The images on your site matter as much as the content. A poor image is enough to seriously hurt your brand. However, cool images on your home page can captivate the attention of the users.
There are tons of articles about how to manage the content and SEO strategies, but significantly fewer about how to manage images.
We at Apollo13Themes believe that images are capital, and we do our best to get the most from them. Our recommendation is for you to do the same.
What Is Image Management?
There are plugins for image optimization, social media, sliders, and galleries. This classification helps a lot in identifying the plugins you need. However, a unified perspective of the plugins for image management is even better. Images and plugins burden the site’s file size and consequently impact the loading speed. Users make better decisions from a unified perspective. For instance, if your site heavily relies on high-resolution images (such is the case for portfolios), then you have to include images but you need a fast site, too. Would you sacrifice speed to display high-resolution images? It’s not a feasible option, but you also can’t show your best work in a low-resolution format.
A photo gallery plugin that displays images at various sizes is a working solution in this case. You uninstall your gallery plugin (no hard feelings here) and use a better one that displays the photo galleries at low res and it loads the high res format only when the user clicks or hover on it. An alternative is to buy a premium image optimization or a caching plugin. It depends on your requirements and budget. This is why you need to manage images; it helps to take the proper decision.
Here are 15 plugins to manage images on your site. Our team tested all of them, so use these plugins confidently.
Regardless of the site purpose, a plugin for image optimization is a must. Its role is to resize and compress images without affecting the quality. A good plugin reduces the image file sizes – sometimes with more than 100% and as a result, the site loads considerably faster.
I have used Smush for many years and it has never disappointed me. Feel free to test the free version before opening your wallet. It bulk optimizes the images, even for the free version. You click once and the plugin optimizes 50 images. Smush does the same great job for .jpeg, .png, or .gif files. Even more important – Smush preserves the image quality – you won’t realize which one is “smushed” and which one is the original.
EWWW Image Optimizer
This plugin is a serious contender for Smush and it has satisfied hundreds of thousands of users. EWWW Image Optimizer offers a good compression/quality ratio and automatically optimizes all the images. The plugin stores for free your site images for 30 days, so you can restore them if you aren’t content with the images optimized.
The premium plans include better compression, reduced server load, and the possibility of storing the images on the plugin creators’ servers.
We can’t talk about plugins for image management without showcasing a few plugins for galleries. And we can’t talk about plugins for galleries without mentioning Modula – a heavily used tool for creating galleries.
A drag and drop builder creates custom galleries that are mobile-friendly. Depending on your preferences, you add filters, convert the gallery into a slideshow, and choose one of the many hover effects.
Modula Lite is available on the WordPress directory while the Modula Pro starts at $29.
Envira Gallery is a reliable alternative to Modula. It comes with impressive features like a drag and drop builder, lots of gallery templates, video embedding from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or Twitch, password protection, zip importer, and social sharing. It’s nearly impossible to say that this plugin lacks any useful features.
NextGen is another gallery plugin that doesn’t need any intro. Both free and premium versions are massively used by users because of the unparalleled number of features. It creates grid and list albums, thumbnails, slideshow, filmstrip, masonry, mosaic, film, and blog style galleries. It offers everything you expected from a gallery plugin.
Photo Gallery by 10Web
10Web is a famous hosting provider, but this company covers a lot of auxiliary areas, including plugin development. Photo Gallery is one of the best gallery plugins that should be an option for your site. The galleries are responsive and mobile-friendly and you can group them into gallery groups. You may insert videos or photos into the galleries, including streams from Instagram, and tag all photos for better filtering.
Do you want a cool and user-friendly slider plugin to manage images and spice up your image galleries? Head to Soliloquy and check its features and pricing or test the free version from WordPress repository. The developers used an innovative technique to make it as fast as possible and lightweight to not slow down the site.
Soliloquy comes with a solid package of features like:
- Drag-and-drop builder to create image and video sliders even though you don’t know to code;
- Carousels to feature images and products;
- Image importing from Instagram feed;
- A large array of sliding effects.
A quality slider brings dynamism and originality – two capital features of a successful site. A slider plugin helps the webmaster to showcase the images and provide dynamic effects when an image is displayed. You’d better check the Kreatura Slider demos and you will understand the role of a good slider.
In addition to a modern design, this slider will captivate the user’s attention which is the first step in getting a new client.
This plugin packages a ton of sliding effects applicable to both individual images and carousels. Some effects are common while others are genuinely unique. The plugin developers sell different add-on to add more interesting effects. For example, there is a particle effect add-on that makes your images or galleries stand apart during the winter months.
Slider Revolution works the best for galleries, but at the same time, it’s suitable for hero headers, a carousel of posts or videos, or content modules.
Image Hover Effects
Tens of thousands of users installed and rated the plugins to manage images on this list. Image Hover Effects is a hidden gem – it has only 6.000+ installs even though it has been in WordPress repository for a few years. The plugin gives you 40 hover effects, 10 animations on scroll, and lots of other cool options. Certainly, it’s a plugin that fully deserves your attention.
Image Widget Plus
The name of the plugin is suggestive enough to make an idea about its purpose. Install and activate it if you want to create image widgets on your site. Add images from the site media manager or from external sources. Resize and align the images as per your wishes. Check the free version before purchasing the premium version. Even though it’s free, Image Widget comes with the majority of the premium version features.
Lots of blogs and magazine news integrate Facebook and Instagram feeds. Instagram Feed is one of the most used plugins to display Instagram streams. It’s simple to configure and provide plenty of options, so its success is normal. You can create carousels, display the images in masonry or standard format, and add hashtag filters. Besides these, it’s lightweight and doesn’t slow down the site loading speed.
Custom Facebook Feed
This plugin has many similitudes with Instagram Feed. That is because Smash Balloon developed both plugins aiming at improving the social media presence. Custom Facebook Feed is for displaying the updates of Facebook accounts. You can use your Facebook account, multiple accounts or other people’s Facebook accounts. Don’t worry – it doesn’t require coding skills to work with this plugin.
Smart Slider 3
The developers of Smart Slider 3 promise that designing sliders with their product is finally fun. I am not sure if it’s fun to work with this plugin, but certainly, it’s one of the most user-friendly sliders. In addition to the intuitive interface, the plugin packages a solid set of options. It’s responsive and mobile-friendly, has two skins and it’s adjustable for every kind of project. You can use Smart Slider 3 for pages, hero blocks, showcase slider, and full-page sliders. The Slide library contains hundreds of premade slides – it’s 100% that you will find your desired type of slider.
The live version of Meta Slider is one of the most feature-rich free plugins. The premium plans are also quite accessible. Don’t disregard Meta Slider due to its pricing policy because it’s jam-packed with stellar options. Tons of CSS3 sliding effects, seamless WordPress integration, intelligent image cropping, scheduled sliders, and a complete documentation are just a few advantages of this plugin.
Over to You
These 15 plugins are enough to seriously improve the image management of your site. Check each of them and choose only the ones that fit your site. I provided multiple alternatives to satisfy as many users as possible. Did I forget to mention your favorite plugin to manage images? Please leave a comment with your favorite plugin and I will update the post to include it.
I’m using Compress JPEG & PNG images plugin from TinyPNG instead of using Smush because in free version it gives you up to 500 images to manage per month.