11 Amazing WordPress Plugins for Managing Images
Much has been said about the relative worth of pictures to words. You could argue that simply adding enticing images to your website will improve its overall look and feel but if you confine yourself to just adding images, you’ll be missing out on a broad gamut of options which can make your website stand out even more and perform even better.
This time around, we’re proposing a list of WordPress image plugins. They do a lot of different things, either helping you run your website or providing a better experience for your visitors. You will likely not be able to find a use for every single one of these WordPress image plugins, and that’s fine. This list is not meant to be a shopping list. Instead, we intend this list as a toolbox, a selection of plugins which can improve the experience your users have with the visual side of your content. These are the types of plugins we will be talking about:
Inserting an image into a post or page is child’s play. But simply loading your posts with image after image is hardly any better than walls of text. A gallery is an elegant way of packing multiple images into a more easily digestible format, ideal for showcasing products and services on offer.
Photo Gallery by 10Web
Our preferred image gallery plugin is Photo Gallery by 10Web. User-friendly, feature-rich, and free, you can use this plugin to add eye-catching galleries and picture albums to your website. Even in its free version, the plugin offers several ways of displaying and organizing your images, as well as the option to include video into your galleries as well.
We have shown in an earlier article how easy and quick it is to set up a gallery with Photo Gallery by 10Web, while still retaining a wide array of interesting options.
Another free and versatile plugin, NextGEN Gallery offers a range of image management options, such as batch uploads, meta data import, thumbnail editing, and others, on the back end, and three gallery styles and two album styles on the front end side of things. These galleries and albums are fully customizable in terms of style, timing, transitions, lightbox effects, and more.
This plugin is a good all-round solution as it offers a broad range of options and styles to fit most website layouts for free, but if you feel like you need even more gallery, album and options, or possibly ecommerce integration, you can find them in the plugin’s premium version.
Final Tiles Grid
If tiled galleries are your thing, Final Tiles Grid is exactly the sort of plugin you need. While most gallery solutions will crop and/or resize photos to make them fit a gallery layout, Final Tiles Grid doesn’t crop images and avoids resizing them wherever possible, instead arranging them in eye-catching asymmetrical layouts. This striking layout has a responsive design which adapts to changing display sizes with a smooth animation. Also available are a lightbox, for extra visual impact, and loads of sharing options. And not only that: you also get a Pinterest-style gallery, if it suits your website layout better.
We’ve covered the above three and more gallery plugins in an earlier list of gallery plugins for WordPress, so if none of the above really rocks your boat, there are other options.
WP VR – 360 Panorama and Virtual Tour Creator For WordPress
A great way to immerse your website visitors into a new environment is a 360-degree photo. And with a long-winded name such as WP VR – 360 Panorama and Virtual Tour Creator For WordPress, you bet the plugin delivers that, and more. With nothing more than a single 360 panoramic image, you can transport your visitors to a place of your choice – your brick-and-mortar location or somewhere else entirely.
On top of that, you can also add hotspots to your picture and assign them various functions. They can be info points or videos, and you can even add more scenes to create a virtual tour of a real or imaginary place with hotspots acting as doorways. And your visitors won’t need a VR headset to enjoy it – it’ll work on mobile and desktop, too.
We have gone into more detail on adding an interactive 360 image to your website elsewhere.
But 360 images aren’t the only interactive images your visitors might appreciate.
With Draw Attention, you can easily create interactive images for your website. You can do a lot more with a simple image than just display it: with this plugin, you can add clickable hotspots and assign them various functions. You can provide more info on the picture or its subject, add a link to another web page, or upload an image which will be displayed once the hotspot is clicked.
We’ve already covered creating interactive images using Draw Attention earlier, so we won’t go into the specifics here.
On the more technical side, image management can also mean modifying images to suit your needs. Some of the above plugins, such as the gallery plugins, already do some of the work, but they are not great at image optimization in general, and letting them do their thing may result in loss of quality or slow loading speed and other problems which may adversely affect your website’s UX. And it should come as no surprise that there are WordPress image plugins designed to avoid these problems.
Smush is easily one of the most popular image optimization plugins. This award-winning plugin boasts image compression without negative effects on image quality, but that’s not all. You can use it to bulk-compress up to 50 images, saving your time as well as the visitors’, as well as locate loading choke points – identify the images causing loading slow-ups. You can also choose to do your optimization while the images upload. The free version works with .png, .jpeg, and .gif formats, while the WebP format is only available with the plugin’s pro version.
EWWW Image Optimizer
If you are hung up on the WebP image format, EWWW Image Optimizer offers a free solution. Other than that, it allows you bulk compression and scaling of all images, including theme images, various kinds of avatars, and even .pdf files. You can choose between compression levels, schedule your optimization time to avoid overtaxing the server, and even revert to your original pictures within 30 days if something goes wrong.
The above two plugins have, between them, most of the features you’d expect from image compression plugins, but they aren’t the only ones. They are both free, though, and some advanced features, such as dedicated conversion servers, are available from different developers.
Some image compression plugins offer lazy loading as a feature, but that has become standard since WordPress version 5.5.
But having some optimization tools at your disposal is not the same as knowing when and how to use them. We have covered the issue of optimizing images for the web thoroughly, so make sure to check it out.
Media File Renamer
Images often come with device-generated file names which bear no relation to the image subject. That’s not really a problem much of the time… for humans. Naming your images something relevant to their content actually helps search engines. With Media File Renamer, you can do it quickly and easily. The plugin provides you with a dashboard view of all your media files, and allows you to use image titles in order to generate SEO-friendly file names. All the instances the files were used in, such as posts and pages, are also automatically updated.
Enable Media Replace
But what if you just want to replace an image with another? Ordinarily, you’d have to delete it from your media library, upload the new one, and update all the references to it. However, with Enable Media Replace, you get a plugin which does it for you. Simply upload a file of the same type, and you will replace all instances of the former file, while retaining the name, or replace it with whatever new file you like, with a new file name, if you so choose. You can also display the date and time of replacement, if you want to make it clear to your visitors that they are not seeing the original version of the website or the original file.
Default Featured Image
If you are running something like a news site, and especially if you have to manage multiple author-contributors, you may find yourself under pressure to provide a featured image for a lot of articles in a short amount of time. You could opt not to use a featured image, but that’s poor SEO practice, and it’ll likely make your posts all but invisible on social networks. Instead, with a plugin such as Default Featured Image, you can set up an image for use in cases a special feature image is not specified. Even if it’s just your business logo, it’s preferable by far to leaving it blank.
Finally, you may be concerned about people stealing your photos and claiming them for their own. Sure, you can disable right-clicking altogether to deter them, but you could also supply any and all of your images with a watermark using Easy Watermark. You can watermark images on upload, or images already within your media library. In case you are yourself using somebody else’s images, you can also choose not to watermark them.
We feel this toolbox for image management contains more or less everything you need to run the image side of your website as smoothly and as safely as possible. From galleries and albums through optimization and safety features, you are now equipped to create arresting and unique experiences for your visitors easily and quickly.