5 WordPress Plugins You Absolutely Need in 2010

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WordPress is one of the most powerful CMS platforms for bloggers.  Even out of the box, it contains a ton of functionality and can meet a lot of users demands.  However, eventually you’ll want to add some plugins to meet your personal blogging demands.

Whether you are starting a new WordPress blog or  already have one, either way this post should be very helpful in finding some great plugins to help make your WordPress blog function better and faster, as well as improve usability and user experience.

Let us know what you think of these plugins, and if you have any of your own to recommend, drop a link in the comments!

1.  Lightbox Plus

Lightbox Plus is a great tool for displaying any of your pictures within your blog in a Lightbox.  You get about 15 different styles to choose from, and 2 different transitions.  You can also change the opacity of the overlay that is applied behind your lightbox.

Not only can you use the lightbox for individual images in your blog but you can also have slideshows, and galleries (Must use WP Gallery plugin).  Visit the plugin’s site.

Lightbox Plus a WordPress plugin

Lightbox Plus a WordPress plugin

2. cforms

Ever want to have a form on your site for contact, or any other reason?   Hate plugin forms that have no versatility?  With cforms it is simple and easy to style and create multiple  Ajax driven contact forms throughout your blog or even on the same page.  cforms will then Email you with the end-user’s inputted data.

cforms has a place to edit CSS and also an API for building dynamic forms. You can basically do anything you want with it, if you know enough!   If you are looking for a form choose cforms, don’t even bother with the rest.  View the plugin’s site.

cforms plugin

3.  WP to top

So lets say you have 5 blog posts on your homepage and an end-user has to scroll a mile to get to the bottom of your webpage, now he/she remembers something towards the top of your homepage that they wanted to read. Are you really going to make them go through the hassle of scrolling all the way back up?  You don’t need to anymore.  With WP to top you can place a “Back to top” button that when clicked will automatically scroll the user back to the top of the page.

This plugin doesn’t have too many options but if you know any CSS you will be able to find the styles and do what you need to do to make it your own.  This is a great tool to keep people on your site instead of getting frustrated with scrolling and leaving.  Visit the plugin’s site.

WP to top Screenshot

4. Fixed Social buttons

Fixed Social buttons is a great WordPress plugin to hook in a place for users to submit a post they like to their favorite social sites.  You can select from a variety of social sites to submit the posting or page to.  This plugin also seems to be updated quite regularly. Fixed Social buttons has these options:

  • Choose between 3 button styles.
  • Show button on top or bottom.
  • You can also hide some buttons.
  • Open social bookmarks links in a new or in the same window
  • Set with « rel=’nofollow’ » attribute or not on social bookmarks
  • You can show buttons in horizontal or vertical axe.

Also the plugin has the following social buttons for use:

  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn

and more…..

Check out this great plugin.  Choose between 3 button styles, show button on top or bottom. You can also hide some buttons. Open social bookmarks links in a new or in the same window along with « rel=’nofollow’ » attribute or not on social bookmarks.  Also, you can show buttons in horizontal or vertical axis.  Visit the plugin’s site.

Fixed Social button

5. WP Super Cache or W3TotalCache

Are you noticing that your users drop from your site because of long load times?  Did you under pay for a host and now you’re paying for it from loss of visitors because of slow connections?  Do not fret, WP Super Cache will solve all your problems.  This is a very fast caching plugin for WordPress that can triple your load speeds.  There is tons of information on what it does and how it works on the authors site.  So check it out.  Visit the plugin’s site.

An alternative option here, depending on your blog setup, is W3TotalCache.  W3TotalCache offers a variety of different options that allows you to customize the setup if you’re on a dedicated server or use a content delivery network: W3TotalCache

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