Essential WordPress Plugins For Fashion Bloggers
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This post is written by Miss Elle of Broke and Beautiful

Oh, the wide world of open-source software…

It’s brought pleasure and pain to the lives of aspiring bloggers everywhere. The leader of the pack for bloggers-going-pro? WordPress, that magical publishing platform that allows full customization as well as a squeaky clean user interface that so many of us hold dear to our hearts.

WordPress understands our needs for a categorized dashboard, a clean color palette, and WYSIWYG, well, everything. As we are fashion bloggers, I’m pleased to note that WordPress also understands our need for unique style and a tailored fit, which is precisely why plugins are a fashion blogger’s best friend.

But which to choose? The WordPress Plugin Archive boasts over 4,000 plugins from users who know the software from the inside out. Well, take it from a girl whose plugin addiction runs rampant – I’ve already done the trial-and-error for you.

There are four major categories of plugins that I deem absolutely necessary: Monetization and Traffic Building, Readability, Relationships, and Back End. Regardless of how long your blog has or hasn’t been around – you need these.

Traffic Building & Monetization

You don’t really have much of a blog if people aren’t visiting it. In a similar vein, you’ll likely never “go pro” without monetization… So this category is fairly important.

LinkWithin
This little gem of a plugin is not only has easiest installation process I’ve ever seen, but the work it does is invaluable. After installation and activation, the plugin pulls three related posts from your archive and displays them at the bottom of each post, complete with a thumbnail image from each related post. The setup takes 30 seconds, and the results are top notch.

ShareThis
Displays a button that allows readers to share your post via social network, email, instant message, or text message.

Events Calendar
Allows you to build and display a calendar of upcoming sales, shopping events, etc. via sidebar widget, or its own page. Giving readers a credible, one-look summary of all the sample sales will keep them coming back. (Plus, the link out of the calendar could easily be your referring URL, earning you a few bucks of spending cash!)

Post Footer
A simple plugin that places an ad (of your choice) between your content and the comments on a single post page. The in-dash user interface allows you to skip the code-skimming to replace or change the ad.

WP-Affiliate
If you’re a regular user of affiliate programs, this plugin will definitely ease your mind. Along with integration of Commision Junction’s database, this plugin allows you to mask those crazy affiliate URLs by using your own URL to redirect the reader.

Readability

Even if you have the best content out there, your message won’t come across if your readability is off. These plugins not only keep things on the aesthetically pleasing side, but also offer major functionality. You can only improve your blog by installing them.

iMax Width
Fashion bloggers love a hi-res image. Prevent your layout from getting screwed up by oversized photos by setting a maximum image width.

Google Translate
One of the greatest things about fashion is its international appeal and influence. This plugin allows readers from all over the world to translate your site via Google.

Ajax Edit Comments
This plugin gives your readers the ability to go back and edit their comments within a certain window of time after they’ve posted, you specify the amount. This eliminates the need for “correction comments” by your readers, as well as gives your commentators control.

Exclude Pages from Navigation
Well, this plugin is pretty self explanitory. If you’ve got pages that definitely belong on your site, but don’t necessarily belong in the main navigation bar, this plugin provides a check box which, when unchecked, removes pages and child pages from the main navigation bar.

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Back End

These plugins aren’t pretty, and they don’t smell nice, but the work that they do on the inner workings of your blog is priceless.

Article Templates
If you’re like me, you have “columns” – or regular themes that you post on each week. This plugin allows you to store templates of these posts so you don’t need to format an empty post with your headers/footers/whatever when its time for your regularly scheduled feature.

Future Calendar
This plugin is especially good if you a) have your blog organized to the point where you only make x posts per day, or b) manage a multi-author blog. It allows you to see what days you have posts scheduled for from the edit post page. It’s also available as a widget to show your readers when they should expect to see posts.

Maintenance Mode
While it’s (hopefully) not a plugin you’ll use regularly, when it’s time to redesign your ever-changing layout, activating this plugin will put a simple “Under Construction” notice on the front page of your site, making it unavailable to everyone except for logged-in administrators.

Shortcut Macros
Is it super nerdy to have a favorite plugin? Well, regardless of the answer, this is mine. If you’re constantly adding the same code for the same links in different posts, you know it can be pretty annoying/time consuming/frustrating. Shortcut Macros allows you to use “codes” that are linked to text/HTML  (specified by you) to easily throw images, links, or text into your posts without having to enter the same 256 character HTML codes. For instance, “##ifb” could be a shortcut macro that, when inserted into a post as-is, would (when saved) populate the HTML code which would create this: Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Relationships

Building relationships could, quite possibly, be the most important part of becoming a succesful blogger. Forming and maintaining communicative relationships with your readers builds trust, credibility, and offers a more enjoyable experience for your readers – these plugins make building relationships a cinch.

