A website where users can download high-quality images can be a great business idea. You can earn through paid image downloads, ad revenue, etc. In this post, I’ll explain how to create your image download site with WordPress.
Getting Started with WordPress
First, you’ll need web hosting and a domain name. Once you have these, install the latest version of WordPress and complete the initial setup.
On your hosting account, create a new MySQL database for WordPress. Also make note of the database name, user, password, and server info.
Then log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and under Settings > General change the title and tagline for your site.
Register an Intuitive Domain
Choose a domain name like:
Keep it short, brandable, and related to photos or downloads. Use secure SSL certification.
Find an Image Provider
To source images legally, you’ll need a provider like PhotoRack, Pixabay, Unsplash, and iStockPhoto. Compare their libraries, costs, and licenses to pick one suitable for your needs.
Installing an Image Gallery Plugin
To display your image collection, you’ll need a gallery plugin. There are many good options like Envira Gallery, NextGEN Gallery, FooGallery, etc. I recommend NextGEN Gallery as it’s feature-rich and free.
Install and activate NextGEN Gallery from your WordPress plugin page. Go through the initial setup and configure the basic settings for gallery styles, image sizes, etc.
Uploading and Organizing Images
Now you can start adding galleries using the NextGEN menu. Create new gallery groups if needed to organize images by category or collection.
To display a gallery on a page, simply insert the shortcode given on the gallery edit page. Upload your images to the created galleries. Add descriptions and tags to make them searchable.
You’ll want to show larger versions of gallery images in a lightbox overlay. NextGEN provides multiple lightbox styles. Under Options, pick one and customize the settings for animation, transition effects, image captions, etc.
Adding Watermark to Photos
To prevent image theft, you can add a watermark to the full-size photos that users can download. Under NextGEN settings, enable watermarking and select position, opacity, and watermark image.
Alternatively, use another plugin like Watermark Images to add watermarks with more control over placement and style.
Allowing Image Downloads
NextGEN provides the option to display a “Download Image” button below each gallery image. To enable this go to Gallery > Options > Under Image Options check “Show Download Button”.
This allows users to download the high-resolution version of any image they like.
Accepting Paid Downloads
To charge users for downloading images, you need to set up a payment system. The easiest option is to use PayPal and the PayPal for WordPress plugin.
Install the plugin and enable PayPal Standard. Configure your PayPal account settings under the plugin’s Payment Processors. Add a checkout page and select PayPal as the processor.
Enhancing Site Navigation
To allow visitors to easily browse and search your images, use the following features:
- Media Categories – Categorize uploaded images with relevant keywords.
- Media Tags – Tag images with multiple keywords to make them searchable.
- Search Plugin – Install a WordPress search plugin to add search functionality.
- NextGEN Custom Galleries – Create galleries dynamically filtered by category or tag.
Image optimization is crucial for fast loading. Install a plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer to compress images and convert to next-gen formats.
Also, enable lazy loading under NextGEN settings so images outside the current viewport aren’t loaded by the browser.
And that’s how you can create a full-featured image gallery site with WordPress that allows image downloads! Let me know if you have any other questions.