When I started blogging in 2006, high speed internet wasn’t that common, so a lot of people were using slow dial-up connections. Because large pictures could slow things down so much that you’d lose visitors, most bloggers either didn’t bother or they used very small images. How things have changed!
Now it’s rare to see a blog post with small photos or without any at all. Instead, we’re seeing posts with large images, and often multiple images in the same post.
Although these trends make your blog more visually appealing, you shouldn’t just upload photos like there’s no tomorrow.
Depending on your camera, a digital photo file can be anywhere from 1 MB to 6 MB or more, and each file you upload uses space in your hosting account. Even companies who offer “unlimited storage” have restrictions if you read the fine print. The files may be “in the cloud” but they’re stored on a hard drive somewhere, and hard drives can only hold so much data. Go over your allotment, and you’ll have to upgrade to a more expensive hosting package. That’s money out of your pocket!
Furthermore, it takes longer to load a large file than a small one, so uploading full size images can have a negative impact on your website’s performance. Nobody likes a slow website – not potential clients, and not Google. More money out of your pocket!
There’s no reason for your images to be any wider than the content section of your blog. If you don’t know how wide it is, ask your web designer. You don’t have to make them that large if you don’t want to, but make sure they’re large enough to add visual appeal and to look good on Pinterest and other social media sites.
Resize your photos before you upload them to your blog using PicMonkey or the photo editing software of your choice.
Once you’ve resized it, save it as low resolution – you don’t need high resolution for online use.
Name your photos
When you’re saving those edited photos, be sure to give them a name that explains what the image is about. There are a couple of reasons for doing this.
Search Engine Optimization
If the file name is IMG_2544, Google has no way of knowing what it represents. If it’s a photo of a closet organizing system, name it closet-organizing-system or closet-organizer to increase the likelihood that your blog post will come up when someone searches on that term.
Have you ever wanted to re-use a photo that you’d uploaded for a previous blog post? With meaningless file names, you have to either waste time looking for it in your Media Library or waste space by uploading it again. If your file name is related to its content, you can take advantage of the Media Library’s search function to find it quickly and easily.
Tag your photos
When you add images to WordPress, a number of fields appear on your screen. Two of them are very important, so don’t ignore them.
There are three reasons to include alt text:
- It provides information about the image to people with a visual impairment who are using a screen reader.
- It helps Google to understand what the image and surrounding content are about (in other words, it helps your SEO).
- In some browsers, the alt text appears when someone mouses over the picture.
The title tag isn’t as important as alt text, but it does appear in some browsers when someone mouses over the picture, and it only takes a second to add it, so why wouldn’t you?
Don’t steal photos
There are tons of sites where you can get low cost and free photos for your blog. Google Images is not one of them! My friend, Marie Mushing recently wrote an excellent article on Photo Choices for Your Website and Copyright Laws.
Give credit where credit is due
Even if you obtain your images from an authorized source, you may be required to give attribution and/or link back to the original site. Make sure you read and obey the terms of the license.
Remove useless links
By default, when you upload an image to WordPress, it links it to the file itself, so if the reader clicks on the photo, it will open on the same screen. There’s no reason to do this unless you’re displaying a smaller version and want people to be able to see more details in the full size version. Simply change it to link to “None.”
I admit it, this link probably doesn’t hurt anything; it’s just one of my pet peeves. 😉
Take a look at your last few blog posts. How many of these Best Practices are you following?
Image © apid/ DepositPhotos
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