by Tony Gamble
Take a look at your screen. Do you see that? It’s very subtle and can is only apparent over coloured areas, but it’s there. Lazily drifting down this webpage are a bunch of little white snowflakes. Okay, they’re miniature white dots which are meant to represent snowflakes, but festive nonetheless. I didn’t install a plugin. Well, not for this purpose, at least. It turns out that this neat little holiday egg comes courtesy of the Jetpack plugin from WordPress.com.
Users of a self-hosted WordPress website have a few advantages over WordPress.com folk. We have access to an ever-growing library of fantastic plugins to extend the capabilities of our sites. When building your site on WordPress.com, the only plugin at your disposal is the built-in Jetpack suite. For a few years now, Jetpack has also been offered as a freely downloadable plugin for self-hosted WordPress installs. It comes with over thirty incredibly useful widgets and administrative add-ons, such as the ability to simulcast to many social media sites when a post is published. And then there’s this little holiday treat of adding a snow animation to your website. By the way, it is set to automatically turn off after January 4th.
This is a pretty simple example of the snowfall animations available to use as a WordPress site owner. Take, for example, the lightweight WP Super Snow plugin. This little gem from WebSharks Inc. uses jQuery and CSS3 to produce smooth, graceful animations of recognizable snowflakes. There are a few simple options which you can modify to set the number of flakes, the size, transparency and such.
WP Screen Saver also produces a lovely snowfall but with the additional features common to your desktop computer’s screen saver. To prevent reader distraction, you can set a length of time to wait for the screensaver to activate. As soon as your user interacts with the website, the screensaver turns off. In addition to the snowfall animation, you have a choice of Particles Collision, 3D Cube, Animated Tree and more.
Do you have a favourite holiday plugin you like to treat your visitors to? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!