Building a WordPress blog is an essential step in gaining a readership and potentially making money online as a writer. One of the best things about creating a self-hosted WordPress blog is that you have access to a huge database of plugins to make your site cooler than you could ever do on your own. The best WordPress plugins for writers and authors push readers to share your content, help you moderate feedback and advance sales of your books and other products.
I’ll include links to the actual WordPress plugin pages below, but the best way to install these writer plugins is to follow these steps:
I also understand that writers need a wide range of WordPress plugins when building a website, so I recommend checking out what 40 experts suggest as their favorite WordPress plugins.
1. Login to your WordPress website dashboard.
2. Go to the Plugins tab on the left hand side and click the Add New option.
3. This brings up a field to type in the name of each plugin. Punch in the plugin’s name to locate it.
4. Click the Install Now button. You might also have to hit a confirmation button after that.
5. Click the Activate Plugin button to complete the process. That’s it.
How Do You Access These Plugins?
Keep in mind that not all plugins pop up in the same areas on WordPress. Your best bet is to read how to use each plugin (from the plugin details page) before installing them. You can access most plugins through the WordPress Settings tab on the left, in your post editor or sometimes the plugins create a completely new tab on the left in your WordPress editor.
Let’s take a look at the best WordPress plugins for writers to see if you are missing anything on your website.
How it helps writers: This s the only solution you need to sell books on your website. Chances are you post your book on Amazon and other outlets, and maybe you also want to try to sell some PDFs on your own site. This plugin seamlessly incorporates images, descriptions, reviews and purchase links for your books. As one of the best WordPress plugins for writers, you can even include a PayPal or eJunkie button to sell the books yourself.
How it helps writers: WP Inject is truly one of the best WordPress plugins for writers, and possibly my favorite. One of the more tedious parts of writing blog posts is finding photos that you can actually use for free. Creative Commons on Flickr is a great source, but the site isn’t all that fast and you must dig to find all the proper links and downloads. This plugin for writers puts the search in your WordPress dashboard so you never have to open Flickr to find images.
How it helps writers: Some links on your blog are eventually going to break. Why? Because some sites go down and others change addresses. This is bad for SEO if you have broken links. Install and run this plugin every month or two months to clean up your site. I uninstall it after I use it every time so it doesn’t slow down my site.
How it helps writers: Every WordPress site comes with a comment system, but you should replace it with this. Disqus is a comment network, where all comments are logged to help people find relevent content. It helps you because more people can find your blog and readers can login in with various different accounts to post a comment. For example, I like logging in with my Twitter account to post comments. If you didn’t have this on your blog I might not post.
How it helps writers: If your website doesn’t have a sleek author box, go for this option. This is a way to tell people about yourself, push them to your social accounts and give credit to people who guest post on your blog.
How it helps writers: Create post ideas and schedule them within your WordPress dashboard. This also allows you to quickly schedule the posts and even manage multiple writers if need be. The main reason I use this is because it’s easier than having a Google Calendar open at the same time, and it keeps me on schedule for posts.
How it helps writers: This is for those writers who run multiple blogs, which is a great way to earn additional cash and test ideas. With MainWP you can manage all your blogs from a single dashboard so there is no need to logout and log back in.
How it helps writers: I’m not a huge fan of posting to Twitter everyday, but the social media platform works wonders for connecting with people without having to spend a lengthy conversation with them. What happens when you aren’t chatting it up with someone on Twitter? Keep your Twitter feed fresh by pulling old posts from your blog. This plugin posts your old blogs on Twitter, keeping them relevant and pumping out content on your feed.
How it helps writers: This helps you push readers to tweet your content. If you have a particular quote that is begging to be tweeted in your current post, use this to make it stand out and to help people quickly send the quote to Twitter. There are plenty of these plugins, so test them all out to see which works best for you. See how it works below.
How it helps writers: This one is simple. If you want fans to ask you questions about your book or potential clients to call you about your freelance services, you need a contact form so they can send you emails. Refrain from just listing your email address because bots will scan your site and send you spam.
How it helps writers: This is one of the best WordPress plugins for writers if you plan on showcasing your work to other people. When I bought a WordPress theme to showcase my work it included a portfolio where I could punch in my past jobs. I recommend trying to find a theme that is designed for portfolios, but if not, this plugin works nicely. Remember, as a writer, a portfolio is how you get jobs, not witty website copy or a resume.
How it helps writers: Digg Digg is your go-to plugin for all social sharing needs. It lets you place social sharing buttons in your blog posts to increase exposure. My favorite part is the floating side bar that prompts people to share on just about every outlet possible. It also displays how many people have shared to improve your credibility.
How it helps writers: An email list is the first thing you should setup as a writer. Start collecting emails with Mailchimp, or whatever service you want, in order to market your works to people who are actually interested. As one of the best WordPress plugins for writers, it gives you a simple sign up form for the sidebar or homepage.
How it helps writers: Good Writer Checkify is a writing WordPress plugin that creates a simple list below the area where you create your posts. If you keep forgetting things to include in your posts this is the perfect checklist. For example, I have Good Writer Checkify to remind me that I need to include internal links, photo credits and other items in my blog posts. The lists are fully customizable.
