I’ve been coding with WordPress for a long time now. All the way back to when there was a my-hacks.php file. Shortly thereafter WordPress introduced plugins and widgets. Over all these years I find myself going back to a few key WordPress concepts that make blogs really functional.

  1. Popularity of Posts – The plugin I use, and hack often, is Alex King’s popularity plugin. If you download it from wordpress.org, it works great, but if you really want to make some cool features, you are going to have to hack it.The popularity plugin displays the most popular posts based on time frame, or category in a list (<li>)by default. I’ve hacked it to get the the raw posts, so I can do my own formatting. You can see an example in my “hot list”.
  2. Related Content – Notice how I didn’t say related posts. Finding related content goes much deeper then posts or pages.Related content is a must to build loyal readers (repeat visitors). You have to guide your readers and help them find content THEY are interested in. Remember, most people will find your content from Google, so feed them some related content and grow your user base. Related posts are easy to get, you simple have to a fulltext index to your database. You can then match terms to keywords.
  3. Categories – WordPress is nothing more then a way to organize your content, hence the term CMS (Content Management System). 80% of my traffic from Google comes from a relation to WordPress categories. Either trying to display top level categories without children, or trying to build a top menu/submenu navigation menu.Working with categories in WordPress can be pretty frustrating. I wish there was better information. Luckily there are a lot of help from the WordPress Community.
  4. Images – Magazine themes are the most popular style of theme on the Internet. It’s all about the cool graphics and images to get reader to click on posts. Content sliders and featured content sections with large graphics can be a pain to manually update, which is why you need to learn how to manipulate the images from your posts.

There you have it. If you want to be a WordPress hacker and make killer websites, you gotta have a good working knowledge of those four topics.  Thanks for reading my post, and as always, don’t be scared to ask me for help.

This guest post was written by Matt Dunlap who blogs about website development.

The above article was contributed by a member of the WPHacks community. If you are interested in participating, you can find our guidelines for contributing an article here.

  • Steve

    Displaying Related Content on your website just got easier! We just released a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to add related content, and doesn’t slow down your site: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nrelate-related-content/

  • http://www.netage.co.za Net Age | Web Design

    Updating and controlling the images is what I find to be the biggest challenge. I’m busy playing around with a few paid-or themes, and have to be honest in saying that it still isn’t just drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste…..not by a long shot…

  • http://www.hillarybost.com hillary bost

    Images is something I used to never worry about but if you pick the right ones it can help draw attention.

  • Tej Kohli

    i think not wordpress but you can Say WEB 2.0 is built ti keep all the points in mind and Blogs are just one way of Web2.0

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  • http://www.tatilyerlerim.biz tatil yerleri

    Woww Thank you by admin.

  • http://www.hillarybost.com hillary bost

    These are great tips. A friend of mine just recently made a tool that will let me add content to my site from related sites with out having to bookmark or anything. He has made it so easy to keep my website updated. This is great especially when i don’t have time to write, I find an interesting article post it and then give them a couple links for the borrowed content.

  • Phys

    This is very fantastic, very user friendly i believed all blogger using wordpress are very happy.

  • http://iphone4ever.eu Tobia Shempel

    Thanks for sharing! Nice Tips

  • TagsEngine

    Also the design of the site, as well as fast loading time.

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  • http://www.easyreadernews.com jt

    Thanks for the info. I’m putting your advice to work on http://www.easyreadernews.com.

  • Agung Budidoyo

    Yes I actually use plugin to optimize them

  • Agung Budidoyo

    What do you think about SEO?

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  • Alonso

    What makes WordPress sites really powerful is the plugins. I have a few wordpress sites as well and I have lots of plugins on them.

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  • http://www.automobile.it/ Fabrizio T.

    Great resource, thank you. Since other commenters noted the fact that plugins can be a great add-on for WordPress, what do you think about page speed? Having so many plugins can reduce significantly the page loading speed…

  • http://www.technonymous.net Arslanh

    Related content and most popular plugins really decrease y our blog’sexit rate.