Brian’s Threaded Comments
Brian and his threaded comments have really done a number for reader-blogger interaction. This plugin gives you the ability to respond to individual comments in a “nested” format.

WP Enhanced Form
Often times, when you invite readers to contact you, the site of an email address can ignite the laziness in some people – having to open up email programs, copy/click the link, format the email… When you just want to drop a note, it can seem a little time consuming to send an email. (Hey, I said for some people!) This plugin gives you a contact box that doesn’t require anything but your reader’s email address, their name, and their note.

CommentLuv
Bloggers love to comment to other bloggers – this is a fact. Why not show them some “luv” by using this plugin, which lists their last post (via RSS) as a link directly below their comment?

Comment Relish
This plugin sends off a customizable “Thanks for commenting!” email to each new reader who makes their first comment on your site. A great way to promote your RSS feed, an upcoming event, or a popular post.

WP Polls
I’m consistently baffled as to why WordPress doesn’t include this feature in their builds. WP Polls gives you an extremely user-friendly, effective system of polling your readers. No registration is needed – just a click. It’s particularly good for obtaining demographic information about your readers.

Obvious-but-Honorable Mentions

These plugins definitely get an A+ from me, but they’re pretty standard fare, and only being included for any newbies who might be out there reading.

WordPress.com Stats – Gives you a full-featured view of how many people are reading your site. Includes referring site, out-click, search terms, and which posts were most viewed.

Akismet – An excellent spam filter for comments. (Included in your installation of WordPress.)

Exec-PHP – Nearly idential to a regular text widget, installing this plugin will allow you to execute PHP commands from your sidebar and posts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that “21 Essential Plugins” is a bit of a stretch for the common blogger; however, I guarantee that once they’re all installed, configured and activated, you’ll be shocked at how smoothly your blog runs, and how much time you save. If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of configuring 20+ plugins, I urge you to go through your blog, find out what you’re missing from your perfection of a mental image, and return to this list to see if any of these plugins fit the bill. Don’t be afraid to search for a specific plugin if you don’t see one here, either. Some of the best plugins I’ve found have been discovered via my googling “WP plugin makes images all the same size and stuff”.

Do you have a favorite plugin that’s not featured here? What is it and why do you love it?

Photos by: yonderlove & Patrice Speed

Comments

  1. Ms. Elle, you could not have timed this post better! I almost started a thread about it this morning in the forums.

    You beautiful beautiful woman.

    There’s a good handful up there that I’m anxious to upload and get working on my blog.

    One of my favorites is WordPress Stats, though it starts my day at a very peculiar time. It really keeps the perfect amount of details & coordinates well with StatCounter.com in regards to providing accurate numbers & information.

    I enjoy the Amazon Showcase for featuring favorite pieces from the site.

    Ashe Mischief’s last blog post..OMG Shoes! Vegan Shoes by Cri de Coeur

  2. Kristen says:

    Thanks so much for this post, there is so much valuable information in it for newer bloggers, like me, who don’t have a very tech oriented background.

    Kristen’s last blog post..Infatuation List: Top 5 May Flowers

  3. apricot tea. says:

    Amazing. Thank you so much for enlightening us. Seriously, this is a fantastic post!

  4. Avatar of Jennine Jacob
    Jennine says:

    holy moly, i have so many plugins to download now! thank god 2.7.1 has the add plugin feature, makes it so much easier!

  5. Jillian says:

    This is such a great compilation of resources -thank you!

  6. lisa says:

    I’m on Blogger, but holy smokes, this is great info for anyone on WordPress! Fantastic post Elle. :)

    lisa’s last blog post..The Midway Check-Up

  7. Fenke says:

    wonderful! many many thanks!
    so much things i was looking for. and jennine.. this add plugin feature.. does that mean i do not have to upload the plugins manually into “the system”? (i do not even know how you call that)

    Fenke’s last blog post..Guten Touch

  8. Avatar of Jennine Jacob
    Jennine says:

    ❤ fenke! yes! the add plugin feature is in the plugins menu on the dashboard sidebar… you just upload the zip file and it does the rest for you. genius i tell you genius…

  9. Claudia says:

    What a great post! There were some plugins on the list I had never heard of before – can’t wait to install them all :) Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!!