How it helps writers: Do you know how Amazon makes so much money? One of the main reasons is because they always pop up related products while people are shopping. This plugin serves up related blog posts at the end of all of your posts, so that readers can move onto other articles and remain on your site longer. The plugin pulls slick thumbnail images to make them even more appealing.
How it helps writers: This is a must for anyone with a website. W3 Total Cache optimizes your site and speeds it up by using a method called caching. It uses various methods such as minifying and database caching to make your site run smooth. It’s not the final solution for your speed or performance issues, but it certainly helps.
How it helps writers: There are plenty of SEO plugins out there, but this one works nicely because it helps you optimize every single blog post by asking you for the keyword you want to target, then tracking how well it is used in your title, content, URL and meta description. You can also use this to improve the SEO on your whole site, making it easier for people to find through Google and other search engines.
How it helps writers: There are a few things you need to know here:
- Opening an external link (a link to another site that is not your own) in the same tab is silly because it directs people away from your site.
- Forgetting to make an external link “nofollow” can hurt your SEO.
- Putting “nofollow” on your own internal links and opening them in a different tab is also silly.
This plugin ensures that your links are modified properly without you worrying about a thing. If you have an external link it automatically tags it as “nofollow” and opens it in a new tab. Nofollow indicates that you don’t want search engines attributing that link to your site. This way, if the link is not considered credible or becomes broken, it won’t hurt your SEO.
If you create an internal link that navigates to another page on your site, WP External Links ensures that it remains a “follow” link and it opens in the same tab.
How it helps writers: This is one of the best WordPress plugins for writers because you MUST backup your website. You backup your manuscript a zillion times, so why would you not do the same for your website? Websites are finicky, and occasionally bad things happen. This plugin lets you setup an automatic backup that stores in the area of your choice, such as Google Drive, Dropbox or your email inbox.
How it helps writers: This is the second plugin I’ve recommended by Yoast, but it works perfectly for seeing what types of people are coming to your site. Why is this relevent to writers? Well, if you find out that 75 percent of your audience is female, then you might cater your content to females. You can also see what posts perform well and checkout the best times to publish.
How it helps writers: Jetpack has loads of features, but I like it for the quick stats provided in the dashboard and the Gravatar integration for pulling commentor images. Checkout the plugin page to see all the features. I would bet there is something in there for everyone.
How it helps writers: One of the most frustrating parts of running a blog is the comment and spam moderating. Spam is a huge waste of time and it clutters and slows down your site. Akismet checks every comment to decide if it’s spam or not.
How it helps writers: One primary way to monetize your blog is by selling memberships for premium content. Maybe you have an online class or community and you want to sell monthly subscriptions. s2Member framework makes it easy.
How it helps writers: Lots of writers like to create communities on their websites. A great way to achieve this is by adding a forum. This plugin includes all the necessities for a forum. Think about throwing a forum in your members section with the s2Member Framework above.
How it helps writers: When looking for the best WordPress plugins for writers I almost forgot that affiliate links are a great way to make extra cash from your writing. I use the Amazon Affiliate program whenever I stumble upon a product or book that I enjoy. If people click-through I get a little kick back (at no charge to the shopper) to help keep my blog running for a bit longer.
This WordPress plugin lets you put affiliate links and images in your posts and pages so you don’t have to keep going back to Amazon to find them.
How it helps writers: Sometimes you screw up the title of your post and you need to redirect to a new page. Why? Because if you go back to change the URL of your post then it breaks any URLs that were previously shared. So if some of your followers share your link on Facebook, and you change the title and URL, you and your readers look pretty silly for sending people to a bunk page. Try redirecting them to a new page to solve this problem.
How it helps writers: It’s a plugin that does two things:
- It improves the search function for your readers, so they receive more relevant content when browsing your site.
- It includes a Research Everything tool that lets you search the web and your own posts to create links in your content. The plugin is much better than searching through Google every time.
How it helps writers: Leave notes on blog posts in the WordPress dashboard. This is great if you need to remember something about your post before publishing or if you work with multiple writers and need to give them feedback.
How it helps writers: Meta Slider is one of the best WordPress plugins for writers if you plan on making money off your freelance writing or books. I use a slider to showcase testimonials once someone comes to my freelance site. You’ll also notice that some tech savvy authors put pictures and quotes or reviews of their books in these sliders to push people to the sales pages once they land on the site. Promotions are also great in sliders.
How it helps writers: This one if pretty simple. A book cover and link looks great in the sidebar, so this allows you to quickly upload a book cover image and link it up as a widget.
How it helps writers: This is perfect for writers who want to give away a preview of their work. You simply upload a preview PDF to Google Docs and use this tool to embed the PDF in your website. Place the preview on your book sales page to attract readers.
How it helps writers: Sometimes you don’t want to ask for monetary payment for a recent project. In this case, don’t just give it away for free. Although your first choice should be collecting emails, this is a nice alternative. This WordPress plugin for writers creates a wall so that people can’t access a book or product without sharing on social media. It’s free publicity!
You Need to Self-Host to Get These Plugins
Plugins are just one of the main reasons the best bloggers in the world choose to self-host their WordPress blogs. Learn how to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog to get the professionalism and tools you need to become a professional writer and blogger.
Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions about the best WordPress plugins for writers. Share your thoughts on any other WordPress plugins that are perfect for authors and writers of all types.
Photo Credit: teamstickergiant on flickr