Top WordPress Plugins for Writers
All too often, writing is a solitary pursuit; hours at a time spent hunched over the keyboard, pounding out word after word, sentence after sentence. Some days, what with writer’s block and the never-ending stream of readily available procrastination-inducing distractions (think Twitter, YouTube, Reddit), writing can seem impossible.
So, why not give yourself a head start with these WordPress plugins for writers and writing?
Imagine that you’ve just posted an update about your latest chapter, or shared a short story, or written a post about an important issue. You get excited to see that you have comments, but quickly realize that they’re nothing but spam. Akismet is designed to filter out comments like that so the only ones you have to moderate are the ones directly relevant to your post.
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.
Broken Link Checker
This plug-in does exactly what it sounds like. It scans through all of your posts and pages to find broken links and compiles them in a list. If the internal link is broken you can go and fix it, if the external link to a page no longer exists, you can either find a different source or change the copy to omit the need for a link.
Contact Form 7
This is one of the highest rated WordPress plug-ins out of thousands of different options. Contact Form 7 opens the door to customized contact forms and lets users manage multiple forms at once. It’s helpful for writers who want to build their email list or increase sign-ups for updates without having to build out their own templates.
Something many writers worry about is having their content stolen. With Copyright Proof‘s copyright notice and digital content certification, it’s easy for you to prove your ownership and protect your content. This plugin includes an optional feature that captures the IP addresses of anyone attempting to steal your content.
Digg Digg is a popular plugin for social media sharing. You can display the number of times your content has been shared and customize it in various ways, such as making it a floating bar or adding left or right scrolling effects. Using plugins like this makes it easy for your site visitors to help you share your content.
Disqus Comment System
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.
Writers and editors check their editorial calendars with the frequency that they check emails or the diapers of their infants. This tool lays out the content that’s in WordPress, breaks it down and labels the status of each article. WordPress currently alerts you to the status of an article and the publish date, but this plug-in gives users a more visual representation of what they’re working with.
Front End Editor
If, on the odd chance, both you and Proofread Bot happen to miss a typo, then there is the Front End Editor plugin. I don’t know about you, but I like to proofread my WordPress posts and pages directly on my website, on the real, live version of the site, rather than from the dashboard. I think it’s a habit gained from proofing hard-copy print proofs. So, it can be time-consuming, and more than a little frustrating, to have to toggle backwards and forwards between the live site and the dashboard in the back-end. With Front End Editor installed, this problem disappears. It allows you to change content directly on your site (provided that you are logged in). Quite nifty really.
Google Doc Embedder
The Google Doc Embedder plugin enables you to embed PDFs and other files into your pages with the Google Docs viewer. You also have the option of allowing downloads. This is an awesome plugin for writers because you can easily share things like work samples and chapter teasers with your readers.
iControlWP was made for users with multiple WordPress accounts. This plug-in allows you to update your layout, posts and plug-ins from one platform, rather than only working with one at a time. As you’ve worked your way down this list you’ve become a WordPress Pro, not go out and create some awesome content!
Using this plugin, you can add a whole raft of additional commands to the toolbar (whilst still in DFWM), including spell check, various paragraph styling options, headings, alignment, colours, undo and redo, cut, copy, paste and many more. It will even add a ‘Preview’ button and allows you set which preferences display, and which are hidden.
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.
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.
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.
Even professional writers make mistakes in their content sometimes. But, with the Proofread Bot plugin, you can eliminate grammatical gaffes and stylistic issues in your content. According to the WordPress Plugin Directory, Proofread Bot uses ‘cutting edge natural language processing’. It even checks your copy for plagiarism using Bing. It’s easy to use: once you’ve installed it on your site, an extra box will appear in your site’s dashboard. Simply click on the ‘Proofread Bot’ button, and after a couple of seconds’ worth of analysis time, you’ll receive a detailed report outlining any issues in your post. Unlike most plugins, there is a small catch when it comes to Proofread Bot: you have access to one free proofread per day, up to a limit of 600 words. Beyond this, you’ll need to purchase a proofreading package.
As good writers and editors spot more typos, they keep revising, updating and perfecting. Enter Revision Control, where users can delete the long list of revisions that come with publishing or limit the amount of revisions allowed per post. This plug-in is good for those who lie awake at night worried about that onecomma in that one article.
Starbox – The Author Box for Humans
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.
Tweet Old Post
This plug-in also brings traffic to old posts by periodically tweeting out old articles. You determine how often and what the format is and then let the plug-in take over. One of the most important features of this app is the Exclude Posts view to pick out the non-evergreen articles that you want to keep in the past. You don’t want “2008 Social Media Predictions: MySpace is Here to Stay!” getting unironically shared with followers.
Visual Editor Font Size
The font size of the WordPress dashboard can be quite miniscule, particularly if you’re used to working in Word documents. With the Visual Editor Font Size plugin you can alter the size of the font in WordPress’ visual editor. This obviously doesn’t change anything on your live site; you are the only person that this plugin will affect.
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.
Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in
Shortly after a blog article is published it tends to disappear into the void, only to be seen in the occasional reference or internal link. This plug-in matches related title keywords, body keywords, tags and categories to give readers options of similar articles to read. It lowers your bounce rate and brings old articles back into the sunlight. After all, you work so hard on those articles, don’t let them fall into the abyss shortly after getting published.
Whether you’re a book author, journalist, freelancer or even just a blogger who’s serious about writing, you need to have a website that will draw visitors and help you promote (and sell) your work. It’s also handy to have a website that helps you build relationships with your followers and fans. This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re on your own and not working with a major publication, publishing house or other company or agency. Luckily, with the help of plugins we discussed above, building and maintaining a self-hosted website that will help you meet your (and your readers’) needs doesn’t have to be difficult.