When there are fewer files in the ClassicPress media library, it’s not hard to find just what you’re looking for. When you have a few hundred or thousand files in there, it can be a bit harder to find particular files. It’s true, the ClassicPress media library could use an overhaul, but, in the meantime, let’s go over some best practices and search tips that will give you a lot more power to search through the media library.
4 Things to Know about the Media Library
- Images are not optimized when uploaded.
- The search feature is more intuitive than it appears.
- Uploaded files are web-accessible by visiting the direct URL.
- Images are resized and cropped at dimensions specified by your theme.
Media Library Best Practices
Rename Files before Uploading
Many times, an image or document will have a filename that doesn’t lend well for searching. Filenames such as `DSC_0005678.jpg` or `img-20145.jpg` or `my-document-final.pdf` don’t provide much information about the file and, as such, don’t provide much criteria by which to search. Renaming your files can greatly improve searchability since each word will be a viable search keyword. Use dashes or underscores between words.
Optimize Images before Uploading
You can accidentally set featured images to use the full-size uploaded image instead of the copies cropped by your theme. In that case, you will be serving up an image that is probably 10 times larger than needed. This slows down your pageloads, needlessly spends your bandwidth, and eats up your visitors’ data. If you optimize your original image before uploading, when you accidentally set an original image as a featured image, it will be far smaller in size. I like to use tinyjpg.com. Alternately, you can use a plugin to optimize each image as it is uploaded. By the way, you can get fantastic images completely free of charge if you know where to look!
Set Metadata for each File
When you upload a file, you have the option to complete several additional fields such as title, alt text, caption, and description. Each of these fields are searchable, so, adding data here makes a good deal of sense. Additionally, these fields are often used in your theme; omitting them may leave gaps in your layout. I usually set a descriptive title and then copy that title over into the alt, caption, and description fields. I haven’t seen many themes use the description field, so, you can probably use this field to hold a bunch of keywords related to the file; be sure to separate the words with commas.
ClassicPress Media Library Search Tips
The search box at upper-right of the media library is more intuitive than it looks. You can type in multiple keywords to filter your files quite effectively. For example:
Scenario 1: You need to find a jpg image of a cat you uploaded a while back. You think the image was added in 2018.
Solution 1: Search for `cat jpg 2018`
Scenario 2: Every June, you upload images from an annual event. You want to see all those images from 2015 and 2016. Some are jpg files while others are in jpeg format.
Solution 2: Search for `jp 06 2015 2016`
Scenario 3: You uploaded 200 various files on November 21, 2018. You want to see just the zip files that contain the word report in the filename.
Solution 3: Search for `zip report 11 21 2018`
The ClassicPress media library isn’t perfect. It’s easy to write it off as “not all that useful”, particularly when you want to find a single file among thousands. However, by taking a few minutes to rename files appropriately, optimize images, and add meta data, you will greatly improve the searchability of the media library.
What do you think?
What is your take on the ClassicPress media library? Which features would you add, remove, or improve if you had the chance? Do you have any other tips for searching the media library when it contains scores of files? I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments!