As a proactive writer aware of current publishing industry trends, you know you need an author website. Careful research has convinced you that WordPress is the best online Web creation tool and content management system (CMS) available today. Now the next important step in designing your author website is deciding which plugins you are going to need to make it more functional.
What Is A WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress plugin is a bit of software that gives additional functionality to a WordPress site. Some examples: an events calendar, a contact form, a social media widget. Since you might not know how to code these elements from scratch, using plugins is the way to go. Thousands of industrious developers around the world have already done the hard work of creating plugins that will meet your needs—all you have to do is “plug in” their code. Here are a few of the best WordPress plugins for creative writers.
The 9 Best WordPress Plugins For Author Websites
Jetpack by WordPress – FREE
Jetpack lets you connect your self-hosted WordPress site with your WordPress.com account. This connection gives you the ability to see site statistics, edit website code, integrate social media, and more.
Gravity Forms – Starting at $39
With Gravity Forms, you can create custom forms for your author website: a contact form so your fans can drop you a line, sign-up forms for your mailing list, special polls, shopping carts, and more.
Pro Tip: If all you want is a contact form, try Contact Form 7—it’s free!
Social Media Widget – FREE
Social Media Widget creates a special widget that links out to all of your social media profiles. There are countless options available—from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and more! The plugin offers different sets of coordinating icons that you can choose from, or you can install custom icons.
Pinterest “Pin It” Button – FREE
“Pin It” makes it easy for visitors to pin and share your content. With the “Pin It” Button, every image on your site is accompanied by a Pin It button (upon hovering with the cursor) that will redirect the user to his/her own Pinterest account.
Facebook Like Box – FREE
Facebook Like Box shows off the number of Likes on your Facebook fan page and the faces of some of the people who Like you. It even lets new users Like your page without leaving your website! Check out our Like Box in our sidebar for an example of this great WordPress plugin!
WordPress Backup to Dropbox – FREE
This helpful plugin will automatically backup your author website’s files and SQL databases to your Dropbox account. Regularly scheduled backups help minimize the stress and loss you would experience if something goes wrong with your website. All of your blog posts and core WordPress files will be safe and sound in your Dropbox account, ready to be reinstalled in the event of an author website emergency.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – FREE
Want your website to be more easily found on search engines? This amazing plugin allows you to see how SEO-friendly your copy is. Additionally, it supports social media integration and XML sitemap functionality. It’s a great way to boost your author website’s SEO.
Events Manager – FREE
This helpful WordPress plugin makes it easy to showcase your upcoming events in a beautiful calendar that you can customize. Let all your visitors know when your next reading engagement is or where you’ll be signing copies of your book in the future.
Shareaholic – FREE
The Shareaholic plugin creates social share buttons that can appear above or below any post or page on your author website. With Shareaholic, visitors can share your site’s content on their social media profiles with ease, making it more likely that your content could go viral.
What Else Do You Need To Know About WordPress Plugins For Writers?
The most important thing to understand about plugins is that they are made by third-party developers (people who have nothing to do with WordPress), and so they may not always work as advertised. Whenever you’re considering a new plugin, first research the reviews on WordPress’s plugin directory and other forums to make sure it works properly and that its developers offer continuing support.
Also, remember that WordPress is updated regularly, and some plugins are not—so you may encounter glitches, hitches, and problems with a plugin long after it has been installed. To get around this issue, consider working with a Web design company (like Web Design Relief) that offers hosting care packages—as opposed to a hosting plan that leaves you on your own.
QUESTION: Which of the nine WordPress plugins that we list do you think could be the most helpful for you as an author? Are there any you use that we didn’t mention?