Even as WordPress core becomes more functional and dynamic with every new release, plugins—the modular bits of code users can harness to add functionality to their sites—remain one of the platform’s most popular draws.
With more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins to choose from in the Plugin Repository and thousands of premium (paid) plugins from other providers, the overall ecosystem of available plugins is expansive, and it’s only getting larger.
Plugins have given WordPress users a huge amount of freedom when it comes to adding to their sites and making them more dynamic. There are also numerous use cases for plugins, including eCommerce, security, and marketing to name a few. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the top plugins out there for adding media elements to your site, which can enrich the overall user experience of your site and keep visitors there longer. Take a look below for some of our favorites.
Images are a great way to supplement your content, but videos can be even more dynamic. An engaging video can pull in more viewers and keep them on your site longer. That said, the native media hub in WordPress may not format your videos the way you want. That’s where plugins come in. See below for a few of the most popular video plugins out there. With these plugins installed, you’ll be able to display your own videos or pull them in from somewhere else with ease.
Cloudflare Stream Video
The Cloudflare Stream plugin for WordPress gives site owners full control over their video strategy, allowing users to easily integrate video into their WordPress sites. The plugin is block-native, meaning it works well with the new WordPress post editor and it offers additional features such as multiple playback options, per-minute pricing, adaptive bitrate streaming, and video storage, among many others.
Youtube Embed Plugin
One of the easiest ways to upload and view videos online is through YouTube. Once you upload your content, use the YouTube Embed Plugin to add it to your site. This plugin allows you to add an entire YouTube playlist right onto your site, or opt for a video gallery. You can choose to enable automatic play or let users scroll through the playlist. The plugin also creates custom thumbnails so you don’t have to.
Upon downloading the plugin, you’ll see a special button for YouTube right next to “Add Media” on your admin controls, making it incredibly easy to pull in the videos you want. If the channel is your own, add a Subscribe button below the video gallery and boost your numbers.
WP Video Lightbox
WP Video Lightbox allows you to display videos in a different way. When a user starts to play a video, it will pop out and make the screen behind the player dark. This makes it easier to view the video without the distractions of the post or ads behind it. The plugin works with YouTube or Vimeo and it’s very easy to embed.
If you don’t have a lot of video content, the plugin can also be used to create a lightbox for photographs and other images. It’s also a great plugin for infographics and diagrams.
Audio Player Plugins
Embedding audio files on your WordPress site can be challenging if you don’t have the right plugin or knowledge of code. For one reason or another, you might run into a situation where an audio file is required on your site. Here are a few plugins you can use to enable audio player functionality on your WordPress site.
Compact WP Audio Player
Compact WP Audio Player uses an HTML5 + Flash hybrid to embed mp3 audio files on your site. Fully responsive and compatible with all web browsers, you can easily add a compact audio player to any page or post on your site with a shortcode. The plugin is compact as stated in its name, with only one customization feature (located in Settings >> SC Audio Player) that determines whether or not front-end users are able to play multiple audio files at once.
Html5 Audio Player
Html5 Audio Player is an audio plugin that offers a bit more functionality. Using this plugin, you can play .mp3, .wav, or .ogg audio files on your WordPress site(s). There’s also the option to add a rating, artist, and title information, as well as a cover image.
Graph and Chart Plugins
Turning extensive amounts of data into a chart will make it more digestible at first glance. While charts can be used for presentations and PowerPoints, how many times do you see one in a blog post? Not nearly enough. A common misconception is that charts are difficult to create on a website. But this simply isn’t true—there are numerous plugins that can do the job quite nicely. You might even end up finding it easier than building a chart in Excel.
Visualizer: Tables and Charts Manager for WordPress
The Visualizer: Tables and Charts Manager for WordPress (Lite) plugin is a simple, easy to use, and powerful plugin that lets you create, manage, and embed interactive charts and tables within your WordPress posts and pages. The plugin uses Google Visualization API, DataTables.net, and ChartJS to add responsive and animated charts and diagrams, which support cross-browser compatibility (adopting VML for older IE versions) and cross-platform portability to new iOS and Android releases.
Want to find out more about all the available WordPress plugin options out there? Check out our Ultimate Guide to WordPress Plugins, which offers a deep-dive into the options available to you in the WordPress plugin repository as well as paid plugins. And visit WP Engine to find out more about our Digital Experience Platform for WordPress and the ways we’re helping customers manage their WordPress plugins.