Normal People, Great Plugins FooGallery

Normal People, Great Plugins:
with Bridget Willard

“Normal People, Great Plugins” is an article series focused on reviewing really useful plugins and resources available to you to build out your WordPress website. Bridget brings her wit and unique perspective of being a beginning user of WordPress to talk about how user-friendly the plugins are. If you are just getting started with WordPress and looking for high-quality and user-friendly solutions, then you’ll love this series.

Overly Attached Girlfriend Look at my Vacation Slides!Do you remember, back in the day, running into an old friend in the grocery store? They’d start chatting you up about their three week, cross-country trip to Wally World and before you knew it, you’re at their house for a dinner party and a preview of their best 250 slides from the trip.

Kill me now.

And they’re not the best photos either. A finger over the lens, some random stranger in front of a sign, and every rest area you never wanted to see are included.

Thankfully, a little social network saved us from hiding behind the creamed corn forever: Facebook.

[Hold up, I thought this was about WordPress plugins? It is. Stay with me.]

Facebook and Photo Expectations

Because people upload their vacation photos on Facebook, we can like them without the long narrative, blacking out of curtains, and faulty projector. (This may be the degradation of our society but we can only take so many slide shows in a lifetime. Also, millennials may need to Google slide show. It’s not Slideshare. But now I digress.)

This is the problem with Facebook’s photo sharing. Are you ready?

Facebook totally changed our expectations about the ease of viewing and uploading photos. Click To Tweet

We, as a culture, no longer accept slow photo loading. If it takes too long for photos to load on a website, we bounce. We weren’t that interested in the first place.

As users, Facebook has changed our expectations on uploading. We take photos from our phone and upload them instantly with decent enough quality. Boom. Done. Tagged, even. Thanks, Big Brother.

Photos are a Content Marketer’s Magic

So now come back to the world of small business, bloggers, and content marketing. Our world.

Our website viewers have been snobified by the simple elegance of Facebook. And we have stories to tell and photos to upload.

As a new-to-WordPress person and the content manager for a general contractor, photos frustrated me. I knew I needed them. They tell the story sometimes better than the words. Photos enhance our writing.

Yet, in fear of slow-loading websites, we’ve uploaded 174 x 113 pixel photos. No one can see that. (What am I looking at again?)

And this is one of the beauties of WordPress. You can upload more photos.

FooGallery Saves the Day

One does not simply post multiple photos without FooGallery.Here’s the thing. You worked hard to have that mobile-responsive site. You don’t want to slow it down with fifteen 800 x 300 photos. You need a gallery.

And you know what a gallery means, right? Yep. A plugin. You get a gold star.

I tried another plugin, whose name will not be revealed to protect the innocent. It was complicated. I had to re-upload my photos. I had to upload them in order. I had to re-write my captions. I had a nice looking website and a lame looking gallery. I was frustrated. No way did I have time to add this to my other pages.

Several people recommended FooGallery so I thought, “Why not? It can’t be worse.”

As soon as I found, installed, and activated the FooGallery plugin, I had to restrain myself from jumping out of my faux leather black office swivel chair. You know, safety first.

Finally! A photo gallery that uses the native WordPress media library.

FooGallery pulls photos from your WP Media Library.

I could not contain my elation.

“You mean I can create a gallery from photos I ALREADY UPLOADED? What a thought!”

[In a cheesy announcer voice] But wait. There’s more.

I can reorder photos using drag and drop.

[In a cheesy announcer voice] If you act now.

We don’t have to re-write captions.

Yes. You read that correctly. FooGallery uses the descriptions and captions you wrote when you uploaded the photos. You did that, right?

Be sure to fill out captions and description.

In the first ten minutes, I was in love. Where had FooGallery been my whole life?

That wave of emotion occurred in the space of ten minutes.

FooGallery Saves Time

30 seconds to find. 30 seconds to download. 30 seconds to activate.

Now you have a FooGallery option in the sidebar. Click add gallery. Click add media. Choose your photos. Choose your portfolio. Check out the options.

There are several free options. I used “Simple Portfolio” because of the way it displays the caption and description.

You need the lightbox extension. FooGallery settings.

Time for Honesty.

Ya, I still had trouble. I wanted my photos to open up in a pop up like in the demo. I didn’t know that was called a lightbox.

So, I had to go read directions (duh). The lightbox is an extension (a plugin for the plugin).

Well, you didn’t think it’d be that easy, did you? 😉

Go to FooGallery in the side of your WP Admin. Click Extensions. Extensions add paid or free functionality. I chose FooBox Free. After you click download you have to click activate (just like other plugins).

Then make sure you choose “Full Size Image” for Thumbnail Link and then you will see a choice for lightbox.

Once you have your gallery complete, click publish and copy the code on the right. Paste that code in your post or page and it renders. Save and publish.

I had the gallery up and running in 20 minutes.

You can easily spend hours tweaking this; but out of the box, I’m happy as a clam.

The cool thing is that you don’t have to use the same gallery style throughout your site. Each gallery can be different.

So the next time you want to share your vacation photos from The Grand Canyon, the step-by-step process to your prize winning lasagne recipe, or your construction project before and afters, you must try FooGallery.

What are you waiting for? Go install FooGallery now. Click To Tweet

I tried it. Will you?

 

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