    Claudia’s last blog post..Buying Your First Home: Are you really ready? Part 1

  10. WendyB says:

    Awesome timing for me too! I’m working on WordPress now.

  11. Thank you sweetie,
    for this great overview!
    I just recognized that the google translate link is not working…
    So i just thought of another great plugin that is to find dead lins in your blog, very useful!

    http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

    this was recommended at pro blogger
    he wrote a whole post about this topic!

    I will spent the next hours to install a lot of new plug-ins, I guess!
    So many good ideas, thx again!

    Liv Lundelius’s last blog post..happy bed-day!

  12. Birdie says:

    HOLY SMOKES. I’ll take that one… and that one… and put this one in my cart too! haha

    Birdie’s last blog post..Bonne Vie gets the Awesome Seal of Approval

  13. Great Work! there are some key ones here I need to add to my list. Thank you.

    super kawaii mama’s last blog post..Everyday Glamour Girl Makeup

  14. Retro Chick says:

    Fantastic! There’s some great plug ins there that I’d not yet added!

    One that I’ve found really useful isCompetition Manager for running competitions and picking winners

    Retro Chick’s last blog post..Ethical Design Spotlight – Kristinit

  15. Lauren says:

    I may be being dumb…. but I don’t seem to have a plugins tab on my dashboard… and I tried to add plugins only to be told that wordpress doesn’t support external plugins…

    Any ideas?

    Lauren’s last blog post..How not to look good in a Bikini

  16. Miss Elle says:

    @ Lauren: Plugins only work for self-hosted wordpress sites, unfortunately wordpress.com sites don’t support external plugins. :(

    Miss Elle’s last blog post..Shoe Porn: Early Summer Edition

  17. Lauren says:

    I thought that was the case :( OK, so now to work out how to make my site self hosted…

    Lauren’s last blog post..How not to look good in a Bikini

  18. Casey says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m a bit of a WordPress plugins “collector”, and I’m excited to find a few I didn’t know about! lol. I am especially eager to download the comment edit plugin; I get a lot of “let me correct that!” type comments, and would love to make it easier for my readers to just edit their comments as needed.

    Also: since I see you listed the Maintenance Mode plugin, did you know about the Theme Test Drive plugin? It also very helpful for when you’re designing a new theme and getting prepared to switch things over. It allows you to “hide” the new theme you’re tweaking while still being able to view it “live” for yourself! I use it all the time… :)

    Thanks again for a great article!

    Casey’s last blog post..“girl next door” look

  19. Natanya says:

    Excellent post, I am so excited to try some of these. You mentioned a couple that I was not familiar with at all, so I will be busy updating this weekend! Also a must have, which I don’t see is, “All in one SEO pack” !

    Thanks again and considering how often wordpress plugins are created I think you could totally do a follw up post to this in 6 months or year!

    Natanya’s last blog post..Anna Wintour Clinging to Vogue

  20. julia d says:

    All I can say is wow! Thank you sooo much for writing this! I wish someone would have been able to guide me via a plug in suggestion article when I started my blog! Very helpful-thanks!

  21. eyeliah says:

    Great breakdown thanks, I really need to master my wordpess. It would help if I was even capable of adding plug ins! lol

    eyeliah’s last blog post..Post of the Day ~ Xsparkage

  22. Marcio Rocon says:

    News! Very good. Good luck with your blog …

  23. suzanne says:

    This is great information! I’m on Blogger, and really toyed with being on WordPress. I still might switch sometime. The only thing I really disliked about blogger in the beginning was that it seemed to not let me do a 3 column layout. Only 2. But there is always some great resource out there, if you have a a little HTML skill. SO I found a good piece of code I had to edit (css & html) that allowed me to change my blog to 3 columns.

    ps Love the new site!! Just finished updating my profile!!

    THANKS!!!

    suzanne’s last blog post..saturday morning sunshine

  24. Alicia says:

    I love you.

    Alicia’s last blog post..Perfection

  25. Is it just me who’s being silly and can’t work out how to use HTML codes on wordpress?
    Help?!

    Thank you xx

    Confessions of a Fashion Editor

    SaffiyaScarlett’s last blog post..Friday night beneath the stars…

  26. Anna says:

    Excellent list of plugins! You mentioned a few I had not heard of that would be very useful for my blog.

