Restyling The Template
One of the best parts of WordPress is the ability to customize to your heart's content. You can either go as basic as downloading and installing a new theme or plugin or as extensive as re-writing individual components. Today I made some touch-ups to try and clean our cluttered interface and add useful features.
The first big change is that I removed the Pages block and instead linked those items at the top of the template. You'll notice that the links for Polls and Subscribe are not there, but that's because they can be found in the respective blocks in the sidebar now. Since there was already a link to one of the pages in the Header portion of our template, all I needed to do was copy the line and change the page ID and name it was displaying. We did the same thing on our old template to change the navigation links at the top.
The second change I made was changing our list of categories to a drop-down list to clear up the clutter over on the right. We've been steadily adding more and more categories to our posts and I've been holding off on adding even more since a new tagging system is supposed to be coming in WordPress 2.3. One of the best parts of WordPress is that there are dozens of functions built in… including one that generates a list of categories as a drop-down list! With a small amount of editing to the widget, I changed the function being used to save us quite a bit of screen space.
Some of the changes to our template I made a while ago. I tweaked entries to show both the author of the post and the time of the post (not just the date). As part of the recent change to the Category listing, I also changed the styling of list elements so that it won't convert to all caps. This style was causing all of the categories in the list to be displayed in all caps and I didn't have the patience to do some CSS hacking to fix it properly.
I've also made some more plugin tweaks. By default, WordPress adds a NOFOLLOW tag to all comment links. This causes Google to ignore that link, giving no love to those of you leaving comments. I dropped in the Dofollow plugin to remedy this situation. Spam Karma has done such a good job at smacking down the barrage of prescription drug and hardcore porn comments that I feel confident that none are likely to slip through. I've also been playing around with WP Admanager , but it doesn't seem to be working quite right. Not only is it somehow incapable of editing an ad once you create it, but I can't get them to display either. I've been thinking about working on the plugin myself as the author seems to be short on time to fix the bugs.
If you aren't using WordPress yet, I'd say that you need to jump on-board this train-o-tweaks to see the real potential of a customizable blog.