How to add a gallery in WordPress

We’ve got a few new authors in The Garage and there have been some questions about how to upload a pretty gallery of images so another tutorial is in order.

First, a bit of history:

In the early days of WordPress, the image management functionality was rather limited unless you were a techie. The rest of us had to rely on plugins to make our lives easier. Arguably, the most popular galleries plugin was/is Alex Rabe’s NextGen Galleries. The problem with NextGen is that while the end result looks great and works well, it is a bit of a pain in the ass to create the actual galleries. Also, it is fairly easy to create a galleries page that allows all of the galleries to be displayed.

The more recent versions of WP have addressed the functionality issues surrounding galleries and it is now no more difficult to add galleries than it is to upload single images.
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A funny thing happened on the way to the show

Way back in 2002, I was looking for a way to escape the retail automotive industry. The problem was that I had worked in the field so long that I was truly an expert, which made leaving very difficult. Then, I chanced upon a weekend gig guest hosting an automotive radio show. It was so much fun that I decided then and there that automotive media would somehow be my escape route. It was my way to combine my love of writing with my automotive expertise.Then, in 2004 I discovered the concept of blogging.

I opened a blogger account, read Problogger and started blogging. Along the way, we tried different blogging platforms, advertising, rss, servers and the like. We even took a stab at aggravating google, which we succeeded at, much to the detriment of our traffic counts.

Through all of this I managed to become a reasonably well respected automotive writer. At least in my own mind.

I even learned how to work a camera.
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Thesis theme in play for real

I’m really excited to say that I have installed Thesis on The Garage and modded it to resemble the previous version. I’ve done it. Me. Techno no mind! The more recent versions of WordPress are so user friendly, that when combined with a killer theme like Thesis, even a guy like me can look like a pro. I didn’t have to hassle my IT guru once through the process!

The previous version of TG used the Cutline theme with a bunch of hard coded mods. This was done a long time ago, before plugins etc became so easy to use. The problem with that setup was that we were using hard code. In other words, I couldn’t make any changes myself, so I had to bother Jaimie and wait for help.

Not now!
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WordPress 2.9 and a switch to Thesis 1.6 theme

If there are actually any readers out there (I know we have some) you might have noticed that BS had a bit of a bumpy road over the past week. What happened? To put it bluntly, I blew the shit up!

To be more technical, I upgraded from WP 2.8.6 to 2.9. While trying out the new update all plugins function, the whole deal froze up. After about 4 hours, I pulled the plug. Actually, I closed the tab, but you get the idea.

I spoke with WordPress Matt, who took the time to look into my concern from the WP side of things. The absolutely awesome support team at Bluefur, the Canadian server that BS is hosted on, finally figured things out and showed me the error of my ways.

I have a bunch of projects on the go these days and have been thinking about switching them all to DIY themes, Thesis theme. There are a bunch of reasons, ranging from a solid reputation within the WP world to user friendly design features, SEO framework and plugin friendliness. All of these things combine to make a theme that is more than just a skin that I can manage myself, eliminating some of my reliance on my IT guru. This will give me the flexibility to test different advertising models on my own time frame, rather than waiting until someone else has the time to get to it.

For now, I have loaded the Thesis theme and activated it. Right now, things look pretty plain but I’m just killing time on Christmas Eve afternoon as we are actually ready for a change. Over the coming days, I’ll report on the ease with which I turn BS into something a bit more attractive. First up, I’ll have to do something with those stock images at top right. The basic layout seems to be a 3 into 4 column view. It looks a bit messy to me right now, but has given me some ideas. I’m not sure if I like the Fidgetr plugin stuck in the middle like that, but it does add a splash of colour.

See you in a few days as I start fiddling!

Darren Rowse launches a personal blog


Somewhere along my journey to become a pro blogger, I recall reading someone say something to the effect of : “find a niche for your blogging, but Lord oh Lord, don’t write a personal blog”. I don’t recall who that someone was, but there is a good possibility that it may have been Darren Rowse. For those who don’t know, Rowse is one of the pioneers of professional blogging who has guided many a bloggers’ quest for greatness. I have been fortunate to meet Darren a couple of times on his visits to Toronto and have found him to be a truly wonderful gent.

When I launched BumpyStick last month, my idea was to have a place for tutorials and the odd personal thought that doesn’t fit in any of my other sites. I chuckled a bit today when I discovered that our Aussie friend has launched his own personal spot on the web.

I wonder if this might be a new trend: Pro bloggers launching personal blogs.

The joy of plugins

One of the best things about WordPress is the incredible network of users who happily develop cool new tools to enhance other users WP experience. As I’ve only just learned how to upload new plugins myself, I’m not going to attempt a tutorial as I might mislead someone through my own errors. That said, I have just installed a whole host of plugins here in BS which give it the basic functionality that I have come to expect.

Akismet: comes pre loaded in WP these days, you just need to turn it on. Akismet is a wicked spam filter that is an absolute must have, especially if you intend to have any sort of traffic on your blog. With traffic comes spam and you can’t spend your whole day reading & deleting it. Well, maybe you can, but I can’t.

All In One SEO pack: This seems to be one of the basic SEO tools for WP, yet we haven’t used it in TG yet. I’m interested to see what it does for BS.

Lightbox Plus: a pretty photo viewer. I have never learned how to use it properly, but it works simply with WP 2.6 and up and shows off your photos nicely. It also works well in tandem with NextGEN.

NextGEN Gallery: I have a love hate relationship with NextGEN. It creates way cool galleries, but it is a giant pain in the ass to create galleries and upload photos. It is pretty much the only plugin that I’ve actually had to write a tutorial so my guys can figure out how to post a bunch of pics without my help. It is certainly a must have if you love to share photos.

Sociable: A social networking tool. We didn’t have much luck with this one when we had it on TG, but I’m going to give it another shot here on BS. stats: We need to know who is visiting and how they are finding us. As we aren’t installing Google Analytics on BS I thought this would be a good solution.

FlickrRSS: I’ve never tried this one, so I thought I’d give it a go. FlickrRSS allows you to import images from your Flickr account into your sidebar. Apparently it works quite well. I’ll let you know as I fiddle around with it.

So that’s about it for me and plugins for now. As I begin to tweak BS more, I’ll be trying out lots of plugins and I’ll report on my findings. You can be sure that I’ll keep the ones that work and ditch the ones that just don’t get me feeling all warm and fuzzy.