Danny McLoughlin

Hey, I'm Danny! I write full-time for Authority Hacker. I came from a background of more traditional marketing before I started work for a large affiliate marketing site a couple of years ago. Now I travel the world, write, market and watch sports!

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What’s the Best WordPress Gallery Plugin?

Beautiful imagery can make or break a website.

To start with, everyone performs the eye test when they enter a site for the first time.

I know I do at least.

If a site looks a little bit sketchy, I’m out of there in seconds.

Beyond the first impression, images are great for showing off your work:

  • Photographer displaying the photographs they have taken
  • Painter and decorator displaying the spaces they’ve decorated
  • Graphic designer showing their portfolio

There are almost unlimited reasons to display your photography in galleries on your site, but how do you do it?

Well, with a WordPress plugin of course!

The real question is: which plugin?

1. Looks

Looks = the way the gallery looks on the site. Is it stylish? Does it fit in or standout?

We want our gallery to look nice.

This sounds simple but it means including a few important features.

The plugin must:

  • ​Accommodate both vertical and horizontal photographs
  • Be responsive so that it works on both mobile and desktop
  • ​Be able to choose and crop thumbnails

What we want

  • Vertical photos​​​​
  • Horizontal photos
  • Choose, crop and edit thumbnails
  • Pre-built gallery templates

2. Speed

Speed = the gallery loads without causing the user to wait.

Gallery plugins can be clunky and slow with bloated code.

We’re looking for a plugin that doesn’t affect site performance, loads quickly and will transition between images quickly.

If there is lag in the site loading or between viewing images then this will prove to be a problem.

What we want

  • Fast loading images
  • Fast transitions between images

3. Ease of Use

Ease of use = it is simple to add, organize and display images.

Adding and arranging photos on WordPress is a pain in the neck.

The whole point is of using a plugin is to make this whole process easier.

It must be easy to add photographs, reorder images and place the gallery on your site.

In line with this, it would be great if the plugin could pull photos from places we have them stored online.

Places like: Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Google Drive or Photos.

What we want

  • ​A way to organize or categorize images
  • ​Easy to edit and add photos to galleries
  • Easy to edit look and feel of galleries
  • Integrations to pull photos from feeds

4. Value For Money

We don’t want a plugin that costs a fortune if there’s an alternative that can do just as good a job for free.

As always, we’re looking to strike a balance between t functionality and price.

Envira Gallery WP Plugin

Envira Gallery was created by the people that brought us Optinmonster (email opt-in plugin), Soliloquy (image slider plugin) and WP Forms (form plugin).

The success of each of these plugins ( and the popularity of Envira Gallery) suggest this is going to be an effective plugin, but let’s look at Envira Gallery on its own merits.

Envira Gallery was created with performance in mind. The plugin manages to be quick, yet still packed with features. Some of which come in the form of add-ons rather than being part of the core offering.

Some of the features include:

  • Standalone galleries (a unique
  • URL for your gallery so that galleries are not tied to pages)
  • Pin it button for Pinterest
  • Password protected galleries
  • Zoom add-on
  • Integrations with Dropbox,
  • WooCommerce and Instagram
  • Slideshow functionality

Going back to basics, Envira Gallery is pretty easy to use. The galleries can be created with a drag and drop builder.

This can also be used to re-order the image in the gallery.

It’s also mobile responsive.

Within the free version, options are limited. There is only a basic theme and an option to turn the lightbox on and off.

You need to upgrade to the paid version to import photos from Instagram.. The same goes for social sharing buttons, tags and various other bits and pieces.

If you’re going to get everything you want out of Envira Gallery, the paid version is essential.

Envira Gallery Pricing

I’d be looking at the Plus package. Being able to import photos from Instagram and Dropbox is an import feature to me.

It also allows you to protect your work with password protected galleries and watermarks.

Overall, Envira Gallery is a comprehensive plugin. It can do everything that you would be looking for from a gallery plugin as long as you select the right plan. The downside of this is that the right plan is expensive.

  • Fast
  • Integrations
  • Looks good
  • Expensive

Huge-IT Slider

Huge-IT Slider WP Plugin

Huge-IT Slider is another gallery plugin with both a paid and a free version.

It’s packed full of features and even the free version is quite powerful.

