Do you want to make sure your fresh content isn’t overlooked by website visitors? If so, you may have tried showcasing a singular post or a grid of articles at the top of your homepage. However, both of these approaches have their downsides, which is why a featured slider can come in handy.
With a featured slider, you’re able to instantly grab a user’s attention (something that can be difficult with a busy grid). Plus, you won’t have to cherry pick the most “important” posts to be featured, since you can create a dynamic carousel of content instead.
What is a featured slider in WordPress?
When it comes to WordPress web design, there are a few different types of sliders. So, you may be wondering what exactly a “featured slider” is.
In essence, it’s a slider that displays dynamic (usually recent) content like news articles, blog posts, or even magazine features:
Typically, you can click through a featured slider’s content using arrows. This type of slider is achieved by combining slider and “post feed” functionalities.
Unfortunately though, most WordPress themes don’t come with a featured slider option, nor does WordPress offer any type of core featured slider functionality.
It’s also important to note that a featured slider is different from a regular slider. That’s because traditional sliders showcase images or videos, whereas a featured slider dynamically pulls in featured posts.
What are the benefits of using a featured slider?
There are tons of benefits to implementing a featured slider in your web design. First of all, when it comes to blogging, one of the main issues that site owners run into is a cluttered homepage:
Whether you run a news site or a recipe blog, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm your reader. A featured slider can provide a straightforward, visually appealing alternative.
What’s more, if you want to make sure that all of your most important articles are getting their fair share of attention, a slider is the ideal solution. This way, you won’t have to choose just one “top story” to showcase.
Furthermore, a featured slider essentially enables content-focused sites to implement something that’s similar to a hero image. That’s because most featured slider tools let you choose an image to accompany your content.
⌛ All in all, featured sliders are a win-win. They can elevate your web design and improve the user experience (UX).
Four best WordPress featured slider plugins
There are lots of excellent WordPress slider plugins out there. However, many focus on images or videos. So, we’re going to share four excellent slider plugins that offer the featured slider functionality, which is specifically for displaying content. Let’s dive right in!
1. Smart Slider
First up, we have Smart Slider.
Not only is Smart Slider one of the most popular WordPress slider plugins, but it’s also one of the few all-purpose slider plugins to let you create a featured post slider for free.
You can easily control the design, content, and timing of your sliders using Smart Slider’s visual builder.
With the free version, you can create featured sliders by pulling in regular posts, including choosing specific posts or using category and/or tag filters.
If you need more flexibility, the premium version also adds support for creating featured sliders from custom post types, including WooCommerce products.
You can use the free version to create a featured slider of regular WordPress posts. To add support for custom post types and other advanced features, the premium version starts at $49.
If you want to create a featured slider, Soliloquy is another excellent tool for the job:
While its free version doesn’t offer this feature, investing in the premium tool may be worth it. With the right Soliloquy premium plan you’ll get the dynamic “external slider” functionality.
That means you’ll be able to create a featured content slider in just a few steps. Then, you can customize your slider how you see fit. For example, you can choose the number of posts displayed, include an accompanying featured image, and more.
Plus, anything you build using Soliloquy is responsive by default. Therefore, all your slider designs will look great on all mobile devices.
To get the featured slider functionality, you’ll need at least a Soliloquy Developer plan, which costs $89 per year.
Next up, let’s take a look at MetaSlider. This is one of the most popular slider plugins on the market, and for good reason:
When you get a premium version of the tool, you’ll be able to use any type of content in your sliders. In particular, its “Post Feed Slider” option allows you to create highly customizable featured sliders.
Moreover, with MetaSlider, you’ll be able to make all your slider designs using an intuitive slider builder. The tool is also compatible with WordPress blocks. Plus, anything you create with it will be responsive and optimized for peak performance.
You can sign up for a MetaSlider plan for as little as $39.50 per year. All plans include the Post Feed Slider feature.
Rounding out our list is Master Slider:
This premium WordPress plugin allows you to create elegant and highly customizable featured sliders.
Similar to the other tools on this list, all Master Slider designs will be responsive out of the box. Furthermore, you’ll be able to add lots of dynamic content to your featured sliders, such as the post title and author, its published date, and much more.
In order to create a featured slider with Master Slider, you’ll need the WordPress Pro Edition plan, which costs $34.
Create your first featured slider today 🚀
If you run a news site or a blog, you might be looking for a way to reduce clutter on your homepage while still showcasing important posts. However, post grids and “top stories” might not be what you’re looking for.
Fortunately, you can use a featured slider to create a practical yet visually appealing experience for your users. While WordPress doesn’t offer this functionality by default, you can easily get it when using a premium plugin such as Soliloquy or MetaSlider, as well as free plugins like Smart Slider.
Do you have any questions about how to add a featured slider in WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!