As we move beyond blog basics and into ways to improve your blog and SEO (search engine optimization), we need to talk about images. In previous posts I’ve touched on the need for images in your posts, but let’s dive into this topic deeper so that you’ll get an understanding of exactly why images are so important.
Beyond Blog Basics – Why Use Images?
The main reason you want to use images in your posts is because it makes your post more interesting and fun. It’s a good idea to have at least one image in each post. Another reason is that you can tag the image and this can help with SEO (it’s hard to know how much it helps your SEO but it certainly can’t hurt). I explain the tags in the video below. Use images to illustrate the ideas in your post and/or as an icon for the story in your post.
Beyond Blog Basics – Size Matters
Have you stopped snickering :)? When posting images, size isn’t as important as it once was (at least in terms of the old dial-up modem), but with people reading on their phones, you do need to pay attention to image size. The physical dimensions (the size of the image onscreen) and the file size of the image itself are important. The onscreen image is the visual impact for the reader. The actual file size determines how quickly the image transfers to the user’s machine. I won’t bore you with a lot of techie stuff, but be aware that bigger files, highly compressed files, and larger drawn images will likely take longer to load.
Beyond Blog Basics – File Types
The main file types are jpeg, png, and gif. As a general rule, use png for computer-generated graphics and jpeg for photos. From what I’m reading, gif files are being replaced by png. For smaller photos you can try either jpeg and png and see what they look like. Be aware that pictures from digital cameras can be as big as 5MB or more, so you might want to resize and/or compress these files. Otherwise you risk the pictures taking a long time to load on a user’s machine (and you might irritate them and they’ll leave your blog before reading your lovely post). Also be aware that WordPress and other tools will let you display your image in a smaller area, but this doesn’t mean the image file size is smaller, so you still run the risk of a longer download.
Beyond Blog Basics – Scale And Crop
It can be difficult to scale and crop your images (at least in WordPress). You want an image that doesn’t look fuzzy if you’ve stretched it. Rather than writing a bunch about this, I would encourage you to use the standard sizing for your images, or crop them in another program before uploading into your blog. In the video I show the basics of uploading and cropping images in WordPress.
Beyond Blog Basics – The Description
Here’s the area that I think bloggers miss, but this can be important for you SEO (how much impact is debatable). First, make sure you change the title of your image, and it doesn’t hurt to have a caption. The ALT text is very important as well because this is displayed in text-only browsers and in specialized tools for blind readers. If it’s a book image, make sure to link it to the page where readers can buy your book. I’ll show you all of this in the video. Now to that point about SEO. When you’re creating your captions and tags, it’s important to use your keywords as this can help for SEO (SEO is how others find you when they’re searching the Internet on your topic).
Beyond Blog Basics – Examples
I’ve created a video to show you some of the things I’ve covered. I am not an expert so if any of you have tips to share, please do so in the comments.
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