We’ve all seen a quality slider when shopping online, but what is it that makes sliders appealing? To start with, a great slider is responsive and works well on just about any tablet or smartphone. Other must-have features include:
- Smooth animated effects
- Parallax layers
- Quick image uploading
- Stylish fonts and buttons
Some of these features help site owners, while others create an appealing visual experience for site visitors. Not all of these features are necessary on every site, but they’re all worthy of consideration.
Are you currently using a slider on your website? If not, you’re in luck, because we’ve compiled a list of the best slider plugins for WordPress. A few are premium and a few are free – but each one of these has what it takes to make visitors to your site say “wow.” Let’s have a look.
1. Nivo Slider
Nivo Slider is a premium plugin with almost all of the functionality you’ll need to create some incredible effects. While this plugin is a little pricier than others (starting at $39 for a single site license), it could be well worth the investment. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to create sliders and add them to your site using shortcodes.
This plugin has numerous transition effects on hand for you to showcase your imagery, enabling you to display stunning visuals that will enchant visitors. In addition, you can easily control which images to display by taking advantage of a range of slider types, and the automatic image cropping feature will save you lots of time editing your slides.
Finally, Nivo Slider is purposely lightweight, which offers minimal impact to your page load times. It’s a great option for adding a slider to your website.
2. Slider Revolution
The Slider Revolution plugin is one of the most popular slider plugins on the market — and justifiably so (it’s even one of the two premium slider plugins included with Total). It provides stylish, full-width sliders that are extremely responsive. You can implement the slider on any website since it looks remarkable on any device.
The plugin also comes prepackaged with animation loops, ensuring that your customers aren’t left with a frozen slider if they linger on your homepage for a while.
Slider Revolution’s parallax layers are fantastic, and the timeline view slide editor displays an intuitive outline of how your images are going to show up on the slider. Besides all of that, the plugin provides a drag-and-drop editor that enables beginner webmasters to produce professional media sliders. It’s a slider plugin that’s packed with goodies, from multilingual support to full-screen YouTube and Vimeo video support.
This one is definitely premium. The Soliloquy slider plugin starts out at $19, but the pricing can go all the way up to $249, depending on how many sites you plan on using it for. If you can’t stand working with some of the free WordPress slider plugins because of their confusing interfaces, this option provides a reprieve. It’s responsive, and it gives you the power to quickly import and export previously created sliders, cutting down on time spent transferring to other sites.
The building interface is extremely easy to use as well, and it seems to never slow down or lag on the front end. One of the more unique features is the independent slider option for dropping individual sliders anywhere throughout your site.
4. Cyclone Slider 2
Cyclone Slider 2 – a free option – includes a drag and drop interface for even the most inexperienced designers. The responsive slide system works so that every independent slider is unique, pulling from templates and helping designers create something different every time. Transition effects are customizable for individual slides so that you can have a new animation for every slide in your sequence.
With the ability to display an unlimited number of sliders anywhere on your site, the Cyclone Slider 2 plugin offers a powerful free alternative to the premium slider options. I particularly enjoy that this plugin supports videos, testimonials and custom HTML, building on the fact that Cyclone is designed for ultimate customization.
The SlideDeck plugin has both free and premium versions, but I’ve found that the free option includes most of the tools that the average web designer uses. For example, the lite version offers responsive viewing on all devices. You can place both videos and images in the sliders, and the design process is rather intuitive, with easy insertion for posts and templates.
This is an affordable and simple slider if you plan on connecting to platforms like YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest.
The EasyRotator plugin serves as another free slider tool, and its primary advantage lies in its simplicity. Just upload a few videos or photos, click a few buttons and you can view a stylish slider on the front end of your site within seconds.
The plugin comes packaged with 45 flexible templates, making it easy for people at all levels of experience. And with mobile support plus SEO settings, a slider like this works well on any site.
7. Slider Pro
Slider Pro comes in at $29, but your money goes to good use. Elegant designs, quick creation tools and responsiveness are all included. You can connect the plugin to your Flickr account to automatically pull your content and serve it up on your website. Touch-swipe capabilities work well for users on iPads or tablets, and the animated layers help you grab user attention and bring them in to sell more products or push more content.
The LayerSlider plugin is $20 (and is the other premium slider packaged with Total)– but it doesn’t only offer sliders. You’re also able to add image galleries and slideshows, forging the ideal multimedia experience.
LayerSlider provides over 200 2D and 3D transitions, and you can build your own custom transitions with the slide editor. A powerful drag-and-drop editor comes with the plugin for seeing real-time previews, as well as importing, exporting and moving components in a timeline view.
