Pressware Image Widget is a new plugin by Tom Mcfarlin, of Pressware, that makes it really simple to add an image to a widget. While there are plenty of existing plugins that provide similar functionality, Pressware Image Widget stays close to the core of WordPress and is a no frills approach to the problem. The plugin is a result of a few projects Mcfarlin has worked on to provide clients an easy way to upload images through the media library into a widget.
After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll need to browse to Appearance > Widgets and locate the Pressware Image Widget. Drag the widget to a sidebar of your choice. When you click the upload button, the same pop up window used for inserting an image into a post will appear. You can either use an image that already exist or upload a new image to the media library. The image will automatically be proportionate to the width of the sidebar.
You can use multiple instances of the widget to display multiple images on the front end of the site. You can tell which image is being used in the widget by its title.
One feature missing from the plugin that I’d find valuable is the ability to set a URL. This would make it easy to point people to a specific post using its featured image. Or, I could use a sidebar to highlight a collection of posts using images instead of text. Being able to set a URL for the image opens up more possibilities to use the widget.
The Business Model Behind Pressware Image Widget
The plugin is available for free on the WordPress plugin directory but if you need support or want to access additional features, you’ll need to purchase the commercial version available on Pressware.co. The pro version doesn’t have any distinctive features over the free one but that will change as Mcfarlin plans to release an update next month. Mcfarlin outlines the reasons for two different versions and explains why having a free version will build brand awareness. However, he also mentions that the business model around the plugin is a bit of an experiment.
To be honest, it’s all a bit of an experiment to see how it goes, but that doesn’t change the fact that a significant amount of effort has gone into trying to create a well-architected, lightweight, easy-to-use plugin that helps users add images to their sidebar.
Whether or not this particular approach will work is yet to be proven, so I’m eager to see it play out.
I asked Mcfarlin how he’ll decide which features are added to the free or commercial product. “In short, the plugin has a roadmap right now of a few more things to add. However, the majority of the features will be relegated to premium customers“, Mcfarlin said. He plans on managing both products based on value. Despite being subjective, the more valuable features will be developed into the commercial product. Users of the commercial version are granted access to features first with an eventual delivery to the free version.
Is this something you can see yourself using on client sites? If you decide to try out this plugin, let us know about your experience in the comments. Also, what features would you like to see added to Pressware Image Widget that you’d consider paying for?