After writing the post “You Don’t Need a Home Page Per Sa”, which basically says that with WordPress, you can set any page to be the landing page of your site; I have been wondering why we need a specific page called HOME or WELCOME at all.
By the way, more often than not, there isn’t any text on the “home” page, just an image (BIG Mistake). So why not send site visitors straight to the goods? It’s why they came to your site in the first place; to see your work.
In this tutorial we’re going to do something completely different; we’re going to create a new kind of ”home” Portfolio page and set it as our landing page. This technique has been implemented at Jan Boydol Photography. Go there to see it in action (opens in a new window).
We are going to use the Media Library to upload and insert our images.
We are bypassing the use of NextGen’s album in for this new home page for two reasons…1. I want more control over the size of the image. NextGen’s album thumbnail size is set in the plugin’s files which makes it difficult to change for the average user. And even if you could make it larger it would be distorted and you will need to go through the process of creating new thumbnails for all your galleries.
2. I want more control over the entire page’s formatting. Using the extended version of NextGen’s album will provide text if you enter it into the gallery’s description but it shows the galleries stacked vertically. I want mine left aligned horizontally.
The goal here is to show a larger image to represent the gallery with text under the image, not to the side. Hence providing left aligned images with text underneath.
STEP 1 - Check your media settings under Settings > Media
WordPress will create three sizes of images when you upload them. The default sizes are shown in the image below. Choosing Medium size will insert an image of the max height of 300 pixels while maintaining the aspect ratio and shows the entire image. Since showing the entire image is what I want to achieve, I’ll use the medium size image.
If you’re happy with the media sizes there’s nothing you need to do here. However should you change the sizes it is important to note that this will only size images to the new size on future uploads. Any images currently in your Media Library will remain as they are.
STEP 2 – Open your existing portfolio page in the editor.
If you don’t have one, create one by going to Pages > Add New. If your existing portfolio page is named “Gallery” or “Galleries” change it so that people aren’t confusing it with your list of galleries that represents your work. Portfolio, Artwork or Images are good page names.
STEP 3 – Insert one image to represent the work within each of your NextGen Galleries.
Upload your images on the page using the “Add Media” button. These images will now be stored in the Media Library, not NextGen gallery. There’s a tutorial on how to Upload a single image at the school.
To keep all your images left aligned with text below is to use the image caption. Not using the image caption feature and inserting text below the image in the editor, will result in alignment challenges that can be over come by using a horizontal rule but it is not ideal and your images may end up stacking vertically.
Once you insert the image you can open it again for further editing by clicking on the landscape icon when clicking your mouse on the image.
Apply the following attributes to your image…
- Select the radio button to Left align the image
- Here’s an opportunity to add a search engine friendly title and alternative text if you haven’t already done so.
- Fill in the caption with a short sentence and series / image gallery name. As seen on the example above I placed a hyperlink on the word “Heels”. This link is optional if you’re uncomfortable using HTML.
- Add the Link URL to the image gallery page. The easiest way to find the URL is to go to your live site and navigate to that page, then copy the URL from the browser address bar and paste it into the line as shown. By adding the Link URL the image will be clickable.
Save your page and preview. Make any required changes. On my site I decided after inserting all my images at 300 pixels high that they were a bit to big for my liking. To change the image size all I did was open the image again in the page editor and reduced the size by percentage. By reducing them all by the same percentage I maintain a consistent height.
Here’s another site that we just finished that uses the new kind of “home” portfolio page idea, but just on the portfolio page. Jan wanted a home page with her most popular image.
STEP 4 – Set your new home portfolio page as the landing page of your site.
Easy – go to Settings > Reading and select it from the drop down menu and save. If you want more precise instructions there’s a tutorial on that.
I like my new Home / Portfolio page. What do you think? Questions and comments are welcome.