Instagram Journal is a WordPress plugin that displays custom Instagram feeds in various ways. Creating galleries is effortless, so effortless you’ll never need to use complicated code. You can even use the plugin’s Contest mode to keep your users engaged by involving them in a community-wide photo contest. Let’s explore everything this plugin has to offer.
- Instagram Feeds - The reason you want this plugin. You’ll be able to display a number of different feeds, from your most popular images to your most recent images to images that exist within specific tags.
- Gallery Modes - Not only will you be able to display numerous types of Instagram feeds, you’ll also be able to display them in different ways, including grid layouts and carousels.
- Customizable Settings - What you see is not what you get, and that’s a good thing! This plugin allows you to adjust a number of different settings for each gallery you create.
- Contest Mode - You’ll be able to host your own Instagram contest with a few simple clicks using this plugin’s Contest mode.
- Free Theme - This plugin comes with an optional free theme you can install if imagery and Instagram play huge roles in your brand’s marketing efforts.
- Classic View - This view mode creates a unique grid montage of your photos that displays beautifully on all devices.
- Collage Carousel View - This view mode organizes your photos into a collage carousel with lovely transitions to really them sparkle.
- Section Carousel View - This view mode provides you with a more formal gallery. This is an ideal solution for business templates or anyone striving for a clean professional look.
- Large Carousel View - This view mode displays a powerful large carousel that displays photo details the moment a photo is activated.
- Infinity View - This view mode displays a sleek, sexy slider that transitions through your photos infinitely! It renders edge to edge of the full width of your screen and includes beautifully displayed photo details upon hovering.
- Photo Limit Control - After many requests for this feature, we’ve now provided a way to limit the amount of photos loaded in by the API.
- Responsive HD Video - Pull in all of your favorite videos and share them with the world. Each video player is fully responsive and supports fullscreen mode on desktop and mobile devices.
- Fully Customizable Carousels - This plugin features an array of options for your carousels to allow you to control animations, transitions, speed, and easing.
Installing & Setting Up the Plugin
Installing the plugin can either be easy or cumbersome depending on your level of experience with WordPress. If you know how to use an FTP client, installing the plugin will be an easy task for you. All you need to do is extract the files from the ZIP folder you receive from CodeCanyon, open the wordpress plugins folder and upload the instagram-journal folder to your site’s Plugins directory.
If you’ve only uploaded plugins directly through the WordPress admin area, you’ll need to learn how to access your site’s FTP files and how to use an FTP client prior to installing this plugin. The documentation contains no explanation on how to do this, but it’s worth learning due to the number of premium plugins that require this type of installation.
Connecting Your Instagram Account
The documentation in the plugin’s ZIP file will be your best friend. Reference it frequently while you set up this plugin. It includes a bit of info on how to connect your Instagram account. Basically, you need to click on the link you find there. This takes you to a login page where you’ll be asked to enter your username and password for Instagram. Once you login and authorize access to your account, you’ll be given a token and a user ID.
After you activate the plugin, all you need to do is click the Instagram Journal button in the left-hand menu within WordPress to find the Basic Settings section, enter your token in the Access Token box and click Save Changes to get started.
Creating Instagram Feeds
To add an Instagram feed to your page, all you need to do is add one of the plugin’s shortcodes to your post or page.
Using the suggested [instagram-journal] shortcode was interesting when I tried it out - It generated a collection of random images from Instagram.
What you’ll want to do instead is use the Instagram Shortcode Options box on the right-hand side of the edit screen. Select User as your mode if you wish to display your own Instagram feed. You’ll need to enter the User ID you retrieved earlier.
The other modes are more or less self-explanatory. Here they are:
- Contest - This mode coincides with the plugin’s contest feature.
- Liked - This mode displays the most recent images and videos you’ve liked on Instagram.
- Location - This mode displays the images you took at a specific location. It uses the Location ID from Instagram’s API, which uses location based on LAT and LNG coordinates, but the plugin’s documentation contains no explanation on how to find Location ID’s.
- Multi Tag - This mode displays images from more than one given tag. It uses all of the images that exist in these tags, not just yours.
