I’ve been using WordPress as my blogging platform now for probably over 13 years. I changed from MovableType when WordPress 3.0 was released. Once I got my head around how it worked (which was very different from MovableType), I really liked it.
Plugins make WordPress both powerful and easy to use, and I’ve used many, many different plugins through the years. I grew tired of most of them, and stopped using them. Some became outdated and no longer supported. Others I outgrew.
But I have used one plugin for many years, and, to this day, I love it. It hasn’t been updated for a long time; so, I have some level of worry that it may eventually die. But until that time comes, I continue to use it – a lot.
For better or worse, my brain thinks parenthetically – jetting off in all sorts of more detailed directions from the central trajectory of the main ideas I’m trying to express. This means that I need footnotes. Those of you who have been reading my blog through the years know that I don’t hesitate to use them. They give me an easy way to go down those rabbit trails.
The Civil Footnotes plugin is crazy easy to use. When you have a parenthetical thought or want to site a source, you just use two open parentheses and write it down right where you want the footnote to go. When the parenthetical thought is completed, you use two closed double parentheses. That’s it.
The plugin auto numbers the footnotes at the end of the post. There are no settings over which to fret and figure. And if you add or delete any footnotes anywhere in the post, the plugin automatically adds or takes them away and renumbers. You don’t think about it at all. I love it!
But I now have a new favorite to add: Easy Table of Contents. Sometimes I write a longer form post. I wish the reader had the ability to see the TOC (Table of Contents) as an outline or an overview of the post. I wish the reader could jump to which ever section of the post they wish to go using this TOC without my having to assign anchors and building one. And this is exactly what Easy Table of Contents does.
This plugin assembles the outline of the TOC based on the headings you use in your post. It’s very easy to use. The plugin has a few settings and some flexibility as well. You can stylize the TOC a bit if you wish. It’s rather straight forward and works well.
There is another TOC plugin that seems interesting to me, but they charge $20 for it, and the purchase process seems almost like a scam. And I refuse to get caught in the “extend your support period” for more money, and no doubt the endless upgrade cycle. So, I’m not going to mention it. It’s not even listed in the official WordPress plugins site. But it does have some very cool features – if in fact it works.
From time to time I like to use special characters. That’s never really super easy in a blog post. Here are a couple examples: 𝄢 → ➔ © €. Even typical latin characters used in languages other than English are not easily inserted when writing on a computer instead of an iOS keyboard – characters like ã or ë. All of these characters were easily added using this plugin. The Insert Special Characters plugin makes this much easier to do in the Gutenberg editor.
So, at present, these are my favorite plugins.