New Site & Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Book Bloggers

June 1, 2012 News 16

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  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



Spam protection/blocker


Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer

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


Duplicate Widget

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.



Easy Content Templates

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!



Events Manager

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.



Pinterest Pinboard Widget

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).



Social Crowd

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!

16 Responses to “New Site & Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Book Bloggers”

    • Abigail

      I’m sure I’ll fiddle with it some more, but we were dying to dump blogger. It was long overdue 🙂

  1. Sandy Williams

    Love the new digs! And I hadn’t heard of a bunch of those plug-ins before. They sound useful.

    Hope everything continues to run smoothly!


    • Abigail

      Thanks, Sandy! A few bumps so far, but we haven’t lost any subscribers which was my big fear 🙂

    • Abigail

      Yep, we’re doing that now…although WP importer is only importing 1/4 of our old posts right now, so we’re troubleshooting 🙂

  2. Jacob

    Ugh. You messed up your news feed. I hate getting only a blurb on the feed, forcing me to visit the site to get the rest of the article. I really hope you rethink that change.

    • Abigail

      We hate that too. It should be fixed to show the full posts from now on. Thanks for letting us know you like the fully text in RSS.

  3. Leeanna

    Thanks for this useful post. I’m planning on doing a post like this too, since I’ve been digging through plugins lately. I was JUST looking for something like Easy Content Generator last night, too.

    Are you using anything for comments? I’ve been thinking about using Disqus, but I haven’t made a decision yet.

    • Abigail

      Templates are great, especially for multiple blogger sites. It keeps our posting consistent and is a HUGE time saver. We added comment luv, but other than that, we don’t see the need to add a 3rd party comment plugin. Is there a specific functionality that WP comments is lacking?

      • Leeanna

        Not that I can see, yet. I just see a lot of sites using Disqus, and I can see the advantage because those leaving comments can use their Twitter or FB or other accounts. Then anytime they comment at another site using Disqus, they get alerts if someone has replied to their comment at any site where they’ve left one. I hope that makes sense.

        But for right now I’m sticking with the default comment system.

        I set up all my standard posts with Easy Content Generator and I freaking love it. Every time I searched for templates, I was getting results for page templates and that sort of thing.

        One other plugin you might fight handy, that I saw mentioned on another blog is It shows your posts in a calendar instead of the WordPress list. It’s so handy for knowing when you have something scheduled and when you don’t.

        • Abigail

          Commenting with twitter or facebook would be a perk, but I’m content to keep the default commenting system too. I will look into that plugin you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Kristin @ My ParaHangover

    Awesome job, guys!!! I’m right behind you!!! You guys should really celebrate the great job you did designing it with the template you found ~ it looks great!!!

  5. Mariya

    So I wanted to ask…. You know how your posts are not fully on here when you’re on your homepage. LIke they are a thumbnail image and a summarry where it says read more, How do you do that. I think I know the plugin. It’s Blog activity shortcode, I think. Correct me if I”m wrong. BUt I don’t really understand on how to get it to work. It could be that your current theme came with the plugin. But I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know. 🙂