Your website may contain plenty of invaluable and insightful information. However, all of that will count for very little if the visual presentation doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It takes just milliseconds for a reader to form their first impression of your site. This is not nearly enough time to read all your content, but is ample time to click on the back button.
Fortunately, WordPress offers plenty of ways to maximize your website’s eye (and potentially ‘buy’) appeal. One such method is the WordPress parallax effect. What is a parallax effect? It’s a feature that makes background elements on a page scroll slower than foreground elements. This instantly adds a sense of richness, depth, and professionalism to your site, and makes it more enjoyable to scroll on any device.
In this article, we will answer the question: “What is a parallax effect, and how can it benefit my site?” We will also discuss how you can add this feature in WordPress using a parallax WordPress theme or plugin. Let’s begin!
What Is a Parallax Effect (And How Can It Benefit Your Site)?
What is a parallax effect? Essentially, ‘parallax’ is an effect that causes the direction or position of a given object to appear differently when viewed from various angles. For example, when you’re driving down a highway, signposts closer to the car may appear to rush by. On the other hand, distant hills may appear to drift slowly.
In a similar fashion, a WordPress parallax effect will cause the background and foreground elements to scroll at different rates. This effect can, if used correctly, give your pages a rich sense of depth. It is often best used on your landing page, to prominently showcase key information and sections. It’s also effective on portfolio pages, since you can use it to showcase your past projects professionally.
Wherever you use it, there are a number of ways a WordPress parallax effect can benefit your site:
- You can use it to increase engagement and better control the ‘course’ of a visitor’s attention (enabling you to prioritize CTAs or other important information)
- A parallax enables you to display more content on one page.
- Since a parallax effect helps you create a more stylish, interactive page, it can help reduce your site’s bounce rates.
- A site that uses a parallax effect tends to be more memorable than a site that doesn’t.
Of course, it should be noted that there are a few potential drawbacks to using a WordPress parallax effect. For example, implementing an image-heavy parallax effect can slow down the loading times of your site if you aren’t careful. However, choosing a quality hosting provider can mitigate this issue. 000webhost, for example, will enable you to significantly boost the speed of your WordPress site, by implementing HTTP/2, NGINX, and customized WordPress caching. That way, you won’t need to worry about the impact of your parallax effect.
Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a parallax effect?”, let’s cover some of the ways you can implement this effect on your website. We’ll start by talking about how to choose a parallax WordPress theme.
3 Stunning WordPress Parallax Themes
A WordPress theme determines the way that content is displayed on your site. If you want, you can easily find a dedicated parallax WordPress theme. What is a parallax WordPress theme? Most enable you to configure, edit, and reap the benefits of this feature with no coding required. The advantage of using a parallax theme, therefore, is that it saves you a great deal of time and hassle. All you need to do is install the theme and configure it.
We’ve handpicked three WordPress parallax themes that we feel are the best options out there. They are each visually attractive, responsive, and flexible enough to accommodate virtually any kind of website. Before you install a parallax WordPress theme, however, it’s a good idea to back up your WordPress site first (just as a precaution). After you’ve done that, you’re ready to go!
Allegiant is a neat, polished and versatile parallax WordPress theme that’s ideally suited to online stores or small business sites. It enables you to add parallax effects to header modules, or create a customized sliding module with multiple images. This is great for product showcases or portfolios. Allegiant’s parallax effect capabilities also make it ideal for building one-page sites (which is useful if you want to ride the wave of a growing design trend).
In addition to helping you boost the visual appeal of your products and services with the parallax effect, Allegiant can take much of the hassle and guesswork out of managing an e-commerce site. This theme offers complete WooCommerce integration, for example. That means you can encourage visitors to make a purchase by presenting your wares using the parallax effect, and then let them buy those items quickly and easily.
- Provides easy-to-configure parallax modules, with the option to use single or multiple images.
- Includes image slider modules, which are perfect for showcasing products, services, or any other standout facets of your business.
- Offers WooCommerce integration, enabling you to easily sell the products you promote on your site.