The plugin is really easy to use. Simply go to the plugin in the backend of WordPress and add a new slider. From there, it’s a case of selecting images from the WordPress media gallery and adding a description

Huge-IT Slider WP

There doesn’t appear to be any options to pull images from Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook or any cloud based platforms. All the images need to be added via the media gallery. This is a drawback for me. You can end up spending a lot of time searching for and uploading images.

When it comes to displaying the gallery on your site, all the options are handled in the same area you add the photos.

There are three layout options: Standart (typo maybe?), Carousel and Thumbnail View.

Huge-IT Slider Options

You can also choose the design of the arrows, the animation between images changing and the speed that the images change.

These changes give you quite a lot of control over the look and feel of the image gallery.

The problem when with Huge-IT comes with the speed. Again, there’s a delay of a couple of seconds when the page loads that puts a real dent in the experience.

Huge-IT Pricing Options

If you can live with the lack of styling options, the free version is sufficient. It has almost as much functionality as the paid version.

There’s nothing in the paid version that convinces me to upgrade. This makes Huge-IT gallery a really cheap option with quite a lot of functionality.

  • Lots of customization options
  • Free
  • No integrations
Photo Gallery WP Plugin

Photo Gallery for WordPress is a gallery plugin with both a paid version and a free version.

The backend is extremely easy to use. It’s very simple to create a new gallery and add images.

Within the paid version, you can hook the plugin up to Instagram and import the images from there.

In the free version, all your images have to be in the site directory or in the WordPress file manager. This becomes a bit of a pain if you have a lot of images to upload.

To place the gallery on your site, use the shortcode generator. Then just place the shortcode wherever you want the gallery.

Photo Gallery Layout Options

There are a number of layout options that you can choose from to place them on the site.

You can choose from the following:

  • ​Thumbnail
  • ​Masonry (PRO)
  • Mosaic (PRO)
  • Slideshow
  • Image Browser
  • ​Compact Album
  • Masonry Album (PRO)
  • Extended Album
  • Blog Style (PRO)
  • Carousel (PRO)

As you can see, there are a lot of options in both the paid and free version.

There are also options for:

  • Sorting the images
  • Number of columns
  • Tags
  • Action upon click

But, there’s only one theme available. It only comes in one style. If you buy the paid version you have the “possibility of editing/ creating new themes”.

It quite a cool little feature to be able to create your own theme. In my view though, I’m using a plugin to make life easy. I don’t want to be wasting time messing about with this kind of thing. There should be pre-built templates.

When the gallery is on the site, it actually looks quite good.

Photo Gallery Example

The problem is that it is slow. After you click on an image, it takes a couple of seconds for the image to load. That may not sound like a lot but you really feel that pause. That for me, ruins the experience.

Photo Gallery Example

If you can live with the basic theme, then the free version of Photo Gallery is a contender. The downsides are speed and a lack of social sharing buttons.

Photo Gallery Pricing Options

With the basic paid version, it does everything that I am looking for in a gallery plugin. This is good value at $30 but for me it is still too slow.

  • Lots of customization options
  • Too slow
NextGen Gallery WP Plugin

NextGen Gallery is one of the oldest and most popular WordPress gallery plugins around. Like most WordPress plugins at the moment, there is both a free and a paid version.

The plugin has a proud history going all the way back to 2007. This is forever in the internet world.

NextGen works slightly differently from the other plugins. Instead of working within the plugin itself. You add and create galleries within WordPress pages and posts.

There are three options to add the photographs to the gallery:

  • ​Upload from computer
  • ​From WordPress media gallery
  • ​From site directory.

From here, all you have to do is add the gallery to your site.

Simply go to the page and click on the “Add Gallery” option above the standard WordPress editor.

​NextGen Gallery Slide

Start by choosing the type of gallery: thumbnails, slideshow, image browser, tag cloud, compact album or extended album.

NextGen Gallery isn’t the fastest in the world but it’s not as slow as some of the others on this list.

​NextGen Gallery Pricing Options

In terms of price, there are three real options: free, plus and pro.

To be honest with you, there’s nothing in either the pro or the plus version that can persuade me to pay for the plugin. There’s just no real incentive to part with the cash given the functionality of the free version.

