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20 WordPress Tricks to Improve Your Blog

One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its flexibility. Designers, developers, and bloggers have plenty of options. In this post we’ll look at a combination of tutorials for improving a WordPress-based site, and plugins that can provide added functionality that will bring new possibilities.


Build a Featured Posts Section for WordPress

Magazine themes are becoming increasingly popular. There are plenty of quality premium themes available, and also some decent free magazine themes, but you may want to build or customize your own. This tutorial covers the process of coding the index.php file to set up a magazine-style front page with a featured post section.

One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its flexibility. Designers, developers, and bloggers have plenty of options. In this post we’ll look at a combination of tutorials for improving a WordPress-based site, and plugins that can provide added functionality that will bring new possibilities.

UPDATE: We recently launched a gallery site that showcases the best blog designs for your inspiration – Blog Design Heroes.


Build a Featured Posts Section for WordPress

Magazine themes are becoming increasingly popular. There are plenty of quality premium themes available, and also some decent free magazine themes, but you may want to build or customize your own. This tutorial covers the process of coding the index.php file to set up a magazine-style front page with a featured post section.

Featured Post Section

WordPress Sidebar Turned Apple-Flashy Using jQuery UI

Sidebars are often pretty boring. If you’re looking to improve yours, this tutorial goes through the process of using jQuery that expands and reacts to user actions, similar to the Apple sidebar.

Flashy Sidebar

How to Make a Featured Post Carousel for WordPress

This tutorial will show you a different approach to displaying featured content. The technique is fairly simple, and can easily be applied to any blog that wants to give more exposure to certain content. This only requires a few coding changes to get the featured content in the carousel.

Featured Post Carousel

Building a Better Blogroll: Dynamic Fun with SimplePie and jQuery

This tutorial from Chris Coyier is not exclusively for WordPress, but this could easily the sidebar for many WordPress users. Blogrolls are common sidebar features, but with this tutorial Chris shows how the traditional blogroll can be taken a step further by bringing in feeds from other sites and blogs using SimplePie and jQuery. This technique is especially useful for those who run multiple blogs or a network.

Build a Better Blogroll

Dynamic Highlight Menu

Nick La of Web Designer Wall has a post with a number of WordPress hacks, one of them being the dynamic highlight menu. Nick shows his approach for creating the navigation menu at Best Web Gallery that highlights the current location for visitors.

Dynamic Highlight Menu

Two-Tiered Conditional Navigation

In this tutorial Darren Hoyt provides the code for creating a WordPress navigation menu that shows both parent pages and the relevant child pages. For sites and blogs that have a lot of content and pages, this trick can help to improve user experience.

Two-Tiered Conditional Navigation

WordPress Custom Fields: Laying Text Over Your Lead Graphic

WordPress’s custom fields open up endless possibilities for theme developers and bloggers.  In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use custom fields to display an image for a post with text laying on top of it.

Laying Text Over Lead Graphic

“Magazine-Style” Horizontal Dropdown Menu

Jean-Baptiste Jung shows another technique for improving the navigation of a WordPress site. The horizontal dropdown menu uses categories and sub-categories to create a magazine-style nav menu.

Horizontal Dropdown Menu

Integrate a Slideshow into Your WordPress Theme

Smooth Gallery is a MooTools gallery that can add some sizzle to a website. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to integrate Smooth Gallery with WordPress.

Integrate a Slideshow

Adding Tabs to Your Blog Sidebar

If you’d like to improve your sidebar by adding some tabbed content/navigation areas, this tutorial covers the process of using Yahoo! TabView in your WordPress sidebar.

Adding Tabs to Your Sidebar

Create a “Send This to Twitter” Button

As Twitter continues to increase in popularity, integrating Twitter and WordPress will likely continue to become more common. This post isn’t really a tutorial, but it does give the code that you need to add a “send this to Twitter” link or button to your WordPress blog.

Send This to Twitter Button


J Post Slider Plugin

With the J Post Slider Plugin gives WordPress users an easy way to add an attractive image slide show that can be controlled from the admin panel.

J Post Slider Plugin

Lightview for WordPress

Lightview is similar to Lightbox. However, Lightview also works with videos and iframed web pages in addition to photos.

Lightview for WordPress

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a Flash slideshow option.

NextGEN Gallery

Advanced Category Excluder

Advanced Category Excluder allows WordPress users to easily have CMS-like control over which content appears on the front page, in RSS feeds, archives and more.

Advanced Category Excluder

Event Calendar 3

With Events Calendar 3 you can manage future events as an online calendar. Display upcoming events in a dynamic calendar, on a listings page, or as a list in the sidebar.

Events Calendar 3

WP e-Commerce

WP e-Commerce is a highly useful plugin for bloggers or website owners who want to sell products from their site without a lot of work to set up an e-commerce site.

WP e-Commerce Plugin

TDO Mini Forms

With TDO Mini Forms you can allow users to submit posts by completing a form. The posts are held in moderation until you choose to publish them.

TDO Mini Forms

FV Community News Plugin

Community news sections are popular among design blogs. This plugin will make it easy to accept and publish user submissions. There are a lot of options and control for the site owner or administrator.

FV Community News Plugin

Yoast Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumb navigation can be helpful for usability and SEO purposes. This plugin allows you to easily add plugins to your WordPress theme.

20 WordPress Tricks to Improve Your Blog

For more WordPress-related content, please see:

  • Andrew Lindstrom

    Now this is an awesome post! I love it when I see jQuery and WordPress playing nice together. :)

    And seriously, I wish I knew about the “FV Community News” plugin two weeks ago – would have saved me a lot of grief.

  • Raymond Selda

    Great post! I’m about to redesign my blog and this post would be extremely helpful.

    There’s also an article over at Smashing Magazine for 10 WordPress Hacks.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Mike Brisk

    I have to agree with the first comment, Awesome! Some new stuff that the other wp blogs haven’t listed. Thanks!

  • Jen Rochester

    Awesome post! You covered how to solve a few problems I’ve been dealing with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Khayyam Wakil

    This is indeed a very good post. Thank you for some really helpful research.

    It’s #delicious.

  • Tracey Grady

    Marvellous and very timely collection. Thank you.

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  • Scott Lyon

    Considered and concise post – will have to look into some of this myself. Thanks!

  • Nile

    This is a good post, but kind of goes here and there. You should make the tricks toward a certain type of site. However, as said, very good. The list could be larger though as there are a lot of great tricks. I noticed, a couple of those are adopted and redone from old b2 tutorials with WP today in mind. No surprise.

    Thanks for sharing this. :)

  • Steve

    WordPress Custom Fields: Laying Text Over Your Lead Graphic
    is garbage, you should delete it, as to not waste peoples time with an old, horrible and incorrect tutorial.

  • Patternhead

    Great selection. I hadn’t seen a couple of these before. Should come in handy for a few projects I’ve got planned. Thanks.

  • Steven Snell

    I agree, it could be focused better. Sorry about that, but I hope the content is still useful.

  • Anthony Blears

    Sweet – extremely helpful post, thanks for sharing.


  • Demian Farnworth

    I did not know that about custom fields, so I like the tutorial for the laying of text over your lead graphic. Too cool. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  • Marcel

    Very nice list. I’ve been looking for a suitable slideshow tool for a while. Thank you

  • Mark

    I love this list of tutorials. Bookmarked it so I can make use of some of these. Thanks

  • mohsen

    Really helpful.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Susan

    This is a highly helpful post. Much appreciated!

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  • John Samuel

    Quite useful post

  • Blog Design Studio

    Indeed a wonderful blog post that lists out some really awesome tricks that surely improve the WordPress installations. No wonder everyone was tweeting about it.

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  • yugu | Dzineblog

    This one really helpfull, thanks
    i’m going to try some of these in my blog

  • sports picks

    “…to lure a reader in…” It’s funny that we have to bait our readers. Great post, you’ve offered us some great suggestions. Thank you.

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  • Desizntech

    Really useful tips…Thanks for not repeating the same info many blogs produce

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  • Val Silver

    Hi and thanks for the tips. Been looking for this info, maybe you can help. (I’m a techno-kindergartner)
    Do you know if there’s a way to add an opt-in box to free
    Thanks, Val

  • Steven Snell

    Hi Val,
    I’m sorry, but I have no experience with the free system. I always use the hosted version. I’m not really sure of the limitations of the free version.

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  • Audee Velasco

    Thanks! This is really helpful..

    Maybe I’ll start incorporating jquery with my wordpress.

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  • Webdesign Oelde

    Nice collection. I didn’t knew all of them. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Lorne Pike

    Another great post. Thanks for more ideas to add to the kit bag!

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  • Vivek Khandelwal

    thanx for the these
    a great list.. The themes look great ,,

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  • Paul

    I love all the great information. I keep learning more about all the things you can do with wordpress.


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  • Scott Dylan

    This is a great post, im new to blogging but enjoying learning about WordPress and what i can with it.

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    Thanks for the article!

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  • abusyafiq

    good article, I learn it… thanks

  • Nintendo Gaming

    Some useful tips here that I was actually searching an answer for, so thanks! It’s very useful seeing as I’m a WP newbie.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Wonder Wyant

    Wonderful post and some really great tips! Found via twitter, subscribed, thanks so much :)

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  • alex

    Great post Thanks!!!

  • Sajid Latif

    One of the best that I have seen so far. The list could be larger though as there are a lot of great tricks.

  • free classified ads

    Very inforrmative,\e-commerce plugin is very useful i like that..

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  • Sajid

    The list could be larger though as there are a lot of great tricks.
    Great job on the theme.

  • Steven Snell

    You’re right it could be larger, but you could say that even if there were 100 items on the list.

  • virvith

    Great a post thank u very very

  • Wordpressthemegenerator

    Great themes and tricks which help us lot….Thanksss

    Now Make Word-press Theme Online at my Website ..check it.

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  • Jamie Crager

    Thanks for the collection, i am just trying to figure out which one i am going to use first.

    Jamie Crager

  • the_guv

    Nice, Steven, tx .. jQuery humdingers.

    Plugins .. would add Sniplets and HeadSpace2 and, if I may be so bold? .. don’t forget security, here’s the 101 ..

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  • farbige kontaktlinsen

    Twitter is really a great invention, but I think blogging is even more important to create some traffic. But I can use some of the tips.

  • ProWebGuru

    This is very useful.
    Can you post an articles on TDO Mini Forms.
    I searched a lot but there is not a single article which will show how to use TDO Mini Forms for creating a custom data entry page by which people can fill the data.

    Everyone will like that.

  • Steven Snell

    Here is a tutorial for using TDO Mini Forms that may help you.

  • ProWebGuru

    Thanks for your help
    I followed that tutorial but i m facing a problem in that.
    Whenever i am submitting any link then title will be inserted as date.
    And while showing that on sidebar, it is showing title as date.

  • Steven Snell

    I didn’t write that tutorial and I don’t remember the details so you would have to ask the author.

  • izdelovanje spletnih strani

    thank you for sharing this, i guess more work awaits … to improve my blog


    Great article and information and since I am just starting my own blog it your tips will come handy :)

  • gambler

    Great article! At all the Highlighted Menue is exactly what i searched for!

  • Eva

    Thank you so much I got understand more about TDO.

  • Jessy Wu

    wow! what a great post.
    tons of useful tips i can use on my newly setup blog.
    thanks again for sharing.

  • advertising

    something to think about

  • Janoe

    Whoa… it’s a great post. Thank you, I have searched this plugin tutorial.

  • blogiskewl

    Hi, I recently started a bloghosting platform (based on wordpress MU) and when I stumbled your blog I paid attention to your theme (looking good) so I was wondering can you tell me is it custom made theme or one of those free ones? thanks in advance! regards, blogiskewl

  • Steven Snell

    It’s custom.

  • Shevaa | webdesignersblog

    Hmm Wow Great Post man….

  • Roxana Tesch

    That’s pretty useful, thanks for the post, can you guys give me any examples about how to create more elaborate animations in flash?

  • sureshpeters

    wow..a nice information…never known abt this stuff..!! tnx for share.!! ur post really helpful for begineers..u rocks..admin…

  • burakg

    thank you for mentioning really nice WP plugins. Especially the “advanced category excluder” is what i’ve been searching for.

  • world cup 2010 betting lines

    Oh..wonderfull post and great information …will have a try all the tips..thanks…

  • Mertie Whitchurch

    Thanks for your article! I was searching for free classified advertising and classified related articles when I came across your website post on Bing. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the share. I’ve saved this post for future reference :-) Nice comments – Cheers

  • Flinn

    love the blogroll tut by Chris at Nettuts(will use it some where).thnx a lot.

