also hope to implement it in out blog too.

    Happy Bijaya Dashami 2065 to all.

  • Nathan Beck, 09 October 2008

    I <3 WP!

    That’s all I have to say on this matter.

  • Bingu, 09 October 2008

    Thank you for that post.
    Maybe I will add some of these to my blog.

  • Neowster, 10 October 2008

    Great Post! This shows me many of the functions which I have been trying to implement. Thanks!

  • tyah, 11 October 2008

    this post was really helpful i just started my blog good pionters

  • Sangesh, 11 October 2008

    I’m also interested in this featured post. I hope i’ll soon learn abt all how to do it.

  • weboz.iam, 12 October 2008

    Featured post is such a great tip ! I’ll try to do it tonight on my blog.

  • Ryan Ray, 15 October 2008

    Good tips, I’ll try tabbed plugin.

  • Kris, 17 October 2008

    Nice post.
    I am going to have a look at a few of these :P
    I really like the featured post idea. It suits my site. Thanks

  • kat, 18 October 2008

    thanks!

  • Tschai, 19 October 2008

    No surprises here…except for the first one: User Contributed Link Feed!

    I came across this at knowtebook and submitted an article of mine…and got 12 visitors 1 one day.
    That’s not bad for a humble site and it’s much easier than diggin’ or stumblin’…and you get 100% the right vistiors.

  • Jon, 19 October 2008

    Best of lists are a good way to get new visitors to read more than your front page. I put together a plugin a while back because I found it to be a pain to manually put together “Best of” lists every month.

    With the Best Foot Forward plugin, I simply tag posts with a tag of my choice (say “2008-oct-best-of” or something) and the best of list is generated automatically. It makes things easier (for me, anyway).

  • Icon, 21 October 2008

    Nice article. Make me think to add some of this to my blog. Thanks !

  • Monika, 24 October 2008

    Hi thanks for featuring my article and it is very good to read that this stuff is usefull for some other bloggers.

    have fun with your blogs

    kindly regards
    Monika

  • Skracanie linków, 25 October 2008

    I’m not gonna to glorify this post because you know it’s great. But I’m really grateful for how to set tabbed content section, was lloking for that.

  • Exdizajn, 26 October 2008

    Nice Tabbed Widgets (WordPress Plug-in, but it`s not google friendly in seo way

  • Danh ba web 2.0, 04 November 2008

    Great post. It’s very useful
    Thanks for share. Keep it up !

  • Asad, 07 December 2009

    Really Helpful , thanx

  • jeprie, 23 February 2010

    nice tips will work on that now.

  • Frinley Paul, 28 April 2010

    Really this is nice, thanks for posting such good things.

  • visnu, 11 June 2010

    Good one! Thanks a lot. I’ll try it soon.

  • Alena Durrani, 05 November 2010

    Incredible! I have already been looking yahoo for hours in this and i also last but not least thought it was in this article!

  • diyarbakir evden eve, 20 December 2010

    really nice sharing whitening brushhead

  • Thor, 28 February 2011

    Wow, I’m learning a lot! I’m still a learner at this point and it’s good I stumble on your article. I tried the featured post and it’s effective. I get a good number of views so far.

    Thor
    Blogging 4 Networking

  • Thanks for the post. I really need to get a handle on wordpress plugins. Hope to implement this info soon. thanks.

  • Marilee Andreas, 24 April 2011

    can i post links on my homepage from this blog ?

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