Enhancing the Wordpress Media Library

How to optimize your WordPress library for visual media

WordPress is a great platform for blogging. While it has grown tons of excellent features it still has kept its default purpose. That purpose is still a blog. Over time, the ability to add features has developed a full community of plugins. This combined growth has made WordPress the most popular platform around.

Yet, it has a huge drawback. The images and other visual content are downright ugly by default. Images get stored in a jumbled mess, with no clean organization at all. And those images loaded onto pages have no enhanced features whatsoever. If you click on an image to see it better, it will take you from the base page, with no good way back.

But there is a solution. With a few plugins, you can repair the ugly media management. You can also fix the image display into something much easier to use. This will be 100+% better for the visitors to your site. Let’s get started.

Front End Remodel

If you do nothing else, you need to fix the front end. It is horrible to any visitors and should be addressed as soon as you can. Start with these plugins:

  • Easy Fancybox – There is a lot of plugins out there that handle jquery popups for images. The ease of use and small code makes this plugin an easy pick to enhance the front end. And the default values will work with most sites. It also works on most mobile devices.
  • Compress JPEG & PNG images – Data counts when your visitors are on a mobile device. This plugin will help to compress what you upload and save as much bandwidth as possible. It does need a free account to start with a limited number of images compressed each month. And it does slow down the upload process some.

Back End Remodel

Calendar Sorting - WordPress Default

WordPress has a media library where all the photos, etc. that you upload go. But the only organization options given by default is to sort the media by date. And this option only affects the upload folders based on year and month. It does not affect the default media library look other than adding some date sorting. But you can make it better:

  • Enhanced Media Library – If you have a lot of media items or an online store, this plugin is a must. You can create media categories and assign the items to those categories. Once assigned, you can then sort the library by these categories. We no longer recommend this plugin.
  • Enable Media Replace – Sometimes you need to replace a single image or file. But deleting and re-uploading can be tedious. You would have to find all references to the original file and update them. This plugin can replace the file, and even give it the same name if desired. No links will even change.
  • Force Regenerate Thumbnails – If you add a new theme, the image sizes may change. This usually happens with the featured image. If the thumbnails are not recreated then the next closest size gets transferred. Ugly images or odd shaped ones will then be shown to your guests. This plugin checks which image sizes are required. Then it will use the full-size original to recreate a completely new image set, matching all the new needs.

A few simple plugins to get your WordPress media library working like clockwork. Try these out today and see the difference they can make to your workflow and guest experience.

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