Pricing: The lite version of Allegiant is completely free. However, if you want to benefit from dedicated support and use your parallax WordPress theme on multiple sites, a number of Pro plans are available. These start from $59 per year.
This feature-heavy, well-supported parallax WordPress theme has garnered over a hundred five-star reviews, and for good reason. AccessPress Parallax enables you to add smooth, multi-layer parallax headers and sub-sections to any page with just a few clicks. Like Allegiant, this theme is well suited for business sites, where products and services, staff profiles, and testimonials need to be made prominent on the landing page. The pro version of the theme lets you add the parallax effect to pretty much any area of a page you wish, rather than restricting you to headers or set modules.
Additional perks of the AccessPress Parallax theme include its advanced post settings, which enable you to display or hide certain elements and enhance your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the process. You also have the option to integrate a Google Map with your site. You can then make this feature more prominent by placing it on a parallax backdrop.
- Includes multiple background design patterns and layouts to choose from.
- Enables you to upload your own logo, as well as customize your site’s layout, color schemes, headers, and fonts.
- Provides ready-made Call To Action (CTA) modules.
- Offers reliable, dedicated support (which is much lauded in the customer reviews).
Pricing: In addition to the free version of this parallax WordPress theme, a Pro plan is available for AccessPress Parallax, offering a score of advanced features. This includes the ability to create a parallax display for featured posts.
If you want to make graphics, icons and key information pop out in the foreground by adding a glazed, slower-scrolling backdrop, Parallax Frame is an excellent choice. This parallax WordPress theme makes it easy to build a gorgeous landing page (or one-page site for that matter) comprised of image sliders, portfolio/product galleries, blog thumbnails, and more. The visual appeal of each of these elements can be boosted dramatically by the theme’s parallax capabilities. You can set what images you want in the backdrop, for example, and adjust their opacity.
Parallax Frame makes the process of adding and customizing the images you want to use in your parallax effect as easy as selecting and uploading a file. What’s more, the theme contains a built in configuration for easily uploading and editing hero content (in other words, a post, video, or some other feature meant to encourage visitors to stay on your site longer). Hero content harmonizes perfectly with the parallax effect. After all, visitors will have extra encouragement to scroll through the content if it is presented in a stylistic, three-dimensional manner.
- Includes a wide array of adjustable layout, font, logo, link, and background options (all of which can be complemented with the parallax effect).
- Offers a customizable page slider.
- Provides custom CSS capabilities, which can let you add further tweaks to the way your parallax effect works.
Pricing: In addition to the free version of Parallax Frame, there is also a Pro plan available for $59. This parallax WordPress theme contains an array of additional features, including the ability to include image and page grids, custom widgets, and more.
3 Handy Parallax WordPress Plugins
At this point, we’ve answered the question “What is a parallax?”, and discussed some useful themes for adding this effect to your site. However, you may also wonder if you can add a parallax effect to your WordPress site without changing the theme. After all, you may like your current theme, and be unwilling to change it.
Fortunately, there are a number of WordPress parallax plugins available that present a fast, no-fuss way to achieve the parallax effect. What is a parallax plugin? These tools enable you to select the images you wish to include, adjust their size on the page, and customize the conditions that make the effect take place. In short, they can offer a great deal more flexibility than a parallax WordPress theme does.
To help you get started, we’ve selected three excellent WordPress parallax plugins. Each has a high user rating and reliable support, and is simple to get started with. Whatever the nature of your website, these plugins should enable you to add the parallax effect with relative ease.
This lightweight but extremely flexible plugin enables you to implement the parallax effect by way of shortcodes. Although this may seem a little daunting at first for those new to shortcodes, Parallax Image has the documentation and support required to render the process easy. In a nutshell, all you need to do is enter the shortcode text wherever you want the parallax image effect to appear on your page, and adjust the parameters accordingly.
The parameters of your parallax effect will include the image itself (a .jpeg or .png preceded by the image name), the height of the image, as well as the speed of the effect. All of these factors are simple to customize, so you can get your parallax effect looking just right. There are also options for adjusting the position of the parallax image. Plus, you can ensure that the images are responsive on mobile devices.
- Enables you to implement your parallax effect virtually wherever you want it to appear on the page.