- Multi User - This mode displays images from more than one given user.
- Popular - This mode displays your most popular images.
- Tag - This mode displays images from a given tag, such as “food”. Like the Multi Tag mode, it uses all of the images that exist in a tag, not just yours.
There are also several different gallery modes. Here are brief explanations on them:
- Classic - This mode displays images in a grid layout with no padding between images and no image details, aside from your full name when users hover over an image.
- Collage - This mode displays images in a large 2x2 grid layout. The top two images appear as an automatic carousel slider. The bottom two images appear in the same way.
- Contest - This mode displays images that have the most likes, and you don’t need to run a contest to use it. Images are displayed as a list, and a heart that displays the number of likes each photo receives appears beneath every image along with your Instagram username rather than your full name.
- Infinity Carousel - This is a fast-moving slider that displays your images in a never-ending carousel.
- Large Carousel - This carousel is still. It doesn’t display additional images unless the user manually does so. It displays the first image as a featured image on the left-hand side and displays two additional images at tall heights on the right-hand side.
- Section Carousel - This mode displays two images at a time. Your full name and the caption you’ve added are displayed underneath along with the dates you took the images and how many likes/comments you’ve received. This is technically a slider, but users have to slide through additional images manually.
You don’t need to stick with the default appearances you see as you test these various modes out. You’ll be able to adjust gallery sizes, photo sizes, various color settings and advanced settings. The Advanced Settings section allows you to adjust such things as carousel speed, whether or not videos should display, limits on the amount of posts that display in each gallery and more.
The amount of customizable settings here is large, so you definitely won’t face any limitations.
Once you’re done adjusting settings, all you need to do is click Insert Shortcode to add your gallery to your post or page. It’s that simple.
This is a nice feature which allows you to hold your own photo contest. You create your own hashtag for your contest and have contestants post their entries to this hashtag. The documentation does a great job explaining what each setting means as well as how to moderate entries.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to display entries on a post or page on your site. Basically, you’ll view all of the images that were entered and approve them. The one(s) that receives the most likes wins, making it a great way to keep your community engaged.
Pricing & Support
This plugin is available on CodeCanyon for $19, which gives you access to future updates and up to 6 months of support. Support comes in the form of direct contact with the plugin’s author, assistance with bugs and help with any third-party assets required to run the plugin. Support excludes help with customizations and installation. Extended Support (12 months) can be purchased for $5.70.
You’ll also receive a free theme with your purchase, which the author states is a $48 value.
The author does a great job of responding to user questions in a quick manner, even if you aren’t a customer.
Instagram Journal WordPress Theme
The Instagram Journal WordPress theme is a nice clean theme that displays a logo in the top-left corner of the screen, a simple navigation menu on the right and whichever gallery mode you’d like to display on each page.
Clicking an instagram photo in the theme opens it up within the page and displays the photo, text, author name, number if likes and the date:
The theme comes bundled with the plugin for free, and you’ll need to install it manually to your Themes folder via your preferred FTP client. It’s a great option for photographers and businesses who reply on Instagram when it comes to marketing.
Remember, these businesses don’t necessarily need to use this as their primary theme. They can always use it to power a different section of their site using a WordPress Multisite installation.
This plugin does exactly what it claims to do, and Instagram users will be delighted to learn how simple this plugin is to use and how beautifully it displays feeds. If you’re a developer wanting to use this plugin up on a client’s site, you’ll have no trouble teaching them how to use it once you send them off on their ways.
A major plus with this plugin, that’s not mentioned above, is the fact that it’s completely responsive, allowing your galleries to display beautifully no matter what devices your users are on.
Because this plugin comes with a theme this developer could easily sell separately on ThemeForest, it’s price is more than reasonable even though its features already make up for that. If you post to Instagram regularly, give this plugin a fair consideration as it provides one of the easiest and most elegant ways to display your feeds.
The addition of a contest mode is a great feature that I haven't seen on other similar plugins also, Instagram marketing is really starting to take off so using this could help generate some buzz around your brand.
For just $19 this plugin looks like a bargain if you are looking for a highly customizable plugin to embed your Instagram images within your website - I recommend you check it out.