Finding a WordPress plugin to do pretty much anything you can dream up is easy. Finding the best WordPress blog plugin to suit your needs as a lifestyle blogger is much harder. In this post, we’ll share our must-have WordPress plugins to help you manage your lifestyle blog, including our suggestions for content management, social media, site performance, and more.
Of course, every plugin you add has the potential to slow your site down, so you want to make sure you’re using the best of the best. Over the past decade, we’ve tested a lot of plugins. And we’ve seen what it takes to run a successful blog. These are our most essential WordPress plugins for bloggers. Many of these we’ve been using since the very beginning of our blogging journeys! Here's a quick guide to the types of plugins we'll be covering:
- Best Plugins for Content Management
- Best Plugins for Audience Building and Social Media
- Best Plugins for Analytics and SEO
- Best Plugins for Monetization
- Best Plugins for Site Improvements
- Best Plugins for Security and Performance
Best Plugins for Content Management
The Editorial Calendar plugin is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for bloggers. We’ve been using and recommending it for years! Whether you’re creating one or five blog posts per week, it’s important to know what you’re posting and when to provide the best content for your readers.
The Editorial Calendar plugin adds a Calendar page under the Posts section in the admin area that displays all of your posts in a calendar format, with unscheduled posts in the sidebar. From there, you can drag and drop your post drafts, and the plugin will update the scheduled publish date and time to match. This allows you to get a clear picture of what you’re posting, and when, to make sure your content is well-balanced.
As a blogger, your blog may be your primary platform, but you’re likely creating content for your social media platforms as well. CoSchedule is the best WordPress blog plugin to help you juggle it all. From the blog posting side, it’s an amped-up version of the Editorial Calendar plugin, allowing you to view all of your blog posts in a calendar format, with additional functionality like color-coding.
But where CoSchedule really shines is its social media scheduling. It allows you to not only schedule social media posts directly on your calendar, but also directly in your blog posts, in relation to the publish date. Need to reschedule a post? No problem, CoSchedule will reschedule your corresponding social media posts along with it. We also love the ReQueue feature, which helps you automate social media posts by cycling through a library you create.
Price: Starting at $30/month
WORDPRESS RELATED POSTS
If a reader makes it to the bottom of your post, a great way to keep them browsing your site is to suggest other posts they may like through a related posts feature. However, the number of options out there is overwhelming, making it difficult to know which one is the best WordPress plugin for lifestyle blogs. We recommend WordPress Related Posts because it’s easy to use, has a wide variety of design options, and can be styled to blend seamlessly with your site design.
Of course, we should also note that all of our premium WordPress themes here at EmPress have related posts functionality built in, no additional plugin needed!
The Redirection plugin is another one of the most essential WordPress plugins for bloggers. It helps with all kinds of redirection and has multiple uses.
First, it monitors updates to your permalinks and automatically creates a redirect from the old link to the new. This is particularly helpful when you optimize a post in your archives for keywords and need to update the permalink.
Second, it monitors 404 errors on your site and allows you to set up a redirect where appropriate.
Finally, this is a fashion blogger favorite plugin for setting up short URLs to redirect to popular products or site posts and pages for easy sharing on social media.
The Regenerate Thumbnails plugin is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs that are image-heavy, making it essential for lifestyle bloggers.
Every WordPress theme has its own image sizing, but WordPress only applies that sizing for images uploaded after the theme has been activated. This means that your older images will not fit properly in your new theme.
Regenerate Thumbnails will process your media library and resize all featured images to the new specifications so they look perfect in your new theme. Plus, it can remove old image sizing to reduce server space.
Best Plugins for Audience Building and Social Media
LINK IN PROFILE
When promoting your content on Instagram, you can’t add multiple links to your Instagram bio. This makes it difficult to direct readers to your latest content. We’ve solved this problem with our Link in Profile plugin. With Link in Profile, you can create an Instagram landing page on your site to house anything you’ve recently mentioned on Instagram, including an auto-updating latest post section, quick links, and even shopping links and widgets.
What makes our plugin unique is your Instagram landing page lives on your own website, at your web address. This helps increase your site traffic and makes it easy for readers to discover other content.
