WordPress slider is almost a default feature in WordPress themes nowadays with almost all themes featuring slider for the homepage. In addition, there are several WordPress slider plugins that let you create responsive WordPress slider. Each plugin claims to provide the best WordPress slider solution, however, there are just a few plugins which you can really count on.
Among all, Smart Slider 3 is truly a smart choice for creating smart and beautiful WordPress sliders. First, the plugin is available for FREE download at WordPress.org. You can use it for free. Second, it has wide-ranging popularity (100,000+ active installs and 5/5 rating). You can trust it.
In addition, the plugin integrates well with almost all the themes, both free and premium themes. If you want to build a website using free tools, Smart Slider 3 plugin with the free version of Flash theme provide the best option. So, here’s the full tutorial on how to use Smart Slider 3 inside Flash theme.
Flash Theme: a quick overview
Tested the free version of Flash theme and learned that it is simple, elegant and powerful free WordPress theme. What I love about this theme are the samples it comes with. The templates look gorgeous, clean and modern and as it turned out, they can be imported. The importing process is well documented by the theme creators. This means I could follow the instructions without any problems.
I’ve tried all features of Flash to write this article, and it soon became my favorite multipurpose WordPress theme. That’s right, Flash is suitable for all kinds of websites, let them be blogs or business sites. Flash is easy to configure and has many features which are beneficial for your site. For instance, I liked the ability to change the logo and menu position with a single click.
Of course, there are many more adjustments you can make, to make your site look just like you want it to. You can change all the colors to your own or use a preset. For bloggers, it’s important to have an appealing blog page, and Flash offers multiple different layouts for this.
The theme uses the latest WordPress technologies which means you can customize it using the Customizer. There are a couple of color schemes which you can further edit after you have selected them. Today’s websites use wide layouts, where the site content reaches both sides of the browser.
Of course, Flash has this feature and it also offers a boxed layout which is easy to select. But this isn’t the end, Flash has much more features. It’s so well coded that it works wonderfully with any plugin, which is useful to extend your site’s features. For instance, to run a webshop, you can install an e-commerce plugin which will work fine with Flash.
Default slider of Flash
To get the most out of Flash theme you’ll need to install a plugin called Flash Toolkit. Flash Toolkit plugin has a slider widget called ‘FT: Slider‘, which is very simple and easy to use.
You can add unlimited image slides, which can have a title, description and a button with the link. Basically, you can create really simple sliders, which might satisfy some people, but not everyone. If you would like to have more control over the slides’ content or their look, you need another slider plugin.
Smart Slider 3 can be a great alternative to Flash Toolkit’s slider. It’s powerful yet it’s as easy to use as the default slider. It helps you create beautiful and complex sliders, and you can customize everything. The best part is that Smart Slider 3 is free, just like Flash theme. Also, its available in the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Meet Smart Slider 3
As its name suggests, Smart Slider 3 is a free WordPress slider plugin, which is as easy to use as Flash. The plugin has a very intuitive and clean interface, which you can learn to use fast. It’s a quite popular slider which can be a great free alternative of many premium sliders, but Smart Slider 3 is so much more than just your average image slider, however, it flawlessly does this simple job. It has layers, drag-drop slide building, stunning effects and dynamic slide generators.
Smart Slider 3 also supports creating video sliders. In its free version, you can display videos from YouTube and Vimeo. You can add an unlimited number of video layers to your slides and sliders, which is handy. There are lots of configuration options for both layers, for instance, to autoplay or loop the video. Oh, and you can autoplay the whole slider as well. This means your slides will change without any user action.
Reasons to use Smart Slider 3 in your Flash theme
There are many reasons to use Smart Slider 3 on your site. Here’s a list of the most notable features you have in Smart Slider 3 but not in Flash’s default slider:
- 6 Different layers to show your content (heading, text, button, image, YouTube, and Vimeo
- You can customize every inch of these layers separately, such as changing their color, font family or size
- You can save your style preset (containing your font size, family and color settings) for later use
- Drag-drop slide editor, which lets you create any kind of layout
- There are stunning background animations to choose from
- Ready to use sliders which you can import with one click. Also, you can duplicate your slider and change the content if you prefer similar layouts.
