my Verbose List of Essential WordPress Stuff

  • (n)AMP server with ftp-server (theme/widget/updater works via ftp). FWIW, I use pure-ftp and pureAdmin. I like the flexible Virtual Users and use 1 user for each site/dir.
  • WordPress itself. Currently using 3.3.something.
  • A theme. I use weaver2 (free version for now, but they will get paid.)
  • an SEO plugin. Curr. using WordPress SEO (original name), considering the All-inOne SEO-pack.
  • a slideshow that is flexible enough to not suck. Currently using Meteor Slideshow.
  • Shopping cart. Currently using Market Press. The GRID shortcode plugin is essential!
  • Social Media crapola. Personally I dislike SM, but chixdiggit and any business that actually uses the social media actively is almost certain to benefit.

One of the most attractive features of these new-fangled CMSs is the plethora of various plugins, add-ons, and themes available.  This, unsurprisingly enough, is also one of the major drawbacks; lots of plugins and themes just suck or are buggy enough to be untrustworthy.  (There is a going market in Premium-grade plugins because site-crafters who are building real-world sites need plugins they can trust their customers with.)

When selecting your theme (as well as any plugin that has visual effects) make sure to choose stuff that is “responsive” – the i-Generation is coming on strong so all websites must deliver a decently usable experience on any of the various screen dimension out in the world.

Also re: themes: themes vary insanely with regard to flexibility in where and how many widget areas are supported, some don’t even let you change the header size etc.  Weaver2, the one I use, allows you to configure your own pretty much everything. It will allow you to (through the plain old editor interface, not really hacking) embed ‘raw’ unfiltered html or javascript.  I was able to embed a javascript to pull in jQuery and query and change stuff to my hearts content; I plan to experiment with this as a way to fake making a plugin. I may take a whack at seeing if I can embed the slideshow at powerclam.com.  Stuff embedded in posts (using the Weaver2 theme)  runs after everything else in the theme, but note well: MarketPress and other plugins run their stuff after that, so styling plugins is for me for now ugly css-poking, php-tweaking, and finger-crossing.

If you stumble upon a shopping-cart/payment that actually sucks less than Market Press, I’d really love to hear about it. 🙂

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