by Raelene Morey on May 7, 2018

How to Add a WordPress Slideshow to Your Website

When you’ve spent so much time creating a beautiful website, you want visitors to actually stick around and spend time interacting with your content, right? But in today’s busy world of instant gratification, you’ve got just 3 seconds to grab your site visitors’ attention.

This is why it’s so important to use design techniques that draw immediate attention to your most important information when a person lands on your website. One such technique is WordPress slideshows. Let’s take a look at how WordPress slideshows work and how you can easily add one to your website.

What is a WordPress Slideshow?

A WordPress slideshow is a design feature that allows you showcase images, video and other content more effectively in a confined space on your site. For example, you might use a slideshow on your homepage to promote products and holiday sales (if you run an eCommerce store), or a smaller slider on your “About” page to display customer or client testimonials.

Whether you want a simple image slideshow, a fullscreen video slideshow, or a stunning slideshow with a mix of photography and video for added visual impact, WordPress slideshows can be customized exactly how you like.

Smart Slider 3 is one of the most popular tools for creating slideshows for WordPress websites. It comes with tons of stunning preset designs, which you can customize to suit your own website’s style and branding. You can add text, headings, call-to-action buttons, video, and even pull in WordPress posts. There really is no limit to what you can do with a WordPress slideshow – the options are endless.

Why Use WordPress Slideshows?

Slideshows have become ubiquitous across the web – and for good reason. They are simple to set up, can be customized however you like, and allow you to showcase your most important content more effectively in a small space.

Designers love them for their flexibility, making it easy to tell a compelling story through slides, using text, images, video, and other creative design elements. Done right, WordPress slideshows can add visual punch to any website.

Here are just a few ways you can WordPress slideshows to better showcase your content.

1. Highlighting New Content

Large amounts of content on a web page can be overwhelming for people who are visiting your site for the first time. But with WordPress slideshows, you can display your content into more management chunks, allowing visitors to more easily understand your key messages.

Take Microsoft, for example, which uses a slider at the top of its homepage to showcase it’s latest products. Sliders are great for showcasing an ever-changing lineup of new and popular products, especially because they’re easy to update.

Microsoft slider

2. Photo Galleries

WordPress slideshows are perfect for photo galleries. Whether you have two images or 10, a slideshow enables you to display all of your images in sequence. It’s a great way to let site visitors scroll through images in their own time. Alternatively, you can enable autoplay so your images automatically change slides without user intervention.

Check out how National Geographic uses slideshows as part of its site feed to display photographed submitted from around the world, in this case, the Arctic.

National Geographic slider

3. Online portfolios

Because WordPress slideshows are suited to showcasing visual content, they are oft used by creatives, photographers, designers and artists to display work in their online portfolios. In this instance, slideshows allow potential clients to easily scroll through a person’s visual work.

4. Ecommerce

Slideshows are ideal for showcasing products in an online store, whether you want to highlight new product lines, sale items, or holiday specials. But what’s really great about WordPress slideshows is that they allow customers on smaller devices like mobile phones to easily scroll through mobile content.

For example, Friend of Franki, a WooCommerce site, display high-resolution images of its clothing throughout the desktop version of its site. But when you switch to a tablet of mobile devices, the images are displayed as WordPress slideshows.

Friend of Franki slider on desktop
Friend of Franki slider on desktop

5. Testimonials

Sliders aren’t just for images and videos – they’re a great visual device for communicating words, too. A hugely popular use of WordPress slideshows is for displaying client and customer testimonials. Using a slideshow, you can display multiple testimonials in a section of your homepage or any other page on your site. Plus, with autoplay enabled, slideshows provide an eye-catching way to draw a potential client or customer’s eye to your social proof.

Here, Help Scout uses a slideshow to show off positive testimonials and hopefully catch the eye of potential customers.

Helpscout testimonial

How to Add WordPress Slideshows to Your Website

The easiest way to add a WordPress slideshow to your site is with Smart Slider 3. With over 200,000 active installs and 419 glowing 5-star reviews, it’s one of the most popular slider plugins for WordPress.

To get started creating your WordPress slideshow, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress site and click Plugins in the admin sidebar. At the top of the page, click “Add New” and search the plugin directory for “Smart Slider 3.”
  2. Click Install Now and then activate the plugin.
  3. Once installed and activated, you’ll see a new menu item appear in the sidebar. Click “Smart Slider.”

You should see the Smart Slider 3 dashboard, which looks like this:

Smart Slider 3 dashboard

If you have a vision for your slideshow, it’s easy to create one from scratch. Alternatively, you can import a pre-designed WordPress slideshow, which you can customize to suit your website.

To build a new slider, click the green New Slider and upload a new image to get started. For more help on how to create a WordPress slideshow, this tutorial walks you through all the steps you need to know to create a beautiful slideshow.

Smart Slider 3 Icon
Bring Your Ideas to Life
Powerful. Visual. Intuitive. Smart Slider 3 is the most advanced slider and block creation tool for WordPress and Joomla.

Customizing a Pre-Built WordPress Slideshow

If customizing an existing WordPress slideshow is more up your alley, click on Template Library, where you can choose from a collection of 100+ pre-designed slideshows.

Smart Slider 3 example sliders

Have a scroll through the designs and choose the one that best reflects what you need for your site – some designs are best-suited to headers, while others are perfect for showcasing blog posts or products.

Hover over the design you like and click Import to automatically import it to your site. Once imported, click the slide you want to edit and the content editor will load.

There are tons of customizable settings so you can control everything from headings and text to images, transition effect, call-to-action buttons and more. You can access all of these settings in the sidebar to the left of the content editor.

Smart Slider 3 slide editor

When you click on a block of text – or any other element of your slide – a modal will appear where you can control everything from fonts and sizes to colors, letter-spacing and even animations. There are so many options to play with.

Smart Slider 3 editing text

Once you’ve edited your slide to suit your website, click Save in the top-right of the page. And if you want to add or edit your existing WordPress slideshow, it’s super easy. From the dashboard for your slideshow, you can drag-and-drop to rearrange slides, duplicate slides with one click, and remove any you no longer need. If you want, you can even mix it up with video slides and WordPress posts.

There are so many options to choose from. Plus, once you get started experimenting with animations and transitions, the possibilities are endless!

Ready to Create Your Own Stunning WordPress Slideshow?

With so many beautiful options, there is a slideshow design for everyone. Ready to create your own? With Smart Slider 3, you can get started creating beautiful WordPress slideshows for yourself. Checking out these stunning slideshow examples and download Smart Slider 3 for free to get started.

Raelene Morey

About Author

Raelene Morey is the Chief Bird at Words By Birds , an agency that helps WordPress businesses make better content. Computer science grad turned newspaper journalist and ex-managing editor at WPMU DEV. Raelene has been developing WordPress sites for over 10 years.