You don’t need a plugin to remove the word category from your URLs.
Put any page’s content anywhere in a template file
You can fix the unwanted gap with one line of CSS
Wordpress’ the_date() function hides the date if two posts in a row have the same date
Use post__not_in to exclude your current post
Wordpress can do it for you with one line
What is the wp_head() function for? What happens if you don’t use it?