There are many elements you can incorporate into your website to boost user engagement and enhance your content’s delivery. However, an often overlooked element – the slider – is one that can have the greatest impact on design and functionality.
Sliders are portable slideshows that can perform many tasks (such as displaying your photography portfolio or showcasing business testimonials). When used correctly, you can create an engaging, interactive experience for your website’s visitors.
In this post, we’ll discuss what a slider is and why you should use it. We’ll then show you how to choose the best WordPress slider for your needs, as well as four awesome ways to use it on your site. Let’s get started!
What a Slider Is (And Why You Should Use One On Your Website)
A slider is an interactive slideshow that’s used on websites for a variety of tasks, and while they’re usually media-heavy, you’re not limited to simply cycling round a series of images or videos. What’s more, there are a number of benefits to using sliders. For example, they can:
- Break up your website’s content.
- Engage your website’s visitors.
- Enable you to deliver information in an easy, digestible way.
In a nutshell, the main job of a slider is to improve the way visitors interact with your content. This is true whether the content is visual (such as with images and videos) or not (including written content, such as testimonials).
How to Choose the Best WordPress Slider For Your Needs
Sliders aren’t all made equal, so deciding which one best for your needs is important. Each has its own unique features that make it suited for different purposes. Some of the more popular slider features include:
- Full-width slideshow support.
- Drag-and-drop reordering of your slides.
- Built-in widgets and shortcodes.
- Configuration options (such as transition and speed effects).
- Multimedia support (including videos, GIFs, HTML, and more).
The exact features will vary by slider. For example, Slider Revolution (which starts at $25) is known for its slide-to-slide transitions and plugin add-ons. This makes it a good choice for highly creative slideshows. Plus it’s bundled with many premium WordPress themes, including Total. Meta Slider (free & premium) is popular for its smart image cropping and the ability to embed Youtube videos into slides.
You’ll find that most sliders offer plenty of flexibility and power, although the right option depends on your needs and expected use. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the unique situations you may find a slider is ideal for.
4 Awesome Uses for a Powerful Slider Plugin
To give you some inspiration, this section will offer you four awesome uses for a powerful slider plugin. We’ll also give you some handy advice on how to implement each method optimally. Let’s dive in!
1. Display Visual Elements With An Image Slider
As the name suggests, an image slider displays a collection of still photographs. These sliders are great for easily displaying visual elements, such as a portfolio or travel album. While image sliders are a simple way to display your visual elements, take care to be sure you’re implementing them well:
- Use only high-resolution images. Simply put, the higher the resolution of your images, the greater the perception of quality. With that in mind, you can find many free stock images online.
- Optimize your images. With free tools such as TinyPNG, you can ensure your pages load quickly and your images take up little space on your server, all without affecting quality. You can also use this image optimization guide to further perfect your images.
You may think of image sliders as a boring and overused application. However, using high-quality, beautiful images will captivate your readers and bolster the experience they’ll have on your website.
2. Showcase Customer Testimonials With a Carousel Slider
A carousel slider is one that works on a loop. As testimonials tend to be brief, a carousel slider offers the best way to deliver these snippets of content to your website’s visitors. However, to do so most effectively, you’ll want to carry out these tips:
- Use a manual carousel. Not everyone reads at the same speed. As such, it’s best to let your visitors decide when to move to the next testimonial in the slider.
- Include prominent buttons. This makes it easy for your readers to move between each testimonial.
The best thing about a carousel slider is that it provides a perception of quantity. While you work on building up testimonials for your business, you can still proudly display the ones you do have, without adversely affecting your social proof.
3. Show Off Your Best Work With a Portfolio Slider
In a nutshell, a portfolio slider is one that enables you to show off your work. It’s built for the purposes of showcasing different media elements, which makes it ideal for highlighting the different aspects of your services. Of course, your main concern should be displaying only your very best work. However, there’s one other tip to consider:
- Incorporate links for non-visual content. Not all portfolio pieces will be visual (especially if you’re a writer or blogger). However, you can still use visual elements (such as screenshots of your work) within the slider, and incorporate links to the actual project. This increases the interactivity of your site.
Using a portfolio slider means there’s no limit to the work you can share with visitors. This is great for your business – especially if your media is multi-faceted – and it also adds a unique touch to your site.
4. Create Interactive Content With a Parallax Slider
The parallax effect is one where the background image seemingly moves in 3D. By employing this effect, you can offer depth to an otherwise static website, and create interactive and engaging content. Additionally, it will draw the attention of visitors, so it helps to engage them. If you’d like to create the most interactive experience for your visitors, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Choose your style. These include slider, scroll, mouse, and 3D. Each will have an impact on how your slider loads and is displayed, so getting it right is important.
- Select your image carefully. Images with negative space are ideal for avoiding clutter, as are images that scale well on smaller screens.
Of course, you don’t want your web page to be overwhelming for visitors. This means limiting your use of parallax sliders, and ideally sticking to one instance per page.
While sliders have their critics, there’s no doubt that they’re ideal for a number of different applications. With the addition of complex effects (such as parallax scrolling) and a seemingly endless array of applications (such as displaying your own work or business testimonials), the use of a slider can improve your website’s functionality significantly.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best WordPress slider for your site? What do you look for in a WordPress slider? Let us know in the comments section below!