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Managing your WordPress Media Library

Hi all! I had some WordPress media library questions come in — and then after, a request to make it a blog post to refer back to and share…so, here ya go!
(Thanks, C for the great questions!!) <3

First, the questions:

I end up uploading a lot of pictures to my site for various things – blog posts, galleries related to my books, etc.
I’m working on a post/article now, and I have a feeling it’s going to have a LOT of pictures.
Is there a way to organize my pictures within my media library? Will I ever run out of space? Is there a way to link my media library to a site like Pixabay or something so I don’t have to download each picture to my computer before uploading it to the web?

Organizing pictures within your media library

Technically, you can organize the images/files in your media library, but not by default through WordPress… there are a couple options:

      1. You can FTP into the server and manage them directly inside the file system — (NOT recommended unless you are very comfortable with this!!) 
      2. There are plugins that will allow you to manage the media library, such as WP Media Folder — disclaimer: I cannot verify how well (or not) it works – I don’t use any of the media library organizers… and I think WP Media Folder has become a paid plugin – but on that I could be wrong. There are others, I’m sure, but that is the only one I’m remotely familiar with, and have heard good things about.

Now… that being said… another way is to simply “tag” and use the search feature that is built into the default WordPress media library…..

For that method, all you have to do is go into your media library (AND do this for all new uploads)… and add something into the “description” field of each image… something that makes sense to that specific image…. “My Cat Finley”  (for example) . But keep it relatively short. Then… use the search box inside the media library anytime you need to find a picture of Finley… and voila!
It seems like a bit more work… BUT, it actually has several advantages….
      1. Less chance of conflicts between plugins 
      2. More plugins = more things that the WP system has to load = more things that can slow down your site
      3. Having a description in your images helps make them accessibility compliant — meaning anyone using a screen reader, blind or people with low vision, for example — can still get a description of what the image is
      4. Better accessibility = more compliant HTML = better SEO = better rankings
Phew… okay, so that was that question LOL…. more coming….

Will you ever run out of space — short answer, yes.

But this is 100% dependent on who is doing your hosting… have they put a limit on how much disc space you are allocated? if so, then you will need to start monitoring that for your usage. Many hosting providers will allow you to go over a little bit, but then will have you bump up to the next tier hosting plan
ALSO — the more images you serve on pages… the more bandwidth it is using… so also check your hosting provider to see if you have limits on your monthly bandwidth usage.

Now — as for embedding images that are actually on a different site like Pixabay….

Yes… and MOSTLY no….

it depends on the site.
A site like Giphy, for example, which their primary function is getting their images/gifs shared, will allow embedding… but most sites, like stock image sites will NOT — simply because every time you embed an image in your page from their site… it is still on THEIR site… which means it is using THEIR bandwidth.

Now… all that being said….

For peeps who use a lot of images on their site, even if they get them from a site like Pixa or if they come straight from your camera… you need to be doing two things:
      1. Run all pictures through a site like tiinyPNG: – Compress PNG images while preserving transparency. Make your website faster and save bandwidth. TinyPNG optimizes your PNG images by 50-80% while preserving full transparency!
      2. Use a plugin such as Smush Image Compression on the WP site to get any additional optimization when you upload them to your site
Here’s why:
      1. Every image uses the disc space and bandwidth allocated for your hosting 

        but… and maybe more importantly…

      2. Every image you serve on a page is using bandwidth of the reader who is viewing your page… and the more images — especially if they are not optimized — will slow them down… sometimes a LOT

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