The life of a writer (whether author or copywriter) is generally quite misunderstood. Friends assume that you’ve landed the dream job. You don’t have to leave your lounge room to get to work. No pesky boss breathing down your neck. And, free from the constraints of the corporate world, you can take a four-hour lunch break every day if it so pleases you.
While all these things apply some of the time, people tend to forget that the life of a writer is often characterised by hour upon hour of staring into a flickering laptop screen. Desperately trying to find the right word, the perfectly poised phrase, the exact tone. For writers, the ability to make ends meet is quite often reliant upon an intangible, un-controllable quality — inspiration. If writers are unable to transform an idea into words, they simply don’t make money.
So, on that rather depressing note, I thought it would be a gesture of solidarity amongst the online writing community to follow up on my article, The Best WordPress Plugins for Writers and Writing and provide details of a few more WordPress Plugins designed to make the life of the online writer just that smidgen easier.
This plugin automatically uploads your old blog posts onto your Twitter feed, saving you from the embarrassment of having to spruik your old copy just to keep it relevant. It also helps to optimize your Twitter feed and save it from dying a slow, painful death because you simply don’t have the time to update it (or got so wrapped up in drafting your novel that you forgot!). With over 80,000 active installs, and regular updates, this plugin could become a key tool in any writer’s social media arsenal.
Unfortunately, writers don’t always get paid for everything they pen, particularly budding new writers looking to enhance their portfolio. Occasionally, writers have to pump out a blog post just to keep our names out there. This WordPress plugin is a fantastic tool that effectively creates a wall between the general public and your lovingly crafted blog. This wall can be quickly and easily broken down, as long as your readers share your post on social media first. It’s completely free and it’s a great way to generate some publicity.
A word of warning on this one though; if you don’t already have loyal readers, then this plugin does have the potential to backfire. Readers may not be willing to share something on social media if they haven’t actually read it themselves first.
This plugin has something for everyone. If you haven’t already installed it, then I recommend you take a look. It’s a completely free plugin. Rather than waffling on any further, I suggest you check out the plugin page for yourself. You’ll be impressed.
This plugin forces you to do what every writer should be doing regularly (but doesn’t!) — backing up their work. UpdraftPlus Backup Restore is an automatic backup system. It even allows you to choose where you store your backup, integrating with the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, or just plain old email. According to the marketing spiel, UpdraftPlus is the highest ranking backup plugin in the WordPress repository, with over 800,000 active installs. Check out their introductory YouTube video for further details.
Everyone wants a fast website — visitors and site owners alike. A slow, clunky website is a one-way ticket to online irrelevance. Even if your website is mostly dedicated to writing (and avoids the big files and images that can slow things down), it’s no excuse for a slow-loading site. This plugin optimizes your site by using techniques such as minifying and database caching, reducing download times, increasing server performance, and integrating with content delivery networks. With more than one million active installs, its popularity speaks for itself. Here’s an overview on YouTube.
Everyone hates spam. It’s totally annoying. This handy little plugin blocks spam from the comments section of your site, meaning you only have to moderate and respond to the comments that are directly related to the content you have slaved over. You don’t have to delete fifteen comments by Dr. Michael Michelson who wants you to visit his ‘five-steps to pimple free skin’ page anymore. You can keep and respond to quality comments on your page and avoid the dreaded spam.
This plugin is great for writers who want to embed PDFs and other files into their content and allow them to be used with the Google Docs viewer. It also gives your readers the option of downloading the content. That means you can pepper your site with more comprehensive samples of your work.
Writers often forget that they can use affiliate links to make a little extra cash off their writing. If you find a service or product that you like or want to endorse use the Amazon Affiliate program (and plugin). Or, better yet, if you’ve published a book yourself, be sure to include the details on your own website. You never know, you might just be able to make a little bit of money every time someone clicks-through and purchases.
An obvious way to make money from your blog is to create a member-only section, jam packed with exclusive, high-quality content for which your members pay a fee. This plugin can protect WordPress pages, posts, tags, and entire categories. It extremely easy to configure, with lots of built-in options available. The s2Member Framework even makes it easy to sell subscriptions to your loyal online readership, integrating with PayPal, to help streamline the entire payment process. There are both free, and paid pro versions (one-off fee of either US189).
Writers live and die by their portfolios. You need to provide your audience with a stylish sample of work and the types of projects you have worked on. This is a fantastic plugin that allows you to do just that.
If you’re in the book writing business you need this plugin. It allows you to showcase your books – complete with descriptions, images, reviews and purchase links – on your WordPress site. You can even bypass the middleman and include a PayPal or eJunkie button on your site and sell the books from your own front yard.
This is the commenting system that every WordPress site should have. It works as a comment network, meaning the comments that are logged on your site are also logged on the Disqus community, which helps people discover content they might be interested in.
Once again, it’s important to remember that the more plugins you have installed on your WordPress site, the more it can impact on performance. Make use of the fantastic plugins out there, but only install what you really need.