You can even generate dynamic sliders that connect to your WordPress posts and pages. This enables you to send folks to your most enticing content without much work on your end. With over 13 skins to choose from, the opportunities for branding your website and making it look different from the other people who buy this plugin are endless.
Oh, and did I mention that the slider is SEO friendly? This gives you a step ahead of the competition, since not too many folks know how to optimize their sliders.
9. Easing Slider
The Easing Slider is another free slider plugin, with full responsiveness and bulk image uploading for placing a large amount of images into a single slider. This easy-to-use interface includes a visual editor for customizing some of the more basic styles. Actions and filters are packed into the plugin, and you can always expand the slider functionality with some of the many available extensions.
10. Smooth Slider
The developers of Smooth Slider claim that you can implement a stunning slider, with links to recent or featured posts, within just 50 seconds. That’s a tall task, but it seems to be completely true. The interface is rather simple to use, and there really aren’t many buttons or settings to wrap your head around. This is another one of the free slider plugin choices, and it’s fully responsive.
The slideshows you create are search engine optimized for bringing new people to your site, and the Settings panel provides full control over the way your sliders look on the front end. I particularly like that the free plugin comes with six transition effects, which is more than some of the less appealing premium slider plugins (we didn’t include any of those on this list).
The key to this plugin is that you don’t need any coding knowledge to make something look professional. Slides can be placed or removed in a single click — just go to the Sliders admin panel. It’s a neat option well worth checking out.
11. Smart Slider 3
Smart Slider 3 is an intuitive plugin that enables you to quickly build responsive slideshows, as well as include videos from both YouTube and Vimeo. Its easy-to-use editor enables you to work with multiple layers, build slides through a drag-and-drop interface, and preview content live before you publish it.
This plugin also includes a touch-friendly design, autoplay configurations, and multiple slider controls to change styles and positions. We definitely recommend that you check out the developers’ documentation, to learn more about what this plugin can do.
RoyalSlider is a premium image gallery and content slider tool that comes in multiple formats. The WordPress plugin is a fast, responsive, and touch-enabled for mobile devices. You can use it to quickly create high-quality galleries from your Instagram, Flickr, or 500px accounts.
Not only is this plugin SEO friendly, but it also enables you to use text, animated blocks, shortcodes, images, and videos. If you are unsure because of the price tag, we recommend that you take a look at the demos first. That way, you can see what the results will look like before you buy.
13. Responsive Slider by MotoPress
Responsive Slider by MotoPress is a user-friendly way to build gorgeous slides and implement animated effects. It features a drag-and-drop interface, so you never have to touch any code. Instead, you can use it to quickly build search engine optimized slideshows that work on any device.
This plugin offer three main types of sliders: Custom Sliders, Posts Sliders, and WooCommerce Sliders (for e-commerce sites). To learn more about its wide array of features, you can take a look at the developers’ documentation, or demo it for yourself. And be sure to checkout the premium MotoPress Slideshow plugin for more features.
MetaSlider offers a simple interface that enables you to create an SEO-optimized slideshow in seconds. You can easily drag and drop images from your WordPress media library to create a gallery, and then add captions, links, and SEO data – all from the same page.
In addition to being responsive and easy to use, MetaSlider also features multiple configuration options for speed and animation effects. If you are a developer, you may be particularly interested to know that this plugin is compatible with Multisite, and offers an extensive API you can work with.
15. Master Slider
Master Slider free plugin offers an extensive list of features. In addition to being SEO friendly, it has an easy-to-use interface, is responsive on any device, and enables you to create gorgeous slideshows with its drag-and-drop slider creator. This is one of the most robust slider plugins you can find for free.
What’s more, the premium version includes all of the free features (which are numerous) and a few extras, like a WooCommerce product slider with advanced filtering options, HD video backgrounds for slides, and deep linking to help with your SEO. It also includes real-time previews, so you know immediately if it is working with your content before you publish.
The Pro version starts at $24 for a regular license, and costs $60 for an extended license. We recommend that you start with the free plugin, and upgrade to the premium version later if you like what you see and want to expand.
The ideal slider displays what your company does and it grabs user attention to push them toward your most important content. You can link to your top blog posts or even send people to seasonal specials in your online store.
Whatever you use your slider for, take a look at the best WordPress sliders we’ve mentioned here and consider implementing one on your own site. Is one of these plugins your personal favorite? Did I miss your favorite plugin? I want to hear from you in the comments!