There are some additional gallery options and full screen lightbox, but I think we can live without these.

In general, NextGen Gallery is a solid option. There are a number of options when it comes to the layout, it’s not the fastest but also not the slowest option, it’s easy enough to use and it’s free.

  • Looks good
  • Slow

How Do They Compare?

Plugin Layouts Speed Ease of Use Value
Envira Gallery 5 5 5 3
Huge IT Slider 1 2 5 5
Photo Gallery 1 2 5 5
Next Gen 5 3 4 5

For me, I would be parting with my cash for the Envira Gallery plugin. In my opinion, it’s just better than the rest on this list.

It looks better than the others. Is easy to use – especially with integrations to cloud storage platforms and social platforms.

It’s also significantly faster than the other plugins. This is crucial for user experience across the site as a whole.

However, if you’re looking for the best free option, I’d have to say NextGen gallery is the best option.

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What Are the Best Social Share Plugins for WordPress?

Without traffic, you can’t generate revenue from your website. It’s as simple as that. For Authority Hacker, we our biggest focus is generating traffic from organic search through Google. The thing is, there are so many other ways to get traffic. One such way is through social media. Over the last 30 days, 6.2% of …

What Are the Best Social Share Plugins for WordPress? Read More »

#92 – 2017: The Year in Review

What you will learn

  • How we realized our blog content wasn’t working and what we did to change it.
  • Why we care more about writing honest reviews than generating affiliate revenue.
  • What happens when you allow problems to grow as the company grows.
  • Why we chose to launch one new site this year instead of five.
  • How we plan to up our game in 2018.

As we begin to close out the year, it is time to take a step back and reflect on what has happened over the past 12 months.

In our final episode of 2017, Gael and Mark review the performance of Authority Hacker, Health Ambition and the other websites in the Judgement Media portfolio to review how they have performed and outline the plans for these sites in 2018.

Authority Hacker

Perrin and the Blog

Starting with the blog, this year has really been spent trying to nail down the format.

In the past, we have tried to do every type of content but this has been narrowed down to informational and investigative/ experimental pieces.

Table of Content for the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Associates
Table of Content for the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Associates

For the blog, we do tend to do some keyword research but we go out of our way not to rehash the articles you will find in the SERPs. Instead, we’ll look to put our own unique spin on things.

In 2018, we are going to look at having a budget for experiments. We gave this a trial run in 2017 by spending $1,000 buying backlinks to test out link building services.

Over the past year we have learned some important lessons:

  • Keyword Research – make sure the content suits the audience rather than just writing content that will target a lot of traffic
  • Content Length – We tried shorter content and it didn’t work. Long and detailed content works better for us by almost every metric you can think of.

Lewis and Reviews

Over the past year we have spent a lot of money buying almost every keyword research tool, email marketing tool, outreach tool and page builder available.

We are in the lucky position that the online courses are doing so well that we don’t need the affiliate revenue that is generated by these reviews (even if it is a nice bonus).

That gives us the freedom to be truly honest in a market where it feels like everyone likes every product. We view the reviews as telling authority site owners the best tools that will help them make more money rather than an income generation tool for ourselves.

This means that we can recommend free products if we think it is the best tool available.

However, we are not trying to be negative about tools. In the most recent email reviews that Lewis compiled, he contacted each of the marketing departments and gave them the right of reply before publishing.

Best Page Builders on WordPress
Best Page Builders on WordPress

We look for each review to contain a blog post per tool, a video per tool and a round up blog post comparing each of the tools to each other and a unique test for each set of reviews.

This is a lot of work.

So, you will find that we don’t publish for a couple of months, then you will see 9 articles go live all at once (8 individual product reviews and a roundup review). I has to be this way because all the articles link to and discuss each other.


Perrin’s blog posts and Lewis’s reviews have seen traffic double year on year since 2017.

We are now getting 70k sessions per month from around 40k unique users. It is nice to have a lot of people coming back for more but we are aware that there is still plenty of room for growth.

We can still do a better job at collecting emails but overall things are going in the right direction.

It was only in August that we started to take link building seriously for Authority Hacker. Since we started actively building links a few months ago, we have more than doubled our links.