    Might I suggest a few SEO plugins that are, my opinion, an absolute must:
    All in One SEO Pack
    Google XML Sitemaps
    Redirection

    And if you monetize with Adsense, Google requires in their TOS that you must include a Privacy Policy page on your blog. This plugin automatically generate one for you:
    Privacy Policy

    Anna’s last blog post..Best and Worst Dressed at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards: Shawn Johnson

  27. hkShoeGeek says:

    Wow, how useful! The only thing that bugs me about wordpress is that you have to download an app to begin with, is that right? Blogger is grab-and-go, although many things about it annoy me to death… (does it crash anyone else’s Safari 10x a day?)

    Although, does LinkWithin seem to turn up exceedingly random posts for anyone else?

    hkShoeGeek’s last blog post..Fendi friends and family sale

  28. This is really a great article, especially for a newbie blogger like me! I use Google Blogger, how many of these app’s can be used for that?? Or has anyone any advice??xx

    Zoe’s Wardrobe’s last blog post..Day to Night

  29. diana says:

    There are so many plugins I need to add now. Thank you for the wonderful list!

  30. Meilily says:

    Fantastic post and great level of technical depth about plugins! Thanks!
    .-= Meilily´s last blog ..Fitness Shoe Skepticism: FitFlops & MBTs Glorified Platform Sandals & Sneakers? =-.

  31. jessica says:

    What a fantastic article!

    Thank you so much!

  32. This is a fantastic Post, thank you for sharing :)

  33. Butterfly says:

    This post is helpful beyond belief, thanks so much! I’ve taken some of these little tips :)
    .-= Butterfly´s last blog ..Glastonbury Fashion =-.

  34. Sophie says:

    Very nice list. Wow, I don’t use all of these & there are definitely some I’m going to try out. The article templates, shortcut macros and google translate are all plugins I plan to add this week.

    One thing I love about WP now is that installing new plugins is so simple now that you can do it all in one swoop inside your dashboard admin.

    Definitely add some SEO plugins to this list & I must say I really love the LinkWithin plugin! I just got an email the other day from them and found out that they will soon be updating the plugin to be more robust and offer more customizable features so that you can blend it even better with your own blog.

    Sophie
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Red Wine Dessert =-.

  35. Great tips, altough Linkwithin does not seem to work with WordPress…What can I do?! HELP!
    .-= Marcos Eduardo´s last blog ..MADONNA PARA LOUIS VUITTON: INVERNO 2010 =-.

  36. Bonjour!

    Concerning the LinkWithin widget, I’ve just tried to subscribe and here the answer: “wordpress.com does not support third-party widgets”.
    So please, let me know how did you add it on your wordpress blog?

    Thanks!

  37. Dawn says:

    This article is great! Helped a lot with the creation of my new blog on wordpress! Loved all the useful plugins and I especially love the LinkWithin plugin you recommended!
    Thanks!
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..B Kamins Eyelash Fortifier =-.

  38. Charles says:

    I really like the All In One SEO Pack (allows you to change page titles without changing the post title among other things), Auto Thickbox (which makes the built-in WP gallery work much more smoothly), Google XML Sitemaps (makes a sitemap especially designed for Google so you get all your pages indexed properly), pictPocket (a French plugin that tells you if people are hotlinking your images on their blog, stealing your pics and bandwidth, and lets you cut them off with a custom blocked image graphic), Simple Post Thumbnails (allows you to assign a custom thumbnail image to every post), WP Security Scan (does a quick check to make sure you don’t have your electronic fly open), and Twitter Tools (allows WordPress to automatically send out tweets when you post a new article). I keep worrying that, having so many plugins running, they’re going to start to cross wires and get in each others way, which I understand is a real problem. Hasn’t happened yet, though.
    .-= Charles´s last blog ..German Shoe Porn =-.

  39. Sophie says:

    Linkwithin works but you may have to make an adjustment to the footer based on what version of wordpress you are using.

    If the plugin doesn’t work “out of the box” so to speak try this:

    1. Go into you Admin area.
    2. Open up your footer.php file
    3. Paste right before the

    It should work now. I had the same problem as some of you have mentioned with it not working and these are the instructions I got and it works great now! I luv it!

    Oh and don’t forget to get one of the Analytics plugins out there as well so you can analyze your traffic and see what works in terms of SEO.

    Sophie
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Polka Dot Dresses =-.

  40. Sophie says:

    The comments section doesn’t appear to let me put code into it. So I will put a post up on my blog later tonight with the full instructions…real simple though.

    Sophie
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Polka Dot Dresses =-.

