Large homepage image sliders are certainly a key trend in WordPress design circles at the moment. If the theme you are currently using for your site, or the theme you’ve got your eye on for a future project, doesn’t feature one of these content slideshows, you can still add this functionality to your site.
Adding an Image Slider to a WordPress Site
While it might seem like a tricky task to incorporate a seemingly advanced features such as an image slider to an existing WordPress case, this isn’t the case at all. With some many plugins available that can deliver this functionality, the hardest part is actually picking the right one for your needs. Thankfully this guide has highlighted some of the best products on the market, including premium and free WordPress image slider plugins to help you make an informed decision.
Touchscreen Image Sliders
The image sliders featured in this article are all responsive in design. This means they will work just as well on large desktop screens, laptops and tablet and smartphone devices. Some of these WordPress image slider plugins are also compatible with touchscreen interfaces like those found on the iPad making them ideal for your readers who are on the go.
A number of the image slider plugins available also allow you to showcase other types of content including video and HTML which can be used to present include text, buttons and even sounds. While adding a large image slider to the homepage of a website is a popular choice, thanks to the settings of these plugins, you are not limited to this use as they can be made to fit into individual posts and pages only, using a shortcode, or by displaying them on sidebars as a widget.
With this plugin you can easily add attractive image sliders to your posts and pages. Once installed, you can set the default size for all of the sliders featured on your site and chose from the many image transition effects. You can then create the individual sliders for your site and it is at this point that you can override the default settings if you wish to personalise the sliders even further.
Adding a slider to a post or page is as simple as entering a shortcode and as the sliders can be any size, they are ideal for smaller slideshows on product pages on eCommerce WordPress sites.
With the WordPress 360º Image Slider plugin, you can add professional and attractive image slideshows to your site in a matter of minutes.
With this premium plugin installed, your WordPress site will now have a new shortcode. By typing [slider] into a post, any images added to that post will now be used as part of the image slider. Using the Slider Gallery shortcode plugin you can have multiple sliders on your website and even more than one in the same post, each with their own attributes such as size, transition effect and appearance.
While this plugin does require a bit of an understanding of shortcodes and how to add parameters to a shortcode, it is fairly straightforward to use once you’ve gotten the hang of it. However, other more visual-based slider builders might be suitable for those who want to get started faster and without the need to remember the shortcode options.
If you are using the popular Genesis framework then this free responsive slider plugin is just for you, otherwise look away now.
While the other plugins listed so far have been focused on creating image sliders, this one has been designed to display posts and their featured images, as well as an optional pager and directional arrow buttons. The Genesis Responsive Slider can be set to show posts from a specific category, or alternatively you can choose individual posts and pages to display in the slider.
Any slideshows created with this plugin are responsive and will resize to fit the screen they are being viewed on. As well as inserting this slider into posts and pages, it is also available as a widget for an easy drag and drop addition to a sidebar.
This is another free image slider but one that is open to use by anyone. vSlider is a jQuery based slider that allows you to easily showcase your portfolio or blog posts in an interesting way that is sure to improve the click through rate to your inner posts and pages.
When building your image sliders, you can choose to have the slider use the featured image from posts, the first image used in a post, or you can specify custom images to use on their own or in combination with images from posts. The plugin works with image caching as well for faster load times and there are four slide layouts to choose from along with nine transition effects.
There are lots of options for creating an image slider with this plugin so you can really customise the finished product. Amongst the options, you can set the size for each slider as well as the transition effect, the delay between automatically moving onto the next image and which fonts to use for the descriptive text. Once built, your image slider can be inserted into posts using a shortcode or added to the sidebar with a widget.
For a free plugin this has a lot features and is very easy to use so is well worth taking a closer look at.
While this plugin might cost a few dollars more than some of the other image sliders available, it more than makes up for it in terms of features. It can be used as an image slider as well as one that showcases videos, HTML content, full screen galleries, light box sliders and a slider that is displayed in a laptop image.
The Royal Slider is not only responsive in terms of its ability to resize to fit any screen dimensions, but it is also touch-friendly for use on touchscreen devices including Windows 8 IE 10 gestures. The content sliders can be added to your WordPress site using shortcodes, widgets or with PHP for adding them to theme template files. These three options mean you can pretty much put a slider of your choice anywhere on your site.
This plugin can also display images from Flickr and 500px accounts and it can be set to override the default in-post gallery in WordPress so that every time you create an image gallery it will use this slider. This setting is particularly useful to those running eCommerce sites as you can easily add an image gallery to showcase each product.
If your current theme doesn’t have content slider functionality then this premium plugin comes highly recommended.
This is a free plugin for adding slideshows to your WordPress site. You can create as many image sliders as you need and each one can be different with its own content and settings. The sliders you can create with this free WordPress plugin can contain images, video or text and the sliders themselves are fully responsive for use across many platforms and screen sizes.
As you can set the dimensions of each individual slider, they can show one image at a time or multiple pieces of content, depending on the width chosen. This kind of flexibility allows you to showcase your content in different ways, picking the most appropriate mode for you and your site.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, and there could be over 100 plugins of this type available for WordPress, you should now be familiar with a few popular options that can deliver a good amount of functionality either for a low price or no cost at all.