Instagram has revolutionised mobile photography in recent years and even after being acquired by Facebook in 2012 its popularity and usage has continued to soar. The WordPress community loves to incorporate photography in their websites. The WordPress plugin repository is full of widgets for Flickr, Instagram and other services which are great for displaying recent images. However, after setting up a blog a couple of years ago, I was surprised to find no solution to automatically post images from Instagram onto my blog as a new post. So I built Instagrate to WordPress followed by the premium version Instagrate Pro.
What the Plugin Does
The simplest use for Instagrate Pro is to automatically grab new images you have posted on Instagram and create a new post on your site with each image. This can happen whenever someone visits your site so you can achieve an up to date photo blog of your Instagram photos. This fills the gap in Instagram’s sharing options for WordPress.
After releasing the plugin I discovered this solved the problem for many others and as it became more popular I saw it being used in quite a few different ways. Through feature requests and seeing these various uses I have improved and refined the plugin and it has grown into powerful and flexible solution for integrating Instagram with WordPress.
- Photo Blog – When my girlfriend and I moved to London we set up a blog for family. The plugin posts all the images from her Instagram account to the blog and posts my images with a certain hashtag. I can’t remember the last time we wrote a post on the blog but it stays updated all by itself!
- Hashtag Photo Competition – Use the plugin to grab images posted by any user with a specific hashtag. Post each image to the same page to display the competition entries.
- Business or Brand Promotion – It’s great for small or large businesses promote their brand. Run a snowboarding company? Post images to your site tagged with #snowboarding or #yourbrand.
- Wedding / Event Image Capture – If you want to collect images from a group of people during an event, like your friends at a wedding, set up a hashtag to use and set the plugin to post those images. A great way to look back on your day.
- Image Backup – The plugin allows you to save and use every image you post to the WordPress media library. This means that, whatever happens to Instagram, you will always have copies of your images backed up and safe.
The plugin has a great documentation area with a growing collection of video tutorials, but I thought I would give you a quick introductory tutorial showing how to get the plugin up and running and posting images.
Once you have installed and activated the plugin you will have a new menu item for Instagrate Pro in the left hand navigation. Hover over it, click “Add Account” and you will be taken to the edit account screen.
The plugin allows you to create unlimited Instagrate accounts to achieve things with Instagram images. An account is connected to an Instagram account and this allows you to grab images from a variety of streams. You can get your images, the images in your feed, images from a specific user, any images tagged with a hashtag and any images tagged with a specific location. Save the draft of the account then click “Login to Instagram” and fill out your Instagram credentials on their site, separate to the plugin which does not store your details.
Once connected the plugin loads the last 20 images from the connected account (but you can retrieve your entire Instagram history). For this tutorial I will use my own images so I won’t change the ‘Media Stream’ in the Instagram settings. The images that are loaded in the Instagram Media box are not yet posted to your site but are cached by the plugin, allowing you to do things like edit captions and ignore certain pictures.
The account title and content is used as a template for how the post will be created. You can use a whole bunch of Instagram data about the image in the form of template tags and these can be incorporated with HTML in the content editor to customize the post as much as you want. I will make a few tweaks to add some details about the filter and date.
Once you are happy with the settings click “Publish”. The plugin will now trigger when someone visits your site. Visit your site to see the new posts that have been created.
Packed Full of Features
The example above is very simple but the plugin can be pushed to the limits of your ideas. It is a content creation engine that allows your to put images anywhere on your site, in various different formats. You can create new and add to existing posts, pages, and custom post types.
The Pro plugin starts from $35 for a single site license, great for a personal photo blog. This includes support and updates for a year. There are other license tiers available for those developers and bloggers that want to use the plugin over multiple sites.
Check out the features and have a play on the live demonstration site, where you can connect your Instagram account and start posting images to get a feel for the plugin’s settings and how to control it.
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