Wait, aren’t all WordPress users writers? Well, not exactly. A lot of people use the WordPress platform to talk about their pets, family, or odd Star Trek fetish (which is fine); but there are users of WordPress who subject themselves the rigors of professional writing. This post really is for those wanting to improve their blog’s typography.
When I started my first blog I found that the more serious I took it and the more involved my posts got that I needed more functionality. I wanted my blog to look and act less like a blog and more like an online print journal. It was this desire that started my look for WordPress plugins that could address the desires I had, and these are the best.
The first thing I needed was a way to cite sources and make additional commentary in my writings, and footnotes are the perfect way to do that (even though they technically are endnotes, but the plugin does paginate). WP-Footnotes is an incredible plugin to accomplish this effectively. It has a lot of options, and it’s incredibly easy to use. You simply choose what the marking for the footnoted is (by default it’s double parenthesis), and when your post is rendered to the client it creates all the links for you.
A recent version has a smooth scrolling option that I do not like however. I instead plugged in another smooth scrolling script, and it turned out much better.
Table of Contents Generator
One of the things I enjoy about Wikipedia is how it can give you a quick glance at the article’s content through a table of contents. Generating this functionality in your WordPress posts happen through the Table of Contents Generator WordPress Plugin.
It has no need to use special markup like the ones above, because it automatically scans the headings in the posts and creates a table of contents. The plugin will also recognize top-level and sub-headings. It is a great reminder to use headings in your posts which drastically improves the semantic value of your content.
In Series WordPress Plugin
Often times when writing about a topic in-depth it’s advisable to break it up for the reader. The way to do this before would be to create a page announcing the series and provide links to all the articles in the series. Well no more! The In Series WordPress Plugin makes this task seamless. The plugin adds an option to add it to a series, and the plugin generates the necessary connections between the content. It’s great, because it requires no hacking of your template–it works right out of the box!
Even though I personally haven’t got to give this plugin a go, I’m excited to really make use of this one. Writing series is a great way to present lengthy content on the web, and this plugin takes all of the work out of doing so (besides the writing of course).
The last deals specifically with improving all the little things in typography that we traditionally miss but make a difference. This is a port from the original Python script for WordPress, and it carries the name WP-Typogrify. This does things such as inserting inline styles to adjust the CSS around all-caps, ampersands, and does important little things such as turning double hyphens into em-dashes and much more.