February 10, 2017
You may think that WordPress is only for amateur bloggers and startup sites looking to save a few bucks, but that is not true at all.
Top TED, USA Today, Fortune.com, Spotify, and TechCrunch all use WordPress as their CMS platform. In fact, 27.4 percent of all websites today are on WordPress, or if you want real numbers, 17,802,908 websites and counting. As a web author, there is more than a one in five chance the site you’re updating is on WordPress, too.
WordPress is extremely user-friendly and affordable, both excellent reasons for its popularity with business websites. Part of its usability lies in the thousands of plugins (48,596, to be exact) available for all users, including website developers and writers.
Among these are quite a number destined merely to make life easier for website authors and content writers, and then there are the necessities. Here are 14 essential WordPress plugins for authors.
1. Just Writing
Many writers soldier through distractions of everyday life, including those found in most word processing tools. For some people, it works, but for many writers, it cuts down on productivity. Fortunately, there is the Just Writing plugin. It provides writers with the ability to customize the Distraction Free Writing Mode of WP according to their preferences. This customization makes it easier to arrange the working environment to their liking.
If you write something, you want to make sure your readers understand it. This plugin works like a referee, giving you a readability analysis based on the Flesch and Flesch-Kincaid (also available in MS Word) and Gunning Fog metrics.
It is an essential tool for writers, and it works quite well. However, it is no longer being updated as of May 2016, so make the most use of it while you can. Two other WP plugins with great reviews are Better Writing and Word Stats. You can use them, although they haven’t been updated lately, either.
If you like to work directly on the WP text editor, you can rely on the Visual Editor to do basic proofreading for you.
However, the After the Deadline plugin does a more in-depth job, so you should really have it in your plugin list. Future updates for this plugin will be available on Jetpack, along with a bunch of other features, but the latest version of this plugin should serve you well for a long time.
How often have you published content only to discover typos and grammatical errors? This plug-in lets you do quick edits directly on the page without having to access the backend.
It is a convenient way to (belatedly) do your due diligence. You need admin privileges to use this plugin, so only authorized people can make changes to your site content.
It is crucial for authors to know if the content is hitting the right buttons with the readers. This plugin in lets you know your impact (or lack of it) using hard numbers such as the number of visitors to the site, what pages they visit, and how long they stay. These metrics will help you pinpoint the most and least popular of your content, and build your strategy accordingly.
6. Yoast SEO
All online authors want search engine optimization (SEO), because that is the only reason you maintain a website.
WP is already search engine friendly out of the box, but all that really means is any site that uses WP is in the same boat. To help you stand out in the crowd, you need a plugin that digs deep into your site to make sure it is organized for SEO.
Yoast SEO does that, and goes further by prompting you to choose a focus keyword when writing an article, and ensures you sprinkle that keyword strategically. Check out this guide for using it on your website.
Normally, loading speed is the purview of website developers, and not authors. However, images and videos are important for your content because they enable you to get as much as 94 percent more engagement than the same article without visuals.
Sliders using Soliloquy, for example, is very popular, but high-res images, not to mention videos, are heavy on the bandwidth. With that in mind, you should seriously consider getting this plugin, which allows you create a more responsive image gallery than the basic WP image gallery. Check out these demos, and weep.
If you have social media marketing in place (and you should), posting your content on a regular basis is going to take up time. Buffer is one of the better tools for automating social media post schedules, and you can access it from WP using this plugin. Watch this video on how to use Buffer from your WP site.
One of the ways your content can get more screen time is to add rich snippets, which describes your content in more detail for readers as well as search engine bots. This plugin makes it easy for you to generate the markup for different kinds of rich snippets such as a map, star ratings, and so on. Follow these instructions to install and use this plugin.
How often have you clicked on an article because it shows up as a related post to what you are currently reading? Chances are, quite a lot, and you want that for your site content as well.
This plugin searches your site for any previously posted content that might be of interest to the reader using a cool algorithm. This is a great way to monetize your old post without making any special effort to bring them up to speed.
Install it to have a related posts section automatically populated on your site and feeds for each new upload. YARPP!
No one wants to go over their own footsteps, which is precisely what you will have to do if your site crashes because of malware or server crashes.
This plugin backs up your entire site in case of disaster, and that includes any content you’ve already uploaded. You can restore your blighted site with just a few clicks. It is automated, too, so you don’t even have to worry about doing it manually.
You should know by now that links are all important for SEO, and you probably do your due diligence in making sure the links in your new content are spot on. However, what about your older posts and images?
If you moved an old article, for example, that could result in broken internal links in several articles. This plugin searches for these rotten fruit in the barrel for you, and lets you know you have to fix it. Installing and using the Broken Link Checker is an easy way to keep your house in order.
Keeping track of content can be very hard for anyone that is not very organized, and most authors are not known for being organized.
The EditFlow Calendar keeps track of all you site content, including drafts and those pending review. You get regular updates of each article visually, so you can see where you are at a glance.
If you have more than one WP website to maintain, then you really need to get this plugin. It allows you to manage not just your content, but all your plugins and automation on all the sites in one place. You don’t have to switch from one site to the other and maybe get confused. This frees you up to write more awesome content. It has tons of cool features, and even integrates with Google Safe Browsing.
Lisa Wheatly works for Top Aussie Writers in her spare time, where she creates unbiased essay service reviews. Lisa believes analytical thinking and an enquiring mind are her strongest points, and she does her best to put them to good use. Lisa is a consultant of young entrepreneurs, and she feels that her knowledge of the human mind allows her to accurately assess the abilities of the young businessmen.