By Sally Duros
Patricio G. Espinoza, who is a triple Fellow for Knight Digital, Poynter and McCormick, offered these WordPress plugins for news that improve your site. Espinoza says he is a journalism Web 2.0 and social media specialist but his dream is to create an out-of-the box WordPress system — nuzGeeks.com — for indie news sites. He is also the Founder and Publisher of AlamoCityTimes. With everything Espinoza has on his plate, his indie news site better run fast.
First up, Espinoza recommends GravityForms, whose branding says “Contact Forms for WordPress Just Don’t Get Any Easier.” Espinoza says that he couldn’t publish without this plugin and uses it for story submissions, contacts, events and more. Pricing starts at $39 for a download. Gravity Forms says it interfaces seamlessly with Authorize.Net, AWeber, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Freshbooks, PayPal and others.
Second, Espinoza cites the duo of Avatar and WP-Biographia, saying AlamoCityTimes’s authors and users love it because “Each can create nice public profiles for posts.” Avatar lets you upload and crop in your browser seamlessly, while WP Biographia lets you place a custom bio where you want it — in posts, RSS feeds, pages, archives and more. I experimented with both on my personal site and they easily delivered on their promise.
I also tried out Espinoza’s third offering. For back shop cleanup, he uses WP-Optimize. Espinoza runs it once a week to keep the database clean and the site moving fast. With some trepidation, I tried it on my personal site. I have several dozen draft posts imported from another site that I am in the process of cleaning, categorizing and tagging. And rational or not, I was worried that they might disappear. Nope. The program, worked seamlessly. My posts are intact, although at this point I will have to spend some time figuring out what the next steps are.
Fourth, Espinoza suggested P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) to find out what’s slowing down your site. This worked well on my personal site and identified at least three problematic plugins that I had activated but wasn’t really using.
Fifth, the MediaCredit plugin provides the much needed functionality of adding a “Credit” field when uploading media to posts. The credit is displayed prominently under the images to properly acknowledge the artist.
And sixth, Espinoza recommends the grand daddy of spam catchers — Akismet. It’s well worth the set-up work and will keep a WordPress site clear of spam.