Someone Please Rescue the Popularity Contest WordPress Plugin

Possibly my favorite WordPress plugin of all time has always been the Popularity Contest WordPress plugin from Alex King.    Back when WordPress 2.5 first came out, there was a minor scare where Popularity Contest quit working on new WordPress blogs, but a fix was eventually published and once again all was right with the world.

Now that WordPress 2.7 has been released, I noticed the other day while setting up a couple new niche blogs that Popularity Contest appears to again be broken on fresh installations of WordPress 2.7.    My WordPress installations which already had Popularity Contest installed and were upgraded to WordPress 2.7 seem to still be working fine.

While checking for updates on the authors page, I noticed that it appears that Popularity Contest (along with Alex’s other plugins) are no longer supported and will not receive any future updates.  In fact, the last update was over a year ago.   The only exception I know of is the Share This plugin, which I believe was purchased by someone who has continued to improve the plugin.

My hope with this post is that someone will either take over supporting this WordPress plugin (if Alex is willing to hand it over to someone), or that someone will create a similar plugin for the WordPress community.   Heck, something like this that is supported and gets regular feature updates might even be something I would happily pay a one time fee for!

Anyone having luck with Popularity Contest and brand new WordPress 2.7 installations?

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  • How To: Fixing Popularity Contest Plugin for WordPress 2.5

    The problem(s): With some upgrades of the WordPress 2.5 branch, the Popularity Contest WordPress plugin is not working properly. Also, people trying to activate the Popularity Contest plugin on a brand new WordPress install are getting a fatal error or a “doesn’t exist” message when attempting to activate the plugin.

    The solution(s): I actually ran into this problem on a fresh install of WordPress. After several attempts, I was unable to figure out the problem myself. Thankfully, a quick Google search showed a post over at WPGuy which gave details on fixing both problems!

    Here is what you need to know if you have this problem:

    Fix problems with the upgrade to WordPress 2.5

    Open your Popularity Contest plugin (edit it) and search for this code:

    require('../../wp-blog-header.php');

    And replace it with this:

    require('../wp-blog-header.php');

    Fix problems with a new install of WordPress 2.5

    In addition to doing the above, you need to search for the following code:

    if (isset($_GET['activate']) && $_GET['activate'] == 'true') {

    And replace it with this:

    if (isset($_GET['action']) && $_GET['action'] == 'activate') {

    I went through both of these steps on my fresh WordPress install and it fixed the problem perfectly!

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  • Premium Theme: WP-Magazine 1.0 WordPress Theme

    One of my favorite things about premium WordPress themes is that they give theme authors the opportunity to truly show off their talents. Because the theme will be purchased rather than given free, they don’t hold anything back and truly create some incredible work.

    Michael at Solostream is no exception. He has created a number of free themes in the past, but has since been concentrating on creating and selling a variety of premium WordPress themes for bloggers and businesses looking for a magazine-style theme.

    His most recent premium theme WP-Magazine 1.0 is his best work to date (in my opinion). Here are some screen shots of a few pages:

    WP-Magazine Screenshot

    WP-Magazine Screenshot 2

    Once purchased, you have access to five different home page layouts and four different category/archive page layouts. You can find more information about the layouts available here.

    Other features include:

    • Widget-Ready, User-Friendly, and Optimized for WordPress Versions 2.2 and Above
    • Home Page Featured Article Glider Box
    • Built-In Banner Ad Blocks
    • Built-In Site Guide in Right Sidebar
    • Customized Recent Comments in Sidebar With Gravatar Support
    • Author Biography Information and Gravatar Included on Single Post Pages
    • Alternating Color Comments With Gravatar Support
    • XHTML Valid

    In addition to these great features, this theme also supports several plugins “out of the box” including the following:

    If you’d like to view this theme in action, check out the WP-Magazine Demo Site. You can also purchase the theme from that site.

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  • Promote Your Popular Posts With Popularity Contest

    I’ve mentioned before that there are a lot of crucial WordPress plugins that all blogs should use; however, this one I’m going to talk about is not one of them. Instead, this plugin is a great plugin for certain types of blogs that have several anchor posts that are their claim to fame.

    This plugin is called Popularity Contest, and what is does it automatically monitor the traffic on your blog and displays a designated number of your most popular posts. This helps funnel new readers to the best and most popular work in the hopes of retaining them as a feed subscriber. It also has the additional benefit of showing a permanent link on every page of your blog’s sidebar, which will send a little search engine link juice to these posts and help emphasize them with search engine spiders.

    How do I set up this plugin? As with most plugins that involves the sidebar, you will have to manually insert some code in order to get it working properly. Once you’ve uploaded and activated Popularity Contest like normal, you’ll find that this plugin is pretty easy to set up. You’ll want to determine where you want your popular posts to be displayed in your sidebar and paste the following code:

    <?php if (( (is_home()) or (is_single()) or (is_page()) or (is_search() or (is_404()) or ($notfound == '1'))) && (function_exists('akpc_most_popular'))) { ?>
    <h2>My Popular Posts</h2>
    <ul><?php akpc_most_popular(); ?></ul> <?php } ?>
    <?php if ((is_archive() && is_month()) && (function_exists('akpc_most_popular_in_month'))) { ?>
    <h2>Most Popular Posts of <?php the_time('F Y'); ?></h2>
    <ul><?php akpc_most_popular_in_month(); ?></ul> <?php } ?>
    <?php if ((is_category()) && (function_exists('akpc_most_popular_in_cat'))) { ?>
    <h2>Most Popular Posts in '<?php single_cat_title(); ?>'</h2>
    <ul><?php akpc_most_popular_in_cat(); ?></ul>
    <?php } ?>

    If you use this code above, it will not only display your most popular posts in your sidebar, but it will actually add your individual categories most popular posts to that particular category, and display the most popular archive posts within your individual monthly archives. This will help improve navigation for readers digging through your blog’s categories and archives, in addition to your main pages.

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