Short Video Gallery Plugin Review: Like Instagram or TikTok, but for WordPress
Looking for a better alternative to TikTok or Instagram Stories for your WordPress site? Short Video Gallery is a new plugin from Firework that makes it easy to add a gallery of…well, short video content. You can easily add a mobile-friendly, AMP-ready gallery of curated short videos (or your own videos), which helps you engage your visitors and keep them on your site.
In our Short Video Gallery review, we’ll dig into this plugin and show you how it works.
Short Video Gallery Review: What the Plugin Does
I think the easiest way to describe Short Video Gallery is by comparing it to some features that most people are already familiar with:
Short Video Gallery is kind of like Facebook Stories, TikTok, or Instagram Stories…but optimized for your website and with more control over the videos that appear.
As the name suggests, you can create your own gallery of short videos (30 seconds maximum) and display those videos in different layouts.
Where do these videos come from? Well, you have two options:
- You can source videos from the Firework library by using hashtags, categories, or just searching for and choosing specific videos.
- You can upload your own videos to the Firework library and use those.
So what’s Firework, then? Firework is the group behind the Short Video Gallery plugin. It’s a network of over 400,000 creators who contribute short videos to the Firework library. Some of the content comes from partners (e.g. brands), while others come from individual creators like yourself.
So the idea is that you can either:
- Stick to your own videos.
- Tap into the Firework library to add content to your site.
Either way, all of the videos are AMP-enabled, which helps you benefit from special placements in Google Search on mobile devices. The video gallery design is also optimized for mobile with a nice tap and swipe design.
Benefits of Using Short Video Content in This Way
If you’ve ever fallen into the Facebook Story or TikTok rabbit holes, you know that these types of short videos are super engaging. You can consume them anywhere and on any device. And because they’re so short, it’s easy to get sucked in.
That’s basically the benefit for your website – by engaging your visitors in this way, you can keep them on your site longer. For example, the developer shared a case study where a popular Japanese pet blog saw a 129% increase in desktop visit duration time after adding Short Video Gallery.
Improving these metrics can indirectly have a positive effect on your SEO because Google factors in metrics like Dwell Time into its rankings.
Examples of Short Video Gallery in Action
Because Short Video Gallery is so focused on creating an engaging experience, I think one of the most useful ways to get an idea of how the plugin works is to play around with some examples of it.
Here are two live sites where you can see Short Video Gallery in action:
You can also check out the Firework website to see lots of examples.
Hands-On With Short Video Gallery
Now that you know what the plugin does, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how it works.
Connect to Your Firework Account
When you first install the plugin, it will launch a setup wizard to help you configure all of the basics. The first step is to register for your free Firework account (or log in to your existing account if it already exists):
Choose Videos to Include in Your Gallery
Next, you need to create your first video feed. A “feed” is basically the collection of videos that you want to include in your gallery. You can choose between two different approaches:
- Easy Automatic Creation – you can automatically create a feed of videos from the Firework library based on categories or hashtags.
- Personalized Creation – you can manually select videos from the Firework library or upload your own videos (remember – the maximum is 30 seconds).
Here’s what the Easy Automatic Creation method looks like – you can check the boxes for as many categories as you want or you can use up to five hashtags in the Hashtag tab:
On the other hand, if you go with Personalized Creation, you can either:
- Upload your own video, along with assigning it a title and hashtags.
- Search for individual videos in the Firework library.
Here’s what it looks like to upload your own video:
And here’s what it looks like to search for videos. Here, I’ve searched for all the videos with the “basketball” hashtag. When you click on an individual video, you get the option to add it to your gallery:
Once you’ve selected all of the videos that you want to include, you can click the Place Feed button to add your video feed to your site.
Configure Gallery Layout and Placement
Next, you can set up the layout and placement of your gallery.
You get three different layout options:
- Row – a single row of videos inline with your content.
- Grid – a grid of videos (multiple rows) inline with your content.
- Pinned – a sticky row of videos (not inline with your content – it’s pinned there).
Then, you have two options to embed it:
- Global Embed – you can add your videos to all of the content from one or more post types. For example, you could add a gallery at the top or bottom of all your blog posts.
- Widget – you can manually place videos using a widget. For example, you could add a gallery to your sidebar.
If you opt to use the widget placement option, you’ll get a new Firework Video Gallery widget that you can use:
One thing that seems to be missing, though, is an option to manually place videos in the WordPress editor or in a page builder plugin. While you can automatically add videos to certain types of content with the global embed option, there’s not an easy way to manually place your videos in content.
Here, I think the addition of an editor block or shortcode would be a nice improvement. In the meantime, you could use a free plugin like Widget Shortcode to gain the ability to embed the Firework Video Gallery widget using a shortcode. This plugin basically adds a shortcode to each widget that lets you embed that widget in other places.
Short Video Gallery Pricing
The Short Video Gallery plugin is available for free at WordPress.org and there’s also no charge to use the Firework library. That is, there’s no charge to:
- Curate other people’s videos from the Firework library.
- Upload your own videos.
Additionally, Firework handles all of the storage and bandwidth costs for you, which is nice.
However, the caveat is that the expanded video gallery does include some unobtrusive ads from Firework. Personally, I didn’t even notice the ads at first because I was focused on the video, so I don’t think it’s a big deal.
Firework also has a publisher program that you can apply for. If your website qualifies, you can earn a share of the revenue from the ads.
Final Thoughts on Short Video Gallery
With the success of platforms like TikTok and Facebook Stories, as well as the launch of services like Quibi, I think these types of short videos are here to stay. They’re just plain engaging, which helps you keep people on your site longer.
The problem with platforms like TikTok and Facebook Stories is that their goal is to keep people on the social app for longer – not your website. Short Video Gallery lets you engage your visitors on your own site and keep them there, which is a key difference.
If you have the time to create content yourself, you can upload your own videos to use in your gallery. Or, if you’re short on time, you can also curate existing videos from the Firework library to engage your visitors that way.
Either way, it’s free, so give it a try and see if it helps your website.