I’ve added a couple of WordPress plugins to my site recently, and because I like them I’m going to tell you about them. The first is WordPress Backup to Dropbox, which does exactly as its name suggests, it backs up your WordPress site to your Dropbox account. I’ve used Dropbox for years, but don’t use much of my storage space, and I’ve also neglected to back up my site as often as I should have, so this plugin is perfect for me. It basically just copies everything off your site and puts it inside your Dropbox folder, and you can set it up to do regular backups monthly, weekly or daily. What’s really quite clever about it is that it utilises one of the features of Dropbox to provide you with old versions of files. Instead of putting each new backup in a separate folder, which would eat up a lot more storage space, it just stays in one and overwrites files with newer versions, relying on the fact that Dropbox keeps old versions of files for a month. This also means less data has to be transferred between your server and the Dropbox server, and the Dropbox server and whatever computers you use Dropbox on, as if a file hasn’t changed since the last backup there’s no need to upload it again. It’s very clever.
The other plugin is one which is more front-of-house, it’s the archives thing you should see at the bottom of the sidebar on the right. The default archive sidebar widget leaves a lot to be desired, and I’ve wanted to change it for ages, but only got around to the last night. I tried a few different ones, but settled on Clean Archives Reloaded. It has less customisation options than others, but I think its simplicity works in its favour. Technically it isn’t a sidebar widget, it gives you a shortcode you can then use to place it anywhere on the site, but I put it in the sidebar (using the Text/HTML widget). Although there aren’t many options, I did tinker with it a bit, even though that meant changing its PHP source code a bit. By default it puts the number of comments a post has in parentheses after the post’s title, but, as the vast majority of my posts don’t have any comments, that meant it put “(0)” everywhere, which I felt looked a bit ugly. So I changed it so that it only shows up next to posts with one or more comments. Also, because there was no explanation as to what the number referred to, I made it say “(x comments)”, or in the case when x = 1, “(1 comment)”, so any confusion is avoided. Then I got a bit carried away, and did something similar for the post count, which is displayed next to each month. It used to be just “(x)”, but now it’s “(x posts)”. And I also changed the way the day of the month is displayed, from just being two digits (having a leading zero if required) to being one or two digits followed by a suffix, “st”, “nd” etc., which I prefer. I think it works quite well.