NEWSLETTER POP UP
Email marketing has become increasingly important for bloggers, as social media algorithms serve content to smaller percentages of followers. The most effective way to increase email signups is with a pop-up to capture the user’s attention.
There are countless plugins for pop ups, but most are built for businesses, not bloggers, and are disruptive to the user experience. Our Newsletter Pop Up plugin is built specifically for lifestyle bloggers and only pops up when your reader moves to exit your site — no annoying pop ups in the middle of your blog post!
It also has a simple, easy-to-customize design so you can get up and running quickly to start capturing more email addresses. It’s one of our essential WordPress plugins for bloggers looking to grow their email list.
jQUERY PIN IT BUTTON FOR IMAGES
The jQuery Pin It Button for Images plugin is one of the best WordPress plugins for lifestyle blogs because it’s an easy way to increase pinning from your blog. It’s a simple plugin that adds a Pin It button over all of your blog images on hover, making it easy for users to pin the exact image they love from your post.
You can also control where the Pin It buttons are added, and also upload a custom Pin It image. All of our premium WordPress themes include an image you can use with the jQuery Pin It Button for Images plugin!
Price: Free, with an optional Pro upgrade for $9.99
SMASH BALLOON SOCIAL PHOTO FEED
If you’re on Instagram, you know they are constantly making changes to their algorithm and API. That’s why Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed is the WordPress blog plugin we recommend for displaying your Instagram feed on your blog. They keep up with the changes and release updates quickly. They also provide a variety of customization options, no coding necessary. Plus, all of our premium WordPress themes are compatible with Smash Balloon!
Price: Free, with Pro license available starting at $49
While our premium WordPress themes include social sharing functionality built right in, if you don’t mind putting in some extra effort to optimize sharing, you’ll love the Social Warfare plugin.
Social Warfare provides a full suite of tools to give you full control over the sharing experience on your site, including setting the default image, title, and description for when your posts are shared on social media.
It also gives you the option to add a hidden pin image, for graphics that you may not want displayed on your site but are perfectly optimized for pinning.
Price: Free, with Pro add-on available for $29
Best Plugins for Analytics and SEO
Google Analytics is a must-have for any blogger, but their tracking code provides so many options and can be confusing to install properly. MonsterInsights is the most popular WordPress blog plugin for adding Google Analytics to WordPress, and with good reason. It simplifies the process of adding Google Analytics to your site, walking you through the entire process step by step. It also ensures that Google Analytics is always configured properly no matter how often you change themes.
Yoast SEO is the gold standard and best WordPress blog plugin for optimizing your site for search engines. It adds a full suite of tools to your WordPress admin area for editing SEO data across your site. We especially love the user-friendly SEO analysis it adds to posts and pages, tracking a checklist of ways to optimize your content. It also helps you easily verify your site and add necessary metadata to improve your content’s appearance on social media platforms.
Best Plugins for Monetization
SHOP THE POST
Our Shop the Post plugin is one of the best WordPress plugins for fashion bloggers to give readers more opportunities to shop your content. Compatible with LTK and ShopStyle affiliate widgets, Shop the Post inserts a featured widget of your choice on your blog’s home page and archival pages. This makes it easy for readers to shop your post before they even click through to the full post!
Our Boutiques plugin is a fashion blogger plugin that’s perfect for creating your WordPress Instagram shop. Compatible with LTK and ShopStyle affiliate widgets, Boutiques includes two page layouts that accommodate multiple affiliate boutique widgets in tabs, making it easy for your readers to shop by category. It also includes space for a highlighted Instagram shop widget and links to your favorite stores.
PUBLIC POST PREVIEW
One of lifestyle bloggers’ favorite WordPress plugins is Public Post Preview, a plugin that allows you to create a link to your post draft for public viewing, before you publish. This is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for bloggers who create sponsored content. It allows you to send a link of your sponsored post draft to the brand and/or agency for review prior to publishing.
INSERT HEADERS AND FOOTERS
Monetizing your fashion or lifestyle blog with affiliate or ad networks often requires installing a script on your site. For this, we recommend the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
It’s a simple, lightweight plugin that adds a page to your Settings where you can insert code in the header or footer of your site. We recommend using a plugin rather than editing your site code directly, as future theme updates may erase your code, and you’ll have to remember to re-install the code if you switch themes.