- Amazing responsive behavior
- Ability to edit your slider for mobile, tablet and desktop
Build your own content using layers
You can add many different layers to create your stunning and unique content. Smart Slider 3 has 6 different layers which have their own settings and you can customize them all. For example, you can change the font color and family of the heading and text layers or set a background color. If you build your content in favor of SEO, use heading layers. You can change the heading tag from h1 to h6 to create a structured content.
If you would like to display videos for your visitors, Smart Slider 3 has those tools as well. You can use YouTube and Vimeo layers to show videos from these video sharing sites. Each layer has its own settings too, for instance, autoplay or loop the video.
There is no limitation on how many videos you can put on a single slide or slider. If you just want to show another static image, you can use the image layer.
Dynamic Post Generator for your blog
Smart Slider 3 has a great feature which can create slides from your posts. You only need to set it up once, and it will keep showing your latest blog posts. To show you how powerful this feature is we’ve created a stunning, responsive post slider for you. Of course, you can build it without the generator if you prefer that.
The slider is a simple, but gorgeous full-width slider, which uses the post’s featured image as the slide background. Every slide has a centered small box for the content, which contains the date and author of the post. The box also displays the post title (with a link on it) and a short description. This short description encourages the visitor to read the actual post. The slider has an eye-catching background animation as well.
Ready to use sliders
Smart Slider 3 makes it easy for anyone to create a slider without touching a single line of code. However, for a stunning result, you might need to have a designer’s eye. To help you with this, we’ve created tons of ready to use samples, which you can import with one click. After this, all you need to do is change the texts and images, and your slider is ready.
Beside the full slider examples, we have a Slide Library which contains slides only. You can choose slides from many categories, such as header, content or media. All categories belong to a single theme kit, which means the fonts, colors, and shapes are in harmony. Currently, there is only one theme kit, but we’re working on other, brand-new theme kits.
Installing Smart Slider 3 and creating your first slider
Using Smart Slider 3 with Flash is quite easy. The first thing you need to do is to install Smart Slider 3. It’s available at WordPress’s Plugin Directory, so let’s head to your WordPress site’s admin area and locate the Plugins menu. Moving your mouse on this menu, you’ll see a drop-down on the right side. Select “Add new” then type “Smart Slider 3” to the Search plugins field at the top right.
To create or import your first Smart Slider 3 slider, head to the plugin’s dashboard. You’ll notice a new menu at your WordPress menu row for Smart Slider 3. Click on it and it will take you to the slider’s dashboard. Here, there are two main actions you can do: create a new slider and import a sample.
Let’s just ‘create a new slider’ by hitting the big green New slider button. A popup shows where you can set your slider’s size. You can leave this on default, or change it to your liking. You can see the full tutorial on how to build this slider or other nice samples in the video below.
Publish your Smart Slider 3 slider to your Flash theme
Once the slider is ready, let’s head to your site’s frontend. At the WordPress admin bar, there is a Live editor button which you’ll need to click on. This opens the live editor of Site Origin’s page builder, so you can actually see the changes you make. The very first widget of this page is ThemeGrill’s slider.
Right click on the widget and type “Smart Slider 3” to the Search widget field, just below the Add Widget Below. Select Smart Slider 3’s widget then click on the Smart Slider 3 text. You’ll see a popup appearing where you can select your slider.
The last thing you’ll need to do is to remove the other slider. Right-click on the “FT: Slider” widget and select Delete Widget. The slider now appears on your site and it will look really great there. Of course, you can use Smart Slider 3 in any other ThemeGrill themes, it will work just as good as in Flash.
Flash is a magnificent free WordPress theme which is suitable for anyone. It’s modern, responsive, and most importantly free, yet it offers many possibilities to create a stunning website out of the box. Integrating Smart Slider 3 plugin further enhances the beauty of the design the theme provides and also adds power to it.
As discussed above, Flash plays along nicely with Smart Slider 3. So, You can publish your impressive sliders quickly thanks to the way Flash integrates with this plugin. No doubts, these free tools can help you create an outstanding website due to their high variety of features. Of course, if you need more features they also have premium versions.
Ramona Nemeth-Csoka is a member of Nextend’s awesome support team. She loves to help people who use Smart Slider 3 and Nextend’s other products. When she doesn’t answer support emails she reads a book or goes cycling.
(This is a guest contribution. Edited by Sunita Rai).