  • pizza fırını

    Thanks for this carefully selected list of WP plugins.

  • Keila Selia

    very intresting write up now to further my research

  • Pixelbox Design

    Excellent Article, Added to favs, keep up the good work.

  • Ahmet ERTEM

    Nice article… I’ll translete it to Turkish and re-post on my blog…

  • Emily Kirby

    Thank you for the blog design heroes link, so helpful!

  • lv

    so helpful!

  • wordpress designer

    Nice tutorial.

  • ของขวัญ

    Great!!!! Thanks

  • webdesignerslog

    Thanks for sharing specially Event Calendar…

  • Alishia Kolp

    I’ve to state, you selected your phrases well. The ideas you wrote on your encounters are effectively placed. This is an unbelievable weblog!

  • Andrea

    Fabulous ideas; thanks for the tips!

  • ของขวัญ

    So amazing topic, cool!

  • Niek

    Some real usefull tutorials out there, keep it going!

  • Edythe Thygerson

    I am not really superb with English but I come up this real easygoing to read .

  • Stenko

    Very useful for me.

  • Paul, WordPress designer

    a lot of this is now outdated, I’d use Gravity Forms for any type of form or data submission process.

  • Robert Jones

    Is there any chance I can blog about some of this work? I’m rebuilding my x mini site where we introduce about the little X Mini speaker – a small battery powered iPod speaker – so I need as much content as I can get for the new blog. I will give you credit of course, and link back to this website.

  • Moses Sumas

    Hi – very good site you have established. I had fun going through this posting. I did want to reply a remark to tell you that the layout of this website is very aesthetically pleasing. I used to be a graphic designer, now I am a simple employee for a merchandising firm. I have always had fun playing with computers and am attempting to learn code in my spare time (which there is never enough of lol).

  • ของขวัญ

    Great !
    Thank you for this valuable resource.

  • ans

    Thanks this is good post i love it so much.

  • ของขวัญ

    Thank You for sharing. ^_^

  • jD

    Thank you for this great post. I love the Smooth Gallery and the Tabs solution. For my blog i will use it too.

  • Patrick Stevens

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  • micheal

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    Some important tips on selling a website.

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    * Share a lot of private and confidential information. If you give less information, buyers might be a bit reluctant. On the other hand if you give more information, the offers will be more.
    * You must keep your tax filings, financial reports, budgets and business plans up to date.
    * You should take every effort for providing accurate details because every serious offer will demand a high level of accuracy, especially with regard to cash statements.
    * If you have mixed the revenue from several websites, separate them unless you intend to sell all of them together.
    * Eliminate complications in your website before you try to sell it.
    * You must keep audited financial statements because it indicates the future performance of your business. It also helps the buyers to get financing facility from banks.
    * Before you sell your website, make sure that you provide all vital information about your website including search engine ranking reports, profit and loss statements, traffic reports, and summary of the website business model.

  • Sheena Kovalchik

    I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It is lovely price enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  • WebDesignerSEO

    Even though its over a year old Thank you for this valuable resource.

  • ของขวัญวันเกิด

    thank for sharing very much

  • Leeleo

    These are great WordPress resources – I actually just started digging into a really really solid book on WordPress 3.0. It’s got some really nice code samples, and is written by a few pro WordPress developers (including some from Envato). I’m actually giving away 2 copies of the e-book on my site – check out the details about the e-book and the giveaway here – I think you’ll dig it :

  • Dhanang’s Network

    Wow!! Excellent!!

  • the medifast blog

    There are some interesting points made in this post but I don’t know if I see all of them heart to eye . There is some validity but I will take hold judgement until I look into it further. Good clause, thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner besides.

  • เสื้อคู่รัก

    it’s too old fashion for every beloved ones. wedding is more important.

  • estetik

    Thanks this is good post i love it so much.

  • kaio

    wowwww thanks alot for htis page, you helped me alot … so thanks again

  • อาหารเสริมลดน้ำหนัก

    It is a wonderful tool. We will be utilizing.

  • Terri Beiler

    I constructed mine and i was looking for some concepts and you gave me a couple of

  • amar

    sound great. Thanks.