We did it! We’re officially on WordPress now!
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We’re so excited for you guys to come check out our new site. Thank you all the the tips and advice you shared about switching from Blogger to WordPress (self-hosted). It feels like moving from a fishbowl to the ocean; a little scary, but so freeing. We went with HostGator.com. Super quick and easy. No problems so far. Rather than hiring someone to design us a new site, I found an inexpensive theme on WhoaThemes that I was able to customize with the key elements from our current design (courtesy of Tawni at Forever Design Studio). I’m not a super design savy, but I was able to modify certain things that someone completely unfamiliar with HTML, CSS, PHP etc might have trouble with, but so many themes are ready to go right out of the box that that shouldn’t deter you if you are looking to move to WP. And I can’t forget the plugins! Oh wow are there some cool plugins out there.
Top 10 Plugins for Book Bloggers
These aren’t in any particular order. Click the title to go to that plugin’s page. We are using all of these on AllThingsUF.com
Automatically changes ever Amazon link on our site to use our affiliate code. Too bad there isn’t one for The Book Depository.
Lets commenters include a link to their latest post/tweet
Let’s you duplicate a widget. If you have different sidebars for different pages like our new theme does, it’s a huge time saver to only have to change one widget to update them all.
Post templates! Since Windows Live Writer is too limiting to use with our new site, I had to find a new way to implement templates for the post types we use regularly (reviews, giveaways). Love this one!
On Blogger, I had a widget that I updated with upcoming guests. I was planning on doing the same thing on WP until I found this. Whenever I book a guest, I make a new event page (with the template I configured that the plugin came with) that automatically creates a ‘Remind me with Google Calendar’ button and the featured image I set (the cover or tour graphic), and the widget automatically updates it. Plus it updates my Upcoming Guest page too!
Gravity Forms (premium)
Many thanks to Sophia (aka Fiction Vixen Book Reviews) for telling me about this one. It’s a form builder. Yes, there are a lot of form builder plugins, but not one of them is as feature rich as this one. And since we use several forms here (Request a Review, Guest Spot/Giveaway Request, Cover Art Submit) we needed something like this.
I wanted something that would display all our recent pins as thumbnails. This works perfectly (see below).
Adds various share buttons to the bottom of our posts and a static column on the side (left). Cool feature is that it shakes once when the reader gets to the bottom of the post. You can even monetize it if you want (we aren’t, but the option is available).
Adds a counter for various social networks including Facebook, Google+ (Beta Support), Twitter, Linked In (Beta Support), Youtube, Vimeo, and Feedburner (see the top of the sidebar). I’d love to find one that lets me include Goodreads friends and Pinterest follows, but this one works.
What other plugins are must haves for book bloggers? Leave us comments!