This is going to be a technical one, but it’s totally worth it in order to use next week’s plugin.
The Media File Manager allows you to move files among the subdirectories of your site. Sound simple? It’s as simple as it should be. One of my biggest complaints about WordPress when I first started using it was the chaotic way in which it stored files in the backend. If I’m leasing server space, and I have access to cPanel’s File Manager, then I should be able to treat it just like I do Dropbox or an external hard drive, and create whatever folder structure makes sense to me for my site.
Suppose, for example, you have several books and you want to store all the book cover images in one place. If you’ve uploaded them all on different days (of course), then wordpress has buried them in a date-based folder scheme such as wp-uploads/2014/08/09/my-cover.jpg.
That makes it nearly impossible to organize yourself later. A year or two down the road, your Media section might contain hundreds of images, from icons to photographs to book covers etc., with no grouping whatsoever.
As this screenshot shows, the Media File Manager plugin allows you to create & delete folders, and move files among them.
Why not do all this from cPanel’s File Manager?
WordPress does not automatically recognize its own subdirectories. If you try to move a file using cPanel you’ll notice that your Media section will act as if nothing happened, and you’ll see an “image not found” error instead of your image. This is because WordPress stores the location of each file in its database. For every change you make in your folder structure, the plugin registers those changes in WordPress’s database behind the scenes.
For example, let’s say down the line you’ve published five books and hired a cover designer to redo each one for a clean, consistent second edition look-and-feel. If all your covers are in one place, then you can use cPanel to upload & overwrite the old with the new and WordPress will never even know you’ve swapped them out.
That’s the non-technical advantage to using technical tools to keep the backend of your site clean and easy to navigate.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
Victor Davis is the author of one short story collection, Grains of Sand, and is publishing a second book, The Gingerbread Collection, in the spring of 2016. He shares his writing and reading adventures at his blog Mediascover. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. His Books & Stories are available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.