Over the next year, Perrin will probably split his time between writing new articles and updating what we already have on the site. We will also be rebranding Authority Hacker within the next year.

Gael would also like to get back to something we were doing in the very beginning and that is releasing a short video on YouTube every week with some kind of trick or hack.


To be honest, we haven’t really paid too much attention to the numbers when it came to the podcast. We had a feeling that it had been performing better this year than last but we had no idea just how much.

Year on year, we are up 62% in terms of listens. This is probably down to a few factors. Firstly, this is episode 52 for 2017 – which works out at one per week.

Although it is the 52nd podcast, it does not mean we have been perfect at publishing weekly. There have been times where we have skipped weeks and this number has been brought up by a couple of series where we published every day for a week.

There is huge room for improvement though. We have recently written an SOP for the podcast publishing process which will ensure that it is published at the same time every week as long as it is recorded on time.

In terms of tech, we have recently started using Zencastr, that removes the need to record the audio through Skype. This should massively improve the audio quality.

We have also started to do more research before the podcast rather than just winging it. Recently we have been experimenting with Ask Wonder to do some research before the podcast so we can be better informed and cite sources.

There does not seem to be a lot of interaction (on social media or in the comments of the show notes) with you guys so we would like to do a listener survey to get some proper feedback on what we can do better.

AH Pro and TASS

The training courses have been doing really well.

In 2016, we had our first six figure launch of AH Pro and we have managed to replicate that a couple of times in 2017.

There have been a few issues. This includes our latest launch where it seemed that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong but even this launched ended up being successful financially.

TASS has also been doing well. It was launched at the beginning of the year and we are now beginning to see some real success stories coming out of it – including Robert Botha who is now making $8,500 per month from his site.


Since last year, our revenue has doubled but our costs have also gone up in that time. The team has grown substantially, there are general costs for tools, experiments and we have also started running Facebook ads (which is a significant outlay even though it does directly generate revenue).

Health Ambition

At the start of 2017, we decided to focus the majority of our time on Authority Hacker and really just keep Health Ambition ticking along.

So, you can imagine our surprise when we discovered that traffic is up 45% year on year (which is substantial on a site with hundreds of thousands of visitors per month).

This could be partially down to link building where we have added 2,000 linking root domains this year.

Revenue from Amazon has also grown a lot despite the cut in commissions.

Nothing has been published since July and, at the moment, there are around 500 articles ready to be published.

At the moment, there is a huge rebranding project going on with Health Ambition. This includes starting again from a fresh WordPress install and uploading, editing and reformatting every article on the site. When you add in the articles waiting to go live, this totals around 1,500 articles.

We are also going to completely redo the products on Health Ambition using the lessons that have been learned from Authority Hacker.

Adding up all of these things, we think there is a possibility to grow this site to 6 figures per month one day.

The Rest of the Portfolio

Over the past year, we have started on additional site.

This has been a bit of an adventure. The initial plan was to create a bare bones site and grow it out but the niche that was chosen requires a bit more effort than that.

So, we got all of the content written and then decided it wasn’t up to the required standard. This led to us re-writing all of the content. Twice.

Overall though, things are going well. We are at the stage where the record traffic numbers are being broken on an almost daily basis. The site is also very organized. This makes it so much easier to work on than something like Health Ambition where everything is all over the place.

TASS Case Study Site

This was built in a matter of days simply to be a live case study for TASS but it now ranks first for a whole heap of keywords and is making money without much effort.

So, it seems like a wasted opportunity not to grow this site now. An added bonus is that it also works as a great case study for TASS.

General Business

Next year, the big goal is to up our game on all fronts. We want to build sites that are not easy for our competitors to copy.

The means real branding and tech that is future proof.

We are starting to feel the growing pains as a business. Mark is really trying to do what he can to nip our problems in the bud rather than letting them grow with the company and reaching a point where it becomes a major project to fix issues.

A major win was moving accounting from a local UK company to Bean Ninjas who specialize in accounting services for businesses like ours.

So, that rounds up the final podcast of 2017. Thank you to each and everyone of you who has listened throughout the year. We will be back early in 2018 with some tips and tricks about how to keep your new year resolutions.

And, if one of those resolutions is to start your first site, it is worth checking out our beginners course, TASS, for a step by step guide on how to do that.

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