With WordPress, you can easily add an image to your blog posts or pages. But let’s say you want to add a half dozen images.
As you upload images one after another, they’ll either stack on top of each other or fit into unevenly separated rows.
Besides the unsightly aesthetic, these layouts would require your users to do a lot of scrolling to view all the photos. It would also bury any copy you included on the page.
To avoid this, you can create a gallery to display images in a grid layout or as thumbnails to provide your users with a better experience. Not only will you be able to show more photos in less space, but you’ll also make it easier for users to browse them.
The best part? You can set up a gallery in just a few minutes. Let’s walk through two different ways you can create an image gallery in WordPress.
How to Make a Photo Gallery in WordPress without a Plugin
You can use WordPress’s built-in gallery to add eye candy to your site in just a few steps. Here’s what you need to do:
- First, log into your WordPress dashboard.
- On the left side of the page, click Posts or Pages.
- Select Add New or hover over an existing post or page and select Edit.
- If editing a post or page, place your cursor where you want your gallery to go as shown below.
- Click the Add Media button below the title.
- Click Create Gallery on the left-hand side of the page.
- Upload your images, or select them from your media library as shown below.
- Click the Create a new gallery button in the bottom right corner.
- You can edit your gallery in the following ways:
- Click the Reverse order button or drag and drop the images to reorder them.
- Add titles, captions, descriptions, and alt text to each image.
- Choose how many columns you want your gallery to display.
- Link the photo to an attachment page (a specialized page in your blog that shows the image in your selected theme), media file (a direct link to the full-size uploaded image), or none.
- Alter the size of your images.
- Click the Insert gallery button when you’re done.
- Save and preview your draft.
- To make any changes, click on the gallery. Then, click the pencil icon as shown below.
- Once you’re done, click Publish and revel in your handiwork.
Short and sweet, right? The gallery layout is much cleaner than if you just upload your pictures one after another.
However, after going through the steps above, you may come across a few limitations. For example, if you link your gallery to a media file or attachment page and users click on it, they will be redirected and have to click the back button to return to your site.
Because these galleries are not responsive, they won’t look the same on mobile and tablets. You also can’t tag the images or organize your galleries by topic or album. Since your galleries aren’t stored anywhere, if you wanted to add the same gallery to a different post, you’d have to build it from scratch.
For a more robust gallery that meets all your needs, you’ll use a plugin.
How to Make a Photo Gallery in WordPress with a Plugin
There are thousands of plugins available to set up and optimize a gallery in WordPress. When selecting one, you’ll want to check the plugin speed, ease of access, plugin ratings, and additional features. Let’s look at a few of the most popular plugins that meet the highest standard for these criteria.
With the Envira Gallery plugin, you can create fully responsive galleries that work on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices — and not just image galleries. You can embed YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia videos and import photos from Instagram and Dropbox to create high-quality multimedia galleries.
Envira Gallery provides a variety of pre-built templates to customize the look and feel of your galleries as well as a CSS add-on to create completely custom templates. It also provides a drag-and-drop builder for faster uploads and shortcodes for easy posting.
You can also add share buttons to allow your users to easily share your galleries on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or buy them through the plugin’s WooCommerce integration. You can control access by adding a watermark to your images and passwords to your galleries.
Finally, with deep linking and pagination add ons, you can create unique and indexable URLs for each item in your gallery and split your gallery onto multiple pages to improve load time and user experience. As a result, this SEO friendly plugin can help boost the conversion rate on your site.
Galleries by Angie Makes is a simple plugin that extends the built-in functionality of WordPress galleries. Rather than adding menu items to the WordPress dashboard, this plugin will expand the gallery settings in the edit module, offering custom size, caption, link, and display options.
There is a range of possible display styles, including a three-, five- and six-column mosaic, masonry, slider, and carousel style, all of which provide unique ways to hide or display captions. For example, in the six-column mosaic layout, you can hide the caption so that it only appears when a user hovers over a thumbnail. You also have the option to make the images into perfect squares as seen below.
NextGen Gallery is a robust WordPress plugin that provides multiple options to upload, edit, preview, and publish your photographs. If you’re worried about having too many choices, it has a built-in gallery wizard to guide you every step of the way.
You can add a NextGen gallery with the click of a button in the visual editor as shown below, which will pull up its intuitive Insert Gallery window.
There, you can choose from over 10 display options, each of which comes with an array of options for controlling the size, style, timing, transitions, controls, lightbox effects, and more of your galleries.
NextGen provides some of this autonomy to your users as well, allowing them to choose how they want to view your gallery. If you choose to display your gallery as thumbnails, for example, NextGen will automatically display a link to show your gallery as a slideshow. If you choose to display your gallery as a slideshow, it will automatically display a link to show your gallery as thumbnails.
Whether you’re satisfied with WordPress’s core functionality or ready to try one of the many free or premium gallery plugins available, you can create attractive and engaging galleries in just a few clicks.