If you run a blog, then you know the importance of making your site easy to navigate and compelling for your visitors. With an optimized site layout and design, you can easily lead readers around your site, from post to post, drawing them into your site. Readers who stay on your site longer and visit more pages, are more likely to subscribe, and become loyal followers.
So how do you create that organized and interesting site? One of my favorite tools to achieve this is project galleries. Project galleries are those pages full of thumbnail images, linking to various projects posts that blog has shared. Project galleries are usually split up into categories, to help with organization, and to make it easy for the reader to find what they’re looking for. Project galleries can also be a great way to keep relevant older posts from being buried under new content, and bring them back to the front.
A popular tool for creating project galleries is the site InLinkz. I used the free version for a while, and was honestly not impressed. The functionality of the site was extremely limited on the free version (I could only make one gallery) and I found the user interface clunky and hard to navigate. This was over a year ago now though, so things may have changed, but I still prefer to do things myself (for free) if I can.
So I did a bit of research and found a way to make my very own (unlimited) custom project galleries for absolutely free! Since I see so many other bloggers using InLinkz and other paid options, I thought I’d share how I make my own project galleries, if anyone was interested in saving some money with a simple DIY. This tutorial requires no knowledge of CSS, and is easy enough for beginners with zero previous site building experience.
This post is not sponsored or associated with WordPress, WP Gallery Customs Links or InLinkz. All opinions are my own, I just love sharing with you what works for me!
1. Install WP Gallery Custom Links Plugin
The first thing you will need to do is install and activate the plugin WP Gallery Custom Links. I’m sure there are other plugins with the same functionality, but I always do research into plugins before installing (don’t want them crashing my site) and this one passed all my tests. I have been using this plugin since I made the move over to WordPress from Blogger, and haven’t had a single problem or issue. So you can select another plugin if you’d prefer, but this is the only one I have tried and recommend.
2. Insert an Image Gallery
Next, in the editor for the page or post where you’d like your project gallery, you will add an image gallery. Image Galleries are a basic WordPress function, and work a lot like inserting regular images. If you’ve never done this before, first click on ‘Add Media’ like you would when inserting any other picture.
Next, in the lefthand navigation, click ‘Create Gallery’. This image gallery will be the base of your Project Gallery.
3. Select Gallery Images
Next, you will need to select images to include in your gallery. I chose to recreate my Project Life gallery for this tutorial, so I selected all the full layout pictures I wanted to include.
When choosing images for your gallery, you can either select from existing images in your Media Library, or select to upload new images, just like you would when adding a regular picture to a post. Don’t worry if you’d like to add more images later, image galleries are always editable. You can come back later and add more images, change the order, and update the layout. This is how I’m able to add in a new Project Life post every time I share a new weekly layout.
4. Add Gallery Link
Now is where we are going to turn a regular image gallery into a clickable project gallery. Without this step, your page will just have a gallery of pictures, that will not take your reader anywhere when clicked. To make your images clickable, you will need to add in the post’s link associated with each image. You can do this in the image’s properties (where you would normally edit the image title and alt text), and scrolling down to ‘Gallery Link URL’.
There are also a few advanced settings you can play with for different effects, but so far I have just left those on the defaults. Once you’ve added a link to the description of each of your gallery images, you can click the ‘create new gallery’ button at the bottom of your screen.
5. Customize Gallery Layout
After adding your gallery images, you will be taken to a page where you can customize the look and layout of your project gallery. If you’d like your thumbnails in a different order, simply drag and drop the pictures into the order you’d like.
You can also add and edit captions on your thumbnails. Captions in project galleries are very useful, sinec it isn’t always easy to see the post’s image at smaller sizes. Captions helps inform your reader about what each post is about, and where they will be taken if they click your image. I suggest adding a shortened, descriptive form of your post’s title as the caption for each image.
You can also play with the settings on the right of this screen, which will control the final layout of your gallery. For my project galleries, I always like to use thumbnail sized images, and display them in 3 columns. These settings give a nice clean look, with plenty of space between each image so as to not clutter the page and overwhelm your reader. Play around with these settings until you find a look that fits your blog’s design and your preference.
Once you’ve settled on your layout settings, click ‘insert gallery’ and you will now see your gallery in your post/page editor. Edit the rest of your page as you normally would, adding any text or other images that you’d like, and then publish your brand new project gallery!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I would love to see all your new project galleries if you decide to use my tutorial, link them in the comments below so we can all check them out!