Bonus: If your ad network requires you to insert code on specific pages only, or you want the ability to save code but insert or remove from your site as needed, we recommend Header Footer Code Manager instead. Do not install both of these plugins at the same time!
Best Plugins for Site Improvements
Our Grid plugin is one of our most requested fashion blogger plugins. It’s perfect for creating an outfit archive of posts displayed in a grid format for easy browsing, filtered by season, occasion, or whatever subcategories you like! This makes it easy for you readers to find the inspiration they need for the current season or occasion. Pair it with our Shop the Post plugin to make your outfit archive shoppable with a shop the post hover feature.
While the WordPress editor has come a long way with the release of the block editor in version 5.0, we still think a good page builder can make quick work of building an interesting page layout. That’s why we consider Beaver Builder one of our must have WordPress plugins. We love that you can see exactly what your page will look like and drag and drop elements to rearrange. It’s perfect for creating a fun about page for your lifestyle blog.
Price: Free, with licensing starting at $99 for more features
SEEDPROD COMING SOON PAGE
One of the most exciting things about blogging is keeping your site design fresh. Maybe you’re updating widgets to display your best content, adding a new shopping feature with one of our fashion blogger plugins, or doing a total site refresh with one of our premium WordPress themes.
When you’re making a lot of changes, we recommend putting your site under maintenance mode, so your readers don’t see your work in progress. SeedProd Coming Soon Page is our favorite WordPress blog plugin for putting your site under maintenance mode.
The Pro version has a visual editor with a selection of templates to get you started, but the free version is quick and easy to use as well.
Price: Free, with Pro version starting at $37
As your lifestyle blog grows, your inbox count will, too, from partnership inquiries, reader questions, advice requests, and more. That’s why Ninja Forms is one of the best WordPress plugins for lifestyle blogs.
It’s a drag-and-drop form builder, making it easy to build a contact form that not only looks professional, but also helps you keep your inbox organized. It gives you control over the subject line that appears in your inbox for easy scanning.
Price: Free, with add-ons starting at $29
MAX MEGA MENU
Another one of lifestyle bloggers’ favorite WordPress plugins is Max Mega Menu, a plugin that helps lifestyle bloggers create navigation menus that help their content shine. It requires a bit more setup, but the result is a menu panel that allows readers to preview your most recent content and dive deeper into your content verticals. It even allows you to add widgets to your menus.
Price: Free, with a Pro version starting at $29
Best Plugins for Security and Performance
WordFence is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for bloggers for security and should be installed on your blog if your web host doesn’t already have their own security measures. WordFence blocks malicious traffic from accessing your site and monitors your site for malware. It also helps keep your login page more secure from bot attacks.
Price: Free, with Premium licensing starting at $99
WPS HIDE LOGIN
The WPS Hide Login is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs as a simple security measure. By default, the WordPress login page URL lives at /wp-login. Because this is widely known, hackers can easily access your login page. The WPS Hide Login allows you to customize the URL for your login page, making it harder for hackers to access.
Autoptimize is a simple WordPress blog plugin to help speed up your site. Basically, it optimizes all of your site code by combining files and making them as small as possible, so browsers can load them faster. Just be sure to purge the cache in the toolbar options when you make changes to your site, to ensure that the plugin is serving the latest files — otherwise it will look like your site wasn’t updated.
Antispam Bee is one of our top must have WordPress plugins for bloggers. It quietly and effectively blocks comment spam on your lifestyle blog, without sending personal information to third-party services. It includes a variety of options so you can decide how aggressive you want your spam filter to be.
What are your must have WordPress blog plugins?
We hope this has helped you find the perfect WordPress blog plugin for your needs. Of course, we recommend considering your own blogging needs before installing any plugin, and be sure to keep your plugins updated and cleaned out regularly, removing duplicates and anything you no longer need.
Did we miss one of your essential WordPress plugins for bloggers? Let us know in the comments below! And, don’t forget to shop our fashion blogger plugins to help you improve and monetize your blog.
Image credits: Caroline Feelgood, Brooke Cagle, Jess Bailey, Christina @wocintechchat, Stephen Phillips, Andrew Neel, via Unsplash