WordPress Slider Plugins

Sliders are great for visual-heavy sites like travel blogs and artist portfolios. They also work well to showcase top products or to display featured post previews near the top of your main page. Choosing a good slider plugin is essential because many of them can be code-heavy and slow down your site. Slow loading times are one of the main reasons visitors leave a website without giving it a chance, so don’t risk driving away your clientele with a slow site. 

What do most slider plugins have in common?

When you want to display several pieces of visual content at the top of your page, a slider helps you add images, videos, product photos and summaries, and other elements that slide from one side of the screen to the other. This allows you to put several posts, photos, or products “above the fold” of your page and give you a better chance of capturing a visitor’s attention. 

Once you install the plugin, you need to designate which elements go into the rotation and move across the screen. Each plugin may have a slightly different way of accomplishing this, but the basic operation is the same. 

Most sliders include these main features: 

  1. Allow website admins and editors to select which content to place in the rotation
  2. Choose how many elements to rotate through
  3. Choose how long each element remains before another one appears
  4. Choose the transition effects, length, and speed between components. 
  5. Determine whether or not user input (such as clicking arrows) allows a visitor to go forward or backward in the slideshow

What benefits or functionality do sliders add?

Sliders allow you to showcase your top content. Whether you choose to highlight your most recent photos, newest posts, latest product drops, a coupon or discount code, sale offers, a free gift, or anything else you want site visitors to know about, sliders help you make it happen. 

Here are three slider plugin examples with main feature highlights:

Drawbacks & things to watch out for when choosing a slider

Some slider plug-ins are code-heavy and will bog down your site with unnecessary scripts. Others may require complex coding knowledge to set up and use them properly. If you choose the wrong plugin for your site, it could reduce your loading speeds, crash the slider, or not function as intended. Make sure the slider plugin you choose is light, streamlined, and simple if you don’t want your site speed to suffer. 

Conclusion

WordPress slider plug-ins are a great way to add interest and highlight important content on your website. You can access some of them via a yearly subscription, and others with a one-time fee. To keep your site from being bogged down with excess scripts, make sure the plug-in you choose is light, streamlined, and as simple as possible while still fitting your needs. When it comes to plug-ins, bigger isn’t always better, so consider carefully before committing. 

Products

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MetaSlider

MetaSlider is the most popular slider plugin in the WordPress directory, with over 800,000 active installations, more than 600 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It offers four slider types (Flex, Responsive, Nivo, and Coin), each with unique transition effects. However, it has relatively limited features that may not make it the best option for building sliders on a professional site.

Pro licenses are available for yearly payments ranging from $39 to $149. These pro models are all-inclusive, providing you with features such as animations, layers, video slides, and WordPress post slides.

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Soliloquy

Soliloquy is a WordPress slider plugin that focuses on providing a user-friendly interface. It also utilizes asynchronous loading to ensure that your sliders don’t slow down your website.

This plugin is popular — its description in the WordPress directory boasts over 1.5 million downloads. Its free version also has nearly 1,000 reviews that give it an average rating of 4.67 out of 5 stars.

However, Soliloquy’s various pricing models are not all-inclusive, and certain staple features do not become available unless you purchase a license for multiple sites. These licenses are available for yearly purchases ranging from $17 to $89 or a one-time payment of $269 for unlimited sites.

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Smart Slider

Smart Slider 3 is a WordPress plugin that lets you build sliders, blocks, and pages for your website using a visual drag-and-drop editor. It has over 900 reviews that give it an average rating of 4.9 stars on WordPress.org.

This plugin has a generous free version that lets you build fully functional sliders. If you need more customizability to create your dream slider, there are all-inclusive pro versions that only require a one-time payment.

Smart Slider 3 aims to balance functionality and features with ease of use, and its slide library and many templates will let you build sliders efficiently.

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Slider Revolution

Slider Revolution is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create and design animated sliders, carousels, hero sections, and other visual content for your website without using any code. It focuses on advanced features that give you in-depth control over your sliders.

It is a popular plugin; as of 2019, over 2.5 million websites worldwide used Slider Revolution.

Slider Revolution does not have a free or trial version, but it is all-inclusive - all features are included no matter which version you buy, the only difference is the number of sites the plugin can be used on.

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RoyalSlider

RoyalSlider is a WordPress slider plugin that you can use to create customized slideshows for your website using CSS.

It is well-rated on CodeCanyon — out of over 2,200 reviews, this plugin holds an average of 4.64 out of 5 stars. It does not offer a free version, and there is only one payment option. It is all-inclusive and costs $24 per site. This plugin emphasizes performance and user experience by giving you access to edit the modular source code to suit your needs.

Developers who have CSS and JavaScript experience can use RoyalSlider to build attractive and fast-loading sliders.

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LayerSlider

LayerSlider is a WordPress slider plugin that you can use to build sliders, popups, hero sections, and pages for your website.

LayerSlider focuses on providing you with a wide range of options that let you design complex sliders using a visual drag-and-drop editor. It stands out from other slider plugins by dedicating several features specifically to popup creation.

This plugin is available to purchase starting at $25 for a single site, and it does not have a free version.