- Gives you a lot of customization freedom when it comes to controlling image size, position, scroll speed, and z-indexing.
- Lets you adjust the size of the parallax effect image backdrop. This helps prevent it from hindering your site’s loading times.
- Offers a support forum for quick troubleshooting.
Pricing: Parallax Image is completely free.
Although not exclusively designed for adding WordPress parallax effects, Master Slider – Responsive Touch Slider can certainly get the job done. This plugin comes with a wide array of default starter templates for image and video sliders, which can be tweaked and added to any page or post on your site. The pro version of Master Slider features nine starter templates that include the parallax effect. One example is the Parallax Photography Slider, which has prefigured settings for showcasing flowing images against a static or slow-moving backdrop.
Master Slider also offers a lot of options for tweaking the effect to suit the requirements of your site. For example, you can configure whether you want the parallax to be triggered by mouse movement, the swiping of a page, or the standard scroll effect. You can also adjust the layer depth percentage (making the effect seem deeper or shallower). Finally, a handy test-drive and preview feature is included to help you get your unique parallax effect just right.
- Provides robust and intuitive settings, enabling you to tweak your site’s parallax effect until it’s perfect.
- Includes a variety of ready-made parallax effect templates to choose from.
- Enables you to save the settings of your parallax effect slider.
- Lets you easily adjust the speed of your parallax effect.
Pricing: The free version of Master Slider is fairly limited, containing no parallax templates. The Pro version is available at $24 for a regular license, and contains everything you’ll need to create a customized parallax effect.
3. Slider by WD
Slider by WD makes adding dynamic, mouse-hover parallax effects to your website a simple process. This plugin offers a lot of customization freedom when it comes to the positioning and layering of the effect, as well as the conditions that trigger it. The user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface means you don’t have to implement any code to get your parallax effect looking just right. However, there are options for further tweaking the effect with custom CSS if you want to experiment further.
Although Slider by WD lets you enable the parallax effect by toggling a single setting, the way that the effect operates (i.e, the way the objects within it move in response to the mouse) will depend on the z-indexing of the elements. This gives you a significant degree of freedom over sense of depth and motion the effect offers. However, it does require you to have a rudimentary understanding of z-indexing to take the effect beyond its default settings.
- Lets you create interactive parallax sliders, with layers that follow the trajectory of your mouse.
- Enables you to control the direction and speed of layers contained in the parallax effect.
- Offers default parallax sliders you can set up easily.
- Provides dedicated and reliable support, to help you get your effect just right.
Pricing: The free version of this plugin does not contain the parallax feature. However, by investing in the Pro version (starting from $30), you can implement this functionality and a score of additional slider and transition effects.
A well-designed website should harmonize outstanding aesthetics with carefully prioritized information. As we have seen, a WordPress parallax effect presents a simple but effective way of achieving both of these goals. Better still, you can add this effect to your site with a parallax WordPress theme or plugin.
By this point, we’ve answered the question: “What is a parallax effect and how can I use it in WordPress?” We’ve also discussed the answers to “What is a parallax theme?” and “What is a parallax plugin?” To recap, here are some of the best WordPress parallax themes and plugins available:
- Allegiant: Enabling you to quickly add smooth and effective parallax scrolling effects to your landing page, this theme makes it easy to help important elements pop out.
- AccessPress Parallax: This theme is extremely well supported, and the Pro version lets you add parallax effects to virtually any area of your site.
- Parallax Frame: With this theme, you can further emphasize your hero content with easy-to-configure parallax settings, and even combine image slider effects with parallax backdrops.
- Parallax Image: This free, dedicated parallax plugin lets you tweak the parameters of the effect (size, speed, image, etc.) using shortcodes.
- Master Slider: The premium version of this plugin offers ready-made parallax starter templates, and gives you near total freedom to customize the style, position and duration of the effect.
- Slider by WD: This plugin’s premium version lets you add a dynamic, mouse-hovering parallax effect, which is ideal for creating eye-catching page headers.
Are there any other themes or plugins you like to use when creating a WordPress parallax effect? Let us know in the comments section below!