Online is Visual!
Being able to share your photos, previews, demos, product variations are critical to making a sale! Photo galleries and slideshows are commonly used to showcase products and events within a site or Blog.
Back in the day what would cost literally thousands of dollars to integrate or create in Flash for a static HTML website, now only requires installation of a plugin and your time to learn how to use it.
As easy as it is to install a plugin, we don't want to add unnecessary bloat to your site and slow it down. That's called negative impact to your SEO and user experience! Speed and quality coding is also what separates many plugins.
Slideshow Tips and Considerations
First, let's get the bases covered when it comes to the images you will use on your site. Images seem to be one of the things that many site owners struggle with. They have folders of graphics on their computers that they want to use. But they are all different sizes. Many times too small for their website.
You want to make sure your graphics are the right size and orientation to look good in your theme. And, consistency is key! Investigate the sizes your theme uses and then use images that are that exact size.
Same goes for your gallery / slider -- you want all the photos to be the exact same size and orientation for the best results!
Also think about the order that you are adding the images to your gallery. Try and put them in a logical order that tells a story or will make sense to the viewer.
Images will generally be horizontal, sometimes square, when used within your theme's display. Vertical orientation is generally only for images that you embed within a page or post. (If you have a bunch of vertical images, create a slider just for your vertical images.) The key point is to create all your images to be the size and orientation required by your theme so you have a consistent layout.
You liked the demo because of how it looked, right? To create that look means you use the recommended image sizes at all times to gain the same effect! Then carry that consistency through to your sliders and galleries.
Outside of the homepage hero (main) top of page image, you probably will not need images larger than 1100 pixels on your site. Did you know that most camera or smart phone images are thousands of pixels in size? No need to upload images larger than required. Determine the best size for your gallery based on where it will display and use image sizes to fit that real estate.
Why use resources unnecessarily and slow down your site? Especially considering speed is so important! Google has stated they want to see sites load in less than 2-3 seconds! Yeah, crazy, I know!
After resizing your images to fit your gallery and to be no larger than necessary, install the Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin. The Smush plugin will resize, optimize, and compress all of your images for you.
Okay, now you have all your images resized and "smushed". Now you need a feature-rich optimized slider plugin.
My Choice: Soliloquy Slider
Soliloquy Slider (<=Aff) is my go-to slider plugin and what I use. The Soliloquy plugin is highly optimized for web and server performance because speed is important when it comes to SEO and conversion. Every slider query is optimized on the front-end and the back-end to ensure maximum speed. Let's face it, you need to squeeze every bit of speed you can out of your site and the plugins you use are the one of the primary factors!
Once the plugin is installed, look at where you will display your gallery. If your gallery photos only need be 500 pixels, use images that size and set the slider to that size as well. Go through all the settings tabs to become familiar with the options available and so you can set them as you desire.
Soliloquy has an easy to use drag-n-drop slider builder interface. Another plus is the Soliloquy slider is 100% responsive and mobile-friendly by default. There are a bunch of pre-made slider templates to enhance the look of your WordPress slider too. On top of the slider themes, you can use custom CSS to customize everything about your WordPress slider.
Features are dependent on which package you choose. Packages range from $19 - $249 and can include:
Yep! PDF, Instagram and Pinterest sliders too!
I tend to gravitate toward premium plugins primarily because a) they are better coded and bugs are addresses faster and b) support levels are dramatically better. That's not to say there are not some great free gallery plugins out there. There are -- and I've used those as well. But none have the entire package like Solioquy. This could be the only slider plugin you'll ever need.
At your service,
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are "affiliate links" -- marked (<=Aff). I may receive a small commission -- at no cost to you -- if you purchase or signup for services I recommend and use on my own sites. You can read my full Affiliate Disclosure Statement here.