Blogging with VR: WordPress Plugins That Allow You to Integrate VR Into Your Website
A significant part of blogging or running a website is to keep it exciting to visitors. You want people to find your site fascinating, easy to use and overall, enjoyable. You could have the best content in the world. However, if your site is badly optimized, hard to use and slow to load, the chances are you won’t see a lot of returning traffic. Luckily, for all of us, WordPress exists, is 100 percent free, easy to use and has some of the best plugins available to keep your site fresh and exciting to users.
WordPress has well over 50,000 available plugins to choose from, so it’s not surprising that they keep up with the latest and greatest of tech trends and allow your site to do almost anything you could desire. One of the newest trends in website building is host VR (virtual reality) options on your site, and surprise, surprise, WordPress already has this covered.
It mainly comes in the form of 360-degree images and videos that have are viewable in stereoscopic formats (meaning the image is split into two to allow the 3D feeling when viewed through VR lenses).
What can you use VR for on your website?
VR is a potentially world-changing technology, although it’s worth noting that at this stage in its development, VR-inclusive 360-degree images and videos will mostly be a novelty on your website. A rare few may go to the trouble of strapping an HTC Vive or Google Cardboard to view your panorama image, but for those who do, you can display products or specific locations with excellent clarity with VR as well as show that you and your website are ahead of the curve.
You can use also VR to fantastic effect for marketing purposes when you want to display a specific product from multiple angles, or if you want to give a virtual tour of a fancy location, or a property you want to sell. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the fantastic offerings from WordPress developers that will allow you to freely host this cool tech on your website.
WP-VR-View – Add Photo Sphere, 360 Video to WordPress – By Tumanov Alexander
This one is the most popular VR plugin and will allow you to display Photo Sphere images and 360 videos on your WordPress site, meaning you can use your smartphone or the purpose-built Samsung Galaxy Gear camera to take a panorama image or video. Visitors to the site will be able to use their smartphones to navigate through your image or video in a realistic and immersive way.
Supported web platforms for this include Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, IE Edge and Firefox. Native platforms include iOS 8 and higher as well as Android 4.4 (KitKat) and higher.
There are other plugins to choose from that include much the same usage, such as MomentoPress for Momento360 and VR Views, that allow you to use and display Panorama images on your site easily. Algori 360 Video is a fantastic dedicated 360-video plugin, especially of use if you are only interested in displaying omnidirectional video content.
WP VR – 360 Panorama and Virtual Tour Creator for WordPress ByRextheme
The purpose of this plugin is to host virtual tours on your website, perfect for travel writers or people looking to rent or sell a property. This plugin allows you to stitch together panorama images to create a virtual tour that will blow people away and boasts an easy and simple-to-use interface, customizable features, easy embedding and intuitive navigational tools. There is both a free version and a premium version, with the premium version offering some small extras as well as personalized support from the team.
Virtual Shop for Woocommerce ByOtaiz
One particularly interesting plugin is the Virtual Shop for Woocommerce. It’s something of a trendsetter and displays what is possible with VR technology. Woocommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin developed specifically for online shopping websites using WordPress. Much like the name of the plugin suggests, this will allow you to enter a virtual shop with your VR headset and explore the products on offer, bring up detailed information on each product available as well as add them to your cart, and then purchase them. The idea is to give the feeling of a brick-and-mortar shop from the comfort of your home. The app is still in the early stage of development, but it gives the idea of what the future of e-commerce will be like when VR technology has come into its own.
So, these are most of the of the options currently on offer from WordPress. As previously stated, some of the features for these plugins are still in development, but the technology is out there and is free to use, so why not give them a try on your site? You might find that they generate a decent amount of interest in your site and put you ahead of the competition when it comes to cool features on your website or blog.