  41. WOW — thank you so much, this was super helpful! :)
    .-= Sasha H. Muradali´s last blog ..Brüno & the NOT so “Hot PR Twins” =-.

  42. wow just what i have been looking for ,some great plugins listed -thank you
    .-= cheap designer bags´s last blog ..- WINE COLOR BAGS =-.

  43. Thanks so much for this. Just a quick question is there such a thing as having too many plugins? I use All in One SEO (my SEO guy recommended it) but all the above sound like a good idea to add. What worries me is if I install too many whether it will affect my blog or SEO or anything in a bad way ….

    Great post by the way – thanks
    .-= Littlemisswedding´s last blog ..Bridal Blogs – some of the best on the net =-.

  44. Courtney says:

    Thanks for such a HUGE list of great plugins. Searching for the right ones is so time comsuming and advice out there is often conflicting. Thanks for this post’

    Courtney

  45. Charm says:

    Some very cool tips! Thank you!! I am getting Comment Relish :) show my readers a bit of love :P
    .-= Charm´s last blog ..Providing real value =-.

  46. Steff Metal says:

    Great plugins – thanks IFB!
    .-= Steff Metal´s last blog ..Linking Horn for 23 October, 2009 =-.

  47. AKfour seven says:

    I stand here today humbled by the task before dofus kamas, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our cheap dofus kamas. I thank President dofus power leveling for his service to buy dofus kamas, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

  48. Seo says:

    Nice article.
    Thanks,
    Seo Junkies
    .-= Seo´s last blog ..SEO Rankings in other countries =-.

  49. Allie says:

    Yes! Thank you so much for screening these! I’m installing half a dozen right now.
    .-= Allie´s last blog ..This week’s Links a la Mode =-.

  50. Bariton says:

    Thanks, article written ochentochno. In other words, and not say.

  51. Styletrend says:

    Thanks to the author for the answers to all questions. In fact, learned from the article many new and useful. That’s only until the end and did not understand some nuances.

  52. liongress says:

    Hello, very interesting post, I used Events Calendar and Akismet in my blog. I found an easier way to integrate gallery into my WordPress.Named GRAND Flash Album Gallery – multi category flash skin based photo gallery with powerful admin. I used it in my blog. There are so many different settings. You can adjust the color scheme for your blog as you wish. There are many different skins. You can present your photo gallery in a wonderful way, there is a full-screen mode. This is a very cool plugin.

  53. Great article – I’m off to start plugging-in!
    .-= Claire Fleetwood´s last blog ..Ankle Socks – only for the young and hip? =-.

  54. I love wordpress plugins. Thanks for the tips on where to find new ones. Do you know if they all work well together or if there are any technical issues?

  55. Rinaty says:

    An interesting opportunity to learn something new and useful

  56. Kim Mallory says:

    Thanks SO much for a great article! I’ve been downloading plug in’s for two days and I’m loving my blog again! You are amazing!

  57. fabgab says:

    This article is really very helpful. Thank you SO much!
    I just searched for the linkwithin plugin on wordpress though and it was not found. I tried link within (with a space) as well and it did not appear. Did the plugin recently change its name perhaps? I’m confused.

  58. it is really hard to build massive traffic on a website. you need to promote your website by blog commenting or PPC advertising”~:

  59. Great advice! They only problem is, for those of us who are just getting started, actuallly installing some of these plugins is a nightmare.

    Help!! I would love a more step by step guide on where exactly to find these plugins and how to install them!

    Best,
    Always Dressed

  60. ppc advertising is cost effective when you want to promote products online’,’

  61. Meghan says:

    Elle, such a fabulous article! thank you!!

  62. pintsizedinFluence says:

    Another great post on IFB. I heart this site. Thank you for sharing this info. I’m a newbie and truly appreciate it.

  63. superB article .. love it =)

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  65. 1 says:

    C:\Users\Talem\Desktop\SB Comments\SB Comments\SB comments – electronics.txt

  66. last fashion says:

    agree to the upstair

  67. imran says:

    You can use print media to determine which fashion trends are right for you
    http://www.buttfashion.blogspot.com/

  68. khan lala says:

    wao amazing topic……………..good tutorial…….thanks for sharing

  69. lesley kim says:

    thanks for sharing! i cant wait to try some of them =)

    http://www.lesley-kim.com

  70. Thank you very much, so helpful, but still witing for YOU to visit

    Visit our brand new fashion blog called ,,The Age of Charm” : http://theageofcharm.wordpress.com

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