Top 5 WordPress Plugins 2010

One of the best things about WordPress is the flexibility to extend your site using plugins as your business grows and develops. With over 11 thousand plugins available it can be hard to pick out the good ones. So, here are 5 of my current favourite WordPress plugins for 2010, specifically for when you’re using WordPress to manage a full website and not just as a blogging platform.


WP-Cycle is a simple, lightweight image slideshow based on jQuery Cycle.  I mostly use it as a design feature to add a dynamic banner on site homepages. There are stacks of slideshow plugins out there, but I like WP-Cycle best because it doesn’t offer a million features, it just does the one thing really well.

Lock Out

An oldie, but a goodie. Lockout lets you put up a placeholder page whilst your site is under construction or performing maintenance.  It includes the ability to upload your own html file for use as a placeholder page while in lockout mode or you can just customize the default message.

nextGEN Gallery

A great plugin for managing and displaying interactive photo galleries. NextGEN has some neat features such as sortable albums, image upload via zip-file, auto-scale/resize, watermarking option, JavaScript or Flash image effects and built in slideshow. It’s also fully customizable with CSS. But the best thing about this plugin is that the admin interface is simple and intuitive, making it my top choice for client’s using WordPress as a CMS.


This plugin lets you sign up subscribers with a single or double opt-in subscription process, and provides a simple visual editor to compose and send newsletters to your mailing list. This is another plugin that I like for its simplicity. Ok yes, it doesn’t offer the features of a fully fledged email marketing service (for an advanced campaign I would recommend Campaign Monitor with the Contact Form 7 plugin addon), but it is a good, reliable tool for users who want to send out newsletters to a small number of subscribers.


Shopp is a feature-rich, fully customizable ecommerce plugin for WordPress.  It has all the features you’d expect from an ecommerce system (check out the full list here) and a massive plus is that the front-end is entirely customisable with CSS. It actually does live up to its word of being a developers dream.

In conclusion, it’s probably worth mentioning that there are a bunch of usefull plugins I like to install on new WordPress sites for clients that I consider part of the core functionality expectation for any website. These include Contact Form 7, Exclude Pages, All-In-One-SEO, Stats, Google XML Sitemap Generator, Flexible Lightbox, Akismet, and WP-DBManager.

Got a plugin worth mentioning? Let me know what you think of these plugins and any others you’d recommend.

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