Last updated - December 4, 2019
Ever since plugins became a mainstay on the global WordPress scene, blogging and content writing have become user-friendly and straightforward. Whether you develop and market your own WordPress plugins or work as a web developer for a third-party client, writers will typically require a specific type of plugin.
However, according to Hosting Tribunal, WordPress plugins account for 52% of security vulnerabilities due to poor coding and safety measures even though the latest counts suggest that there are over 55,000 plugins on the global WP market. Finding the best ways to improve WordPress plugins for writers should be a top priority for developers who aim to appease the eCommerce and content writing crowds. With that said, let’s take a look at what it takes to make your plugins more appealing and user-friendly for writers of all calibers.
Benefits of Writer-Centric WordPress Plugin Development
It’s worth noting why writer-centric plugin development is important for better customer reach and CMS integration. As we’ve previously stated, content writers, bloggers, and creatives, in general, require a specific set of features in their WordPress workspace.
Graphical user interface (GUI) elements are a must, for example, since they are less tech-savvy and more oriented toward content creation. With that in mind, the benefits writer-centric WordPress plugin development can bring you, as a developer, include the following:
- Customer-centric development process with clear implementation goals
- Larger user base due to accessibility
- Better monetization opportunities through ads and subscriptions
- Ability to optimize your plugin for WooCommerce and similar platforms
- High return on investment (ROI) due to your plugin’s flexibility
Ways to Improve your WordPress Plugins for Writers
Whether you already have written code available for further development or want to start from scratch, it’s important to place yourself in the shoes of your users. You can easily modify existing plugins to serve the writers’ needs or create an audience-specific plugin depending on your available resources
Explore Writing Trends
The first order of business in terms of deciding which direction to take with your plugin is to explore existing writing trends online. The best way to optimize your WordPress plugins for writers is to know exactly how their content creation process looks like, as well as how the final product is published.
In order to do that, you can check out any number of blogs, news outlets and popular site aggregates such as Forbes and Medium. Focus on nothing but the written text, articles and their formatting in your research. Platforms such as Grab My Essay and Evernote can also provide you with a good baseline in terms of UI writing standards and content editing features. Inform yourself about your customer and the release of your plugin will be better for it.
Rethink the UI
More than anything, your user interface (UI) should be intuitive, easy to understand at first glance and equipped with GUI elements. This will add a lot to the user experience (UX) factor of your WordPress plugin. UI focus should always be the page a writer is currently working on, with tools and pop-up menus serving as a secondary priority. Icons, pictograms and color-coding work wonders in terms of informing writers about the state of their current project.
While the UI should stay basic, functional and lightweight in terms of load-times, it shouldn’t be without its visual style or color palette. You can check out existing writing platforms such as Grammarly and Hemingway to get a better sense of what type of work environment writers expect from their tools. The popular Windows-based Office toolset is also a good indicator of how writing plugins should be created for WordPress writers.
The Learning Experience Matters
In order to attract as many new writers and bloggers at the start of their career, you need to ensure that your WordPress plugin is easy to learn. This effect can be achieved in several ways, including video tutorials, PDF how-to files or even in-plugin pop-ups and messages.
Grammar Checks are Essential
One of the most important additions to a writer-centric WordPress plugin is the ability to proofread and spellcheck text. Whether your plugin focuses on writing, legibility, formatting or translation, you need to make sure that grammar checks work as intended.
This is especially important if you want to attract content writers who focus on platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify with its plethora of product description requirements. Any writing plugin without a native grammar check will soon be forgotten by both casual and professional writers – make sure that it works as intended.
You can use a good online tool to check grammar to make sure your product descriptions look professional.
Make Publishing Straightforward
Your plugin can serve as a helpful addition to default WordPress writing UI or as a content creation tool in itself depending on your project goals. No matter the path you take however, it should be straightforward and simple to publish written content after it is created and proofread. The publishing buttons should be placed in an obvious UI space in the header or footer of the plugin’s workspace (again, depending on your design choices).
Once a writer is satisfied with their work, the publishing process should work without problems or additional pop-ups and/or editing requirements. While it may seem derivative to state the original idea at this point – every coding and design decision you make should take writing and text-editing habits into consideration.
Consider the Compatibility
Writers will typically look for WordPress writing plugins for specific content publishing and/or editing reasons. It’s logical then that your plugins should be compatible with as many WordPress-centric platforms as possible. Online shopping platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify and Big Commerce are a good choice in terms of compatibility optimization for your writing plugin.
It should also be noted that backward-compatibility can bring new customers since independent bloggers often rely on older WordPress versions or their free variants without worrying about up-to-date iterations. With that said, WordPress themes will respond differently to your writing plugin depending on its intended integration with any given website. Take all compatibility precautions into consideration before deciding to draw the proverbial line and publish your plugin.
Provide a Feedback Feature
Lastly, you should aim to provide additional support, bug fixes and expansions for your WordPress plugin. Doing so without a direct line of communication with your target audience is nigh impossible.
In order to do so correctly, you should implement a simple feedback survey into the plugin’s UI and allow users to quickly comment on their experience. Writers will often have crucial feedback, suggestions, and critique about your plugin – make it easy for them to get in touch with you.
Developing a writing plugin for WordPress is not unlike any other form of plugin development targeted at this CMS. It’s all about setting up your vision, exploring the market’s needs and making sure that your target demographic knows how to use the plugin correctly.
Give your plugin time to draw the audience through content marketing before you devote additional development resources to it. Once you publish your WordPress plugin for public use and distribution, the right set of writers and content creators will flock around it and stay as a loyal user.