Your content should be presented as well as it is written. Whether it’s the articles you’ve painstakingly written and researched, work that you have commissioned from professional writers, or submissions from community contributors who have spent their free time creating useful and interesting content, it should always be presented to the reader in the best possible format. And, as good as your WordPress website is, and as cool as your theme looks, you might want an application that is going to allow you to show off your content in the best light and share/distribute it as simply as possible.
Now, one way around this issue is to simply configure your website as a magazine. With the right free WordPress magazine themes, you can get most of the way there. But what if you really want the website to show off your content, not your content to show off your website? A dedicated magazine plugin can put a high quality publication on your site that lets your users get the most out of the content that you have worked so hard to gather and curate.
Issuu.com not only does an outstanding job of displaying your documents, it makes it incredibly easy to share them with potential audiences. Simply upload your existing publications to their site and then you can display them as individual (embed-able) documents or on a bookshelf with all of your other documents available at a glance.
This plugin adds a taxonomy (so, in addition to “categories” and “tags”, you also have “series” as a taxonomy type) that allows you to link articles that are part of a series and display a listing of those articles as a widget or in the post itself as a meta box. They also offer an add-on that allows you to bulk publish posts that are part of a series. This plugin is particularly helpful if you are publishing a multi-part series or would like to display indexed documentation.
Magma is an application that makes it easier to manage the process of putting together digital and print publications by aiding collaboration between all of the relevant contributors. When combined with its plugin, though, you are not only able to coordinate article creation but also publish articles directly to your WordPress website.
WP jQuery Pager
This plugin turns a collection of images into a flipbook using your WordPress website. Just upload and order the images, then insert a shortcode into your page/post. JQuery PDF is especially intended for those situations where you have a .pdf document that you would like your users to read like a print publication.
An incredible service that stretches the definitions of blogging and publishing, Storify is a service that allows you to grab shared content from around the internet and include it in your blog post. Storify can turn even the humblest of bloggers into a publisher of instant magazines with attractive and engaging content provided by yourself and others from around the world.
(This video isn’t hugely informative, but I really liked the beat. Check out the rest of the videos on their Vimeo channel for more informative stuff.)
WP Publication Archive
Unlike some of the other plugins in this list, this plugin actually serves better as a really excellent distribution method than a content display. Once installed, it creates a custom admin menu tab and custom post type. You can simply upload a document (it accepts PDFs, Microsoft Office Documents, Images, and a host of other file types) and, with a short code, display those items in any post or page. If you have already created a magazine document, this is a handy way to make sure that your users can get their hands on it.
Maybe the most comprehensive solution available in the market, IssueM uses custom post types to turn your WordPress website into a publishing machine. For more on how it works, check out this demo or watch the instructional video they provide below:
Another great one stop shop, Pokret’s WordPress Issue Manager Plugin does an outstanding job of repurposing your WordPress website to serve as a magazine publishing platform. You can create issues, add articles to those issues, and then launch an issue as easily and as simply as you would publish any other WordPress post or page. Check out their demo to get an idea if it is for you.
Calameo is another excellent service that allows you to upload publications to their site and then share them across platforms. Their WordPress plugin helps you to go about easily embedding Calameo documents in your WordPress website. One of the most exciting of the features that Calameo offers is its specialized support for the iPhone and iPad, allowing your iOS users to also be able to effortlessly view your documents.
(I don’t actually speak Spanish, so this guy could be saying anything. Still, it looks like a good tutorial.)
The E-Paper plugin is designed to allow you to display FlipViewer Express documents (they turn PDFs into interactive 3D flippable documents) on your WordPress website. In addition to that basic function, the plugin also helps you to make your FlipViewer Express content easier to search and harder to rip off (they offer IP-based file protection of your data). To see a demo of the combined functions of E-Paper and FlipViewer, check out this demo site.
Okay, so these aren’t really plugins. What they are is applications that integrate really well with your WordPress site and offer cool new approaches to creating an online magazine. Really.
Scoop.it is an application that allows you to create a web page to share articles on topic you find interesting. It does that by combining clever curation tools that make it easy to gather content in one place with a reasonably wide range of sharing functionalities to let people know about your page. Although there is no dedicated plugin, you can easily embed your Scoop.it page on your website with an iframe they provide and allow your users to view a slider of articles on your Scoop.it page.
Pearltrees is allows you to organize and share what you are looking at on the web in a unique visual presentation. It works as a curation tool that allows you to direct your users to content that you think they should see, both your own and others’. I could describe it some more, but it is probably best to have you see what one looks like in action:
For more great WordPress plugins, check out our top 100 list of the best WordPress plugins available.