When you see a site that contains animations, sliders, and fancy widgets you might wonder how you could do the same. Utilizing these features can require a bit of experience and knowledge or even the help of a developer. However there are some resources that are fairly easy to use and dramatically change the look and feel of your site. Add beautiful sliders anywhere on your WordPress blog and it will give it a more professional look in minutes.
Let’s see how you can easily create sliders for your WordPress site.
Enhancing your visitors’ experience by adding animation
Animation is a great way to create movement and to get away from the static feel of flat pages. And let’s be honest, some of them look really cool. Take the image slider for example: a few beautiful images rotating on the cover page of your blog or website changes everything. They are eye catchy, grab the visitors’ attention, and also, add a professional touch to your site. It’s all about your audience and you want to do all that you possibly can to make your visitors come back and spend time on your site.
Different uses of image sliders
Your audience is demanding and your visitors have choices as far as whose blogs or websites they will spend time on. Making a great “first impression” is always a big plus, that’s why sliders are often used on the top of the front page, full width. But that’s not the only way they can be utilized. Here are a few examples and ideas:
- On the front page in a header section and boxed (not full width)
- On any page and anywhere on that page to display a selection of images
- On a blog post, also to display a selection of images
- In a widget you can display category images or blog posts images. With hyperlinks on the images you could get your visitors to click and redirect them to other part of your site.
- On a sidebar to rotate smaller images, maybe images with text messages on them
Carefully choose your image slider plugin
With so many plugins available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming and it might be difficult to make a decision. It is always a balance between getting the plugin that will do what you want to accomplish, without facing too many difficulties, and at a cost that is reasonable.
Here is a list of things to consider when choosing the one that is best for you:
- Check the demo site and look at the various features.
- Visit the developer’s site and see if you can find documentation.
- Does the documentation look easy enough? (Note: there are image slider plugins that are fantastic as far as what you can do with them, however they are definitely geared towards advance WordPress users).
- Most of them have a free version – compare the free and premium options.
- Read the reviews on WordPress.org to see what other users have experienced.
Cyclone Slider 2: an easy to use plugin for beginners.
Cyclone is a great WordPress image slider plugin for beginners. I’ve found that it is very easy to use, the free version offers plenty of options, and you can insert it anywhere on your site with a shortcode. It doesn’t get any easier.
15 easy steps to create a beautiful image slider with Cyclone slider 2
- Log in you WordPress dashboard and select PLUGINS.
- Click on ADD NEW
- In Search Plugins, enter Cyclone slider.
- Select Cyclone Slider 2 and click INSTALL NOW, then ACTIVATE.
- Find the CYCLONE SLIDER in your menu on the left and click on ADD SLIDESHOW.
- Click on ADD SLIDE.
- Select an image from your media library (note: you should first download into your media library the images you would like to use in your slideshow, all with the same dimensions).
- Add Caption and link if you’d like.
- Add more slides to your liking.
- Under TEMPLATE, choose an option to your liking.
- On the right side under BASIC SETTINGS, adjust them the way you want. What’s important is that the WIDTH and the HEIGHT be of the same ratio as your images. For example, if your images are 1000 by 400, and you’d like the slider to go on your front page, then the width and height should be set to 1000 and 400. If your slider is to be inserted in a post and you’d like the final slider’s width to be 500 for example, then you should set the width and height to 500 and 200.
- Leave the other options as is for now and click on PUBLISH.
- You will see the slideshow preview in the top right corner
- Under GET SLIDER CODES, copy the shortcode and insert it in your widget, post, etc. to display the slider.
- Then come back and make adjustments with templates and settings to see how it changes the display of your slider.
For a shortcode inserted in a blog post like in the example above, you will get the following result.
Enhance your site with a beautiful slider
Adding a slider increases the visual appeal of your site. Depending on your needs you may add more than one slider, but as everything else, keep in mind that often “less is best”. Not overdoing it will make your site stand out even more.
Please leave a comment and share your experience.