We’ve had a few larger, more complex projects recently involving sites with thousands of images and users. These are not your normal WordPress installs and often standard tools and plugins don’t work well.
If you do a search in the WordPress repository for gallery, there’s 1,000+ free plugins listed. My guess is there’s a hundred more premium versions or those based around themes too. Selecting the ‘right’ one is hard work. In fact most people I know will go with the most popular (Nextgen) and then hope for the best, which seldom works out well. Popularity is seldom an indication of quality or suitability.
So, which ones do we like? As in all things, it depends upon your particular needs and also the volume of images you’re dealing with. Here’s some questions we ask:
- Is it for display or are you also selling?
- Do you need public and private areas?
- Can they or should they be categorised?
- How many images are involved now and monthly?
- What pixel size and format are the images in?
- How important is traffic-building and marketing?
Once we have this information, we can work through some suitable options. For those that must know, the three plugins we have been using recently are the simple Photography addon from WooCommerce, the innovative Global Gallery and the sophisticated Envira Gallery. Note there is no ‘best’ choice here. There are others we also like, each having quite different features and specific benefits. Those questions help narrow down the choice.
How about making money from the site?
Note too that whatever plugin/system you select, should be capable of linking to the WooCommerce cart, which is why we like the basic WooCommerce photography addon. Not fancy, but puts the emphasis upon sales and customers, not looking pretty – Treating your website as a sales/transactional machine, not just a viewing platform. Online shopping cart tools is the area most web designers, photographers and artists really struggle with. They most often live is a visual world, not one focused upon marketing and sales.
You need a balance, which is where we can help out.