WordPress is an incredibly powerful tool, but can be very user-unfriendly in its purest form. That is where official and third-party addons come into their own. In this WordPress addon guide for authors, I will go through the addons I use for my author website.
Without addons, WordPress is just a blank canvas, waiting for you to put your own personal touch onto. Some are without much doubt essential, whilst others are personal preference. Take a quick look at the addons database within WordPress and you will find a staggering number of different addons, each providing a variety of different solutions that aim to make your life easier. But which ones should you go for? Well, there isn’t really a definitive answer to that, as everyone has different tasks that they want their website to perform. But the beauty of WordPress and its plethora of addons is that no matter what task you wish to accomplish – there is most likely an addon that will help with it.
Here are some of the addons I use for my author website, and their uses. Please note, I am not affiliated in any way with any of the developers listed below. Also, all the addons listed below are the free versions, I have not shelled out a single penny on any of them.
1. YOAST SEO
Yoast SEO is always the first addon I install when creating a new website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is designed to help with your rankings on search engines such as Google. Beware, it is not particularly easy to setup, and it will make you scrutinise every aspect of your post, but it all adds up to a very worthwhile time investment. I will be presenting a guide on Yoast SEO and how to setup and use correctly in a future post.
2. JETPACK BY WORDPRESS.COM
Jetpack is your site’s security detail, guarding you against brute-force attacks and unauthorized logins. Create and customize your WordPress site, optimize it for visitors and revenue, and enjoy watching your stats tick up. I use this addon to notify me when any of my sites are down, any when they get back up again.
3. ASKIMET ANTI-SPAM
Without Askimet, I would literally spend half my life filtering through spam comments. I find it staggering that even a little site like mine is subject to an incredible volume of spam. Askimet stops it all, and filters it all away for you to delete at your leisure.
4. BEAVER BUILDER ADDON
I have classed Beaver Builder as essential, but I do not use it on every post. In essence, it is a drag and drop frontend WordPress page builder plugin that works with almost any theme. For a basic post that does not require extensive columns, rows and details, the standard WordPress page builder works just fine (this post was created without Beaver Builder). But for anything that requires a little more finesse and customisation, Beaver Builder is simply essential, and does just about anything you can dream of on a webpage.
5. DUPLICATE POST
This addon is essential to me, but maybe not to others. It is still well worth adding to your addon list though. Duplicate Post does exactly what it says on the tin – it duplicates a post or page you have already published and saves it as a draft for you to then update. A lightweight, simple and really useful addon.
6. SMASH BALLOON INSTAGRAM FEED
I’ve tried a few Instagram feed addons before, but this one I have found to be the best and most reliable. A good range of customisation options are available, and nice and easy to use.
7. UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Simple yet effective addon. Under Construction basically replaces your homepage that is viewable on the web with a generic page whilst you merrily go about making changes, without risk of the changes being seen until you are ready.
8. WIDGET CONTEXT
Sometimes, I only want certain widgets to appear on certain sidebars on certain posts and pages. The standard WordPress editor does not allow me to specify when and if I want to show the widget areas, and that is where Widget Context comes in. With this handy little addon, a new submenu appears in your widget menu, and you can tell it where or where not to show any of your active widgets.
9. WP STATISTICS
If, like me, you feel the obsessive need to see how many visitors you have had to your website this week, this is the addon for you. Delightfully easy to setup and use, WP Statistics will give you more info on visitors to your beloved site than you can shake a stick at.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA AND SHARE ICONS (ULTIMATE SOCIAL MEDIA)
Last but by no means least is Ultimate Social Media. In this day and age, social media is essential to an author, and this little addon caters for just about all of the big ones. Email, Instagram, Twitter, RSS, Facebook, you name it – USM has it. All the essential ones, anyway. You can upgrade to unlock even more platforms, but I find that the free version covers everything I need, and everything most authors will need.
I hope you have found this WordPress addon guide for authors to be helpful. Obviously I have spoken about just a tiny number of addons out of a vast collection, so there will be some that I have inevitably missed. Feel free to comment below and share the addons you simply cannot do without!