A big part of your online brand is how you look. Great web designers (or well-made templates) help get you on the express train to making a site look professional and feel unique to your visitors. But slow loads and incomplete image data won’t help your organic search results. In fact, it will hurt it.
Here are some easy tips for sourcing and optimizing images for your website:
Grab the Free Images and Graphics
Images of my dog are cute, to me. While my pups have some amazing professional shots, most of what I take is a whim on my phone and if I’m lucky a filter makes them look like stars. Unless your photos directly pertain to your topic (like a how-to or my view from the balcony), then grab the freebies from the stock photo places.
Great freebie stock photo websites are:
- Little Visuals
- Barn Images
Learn to be a bit creative in the search parameters to find something that fits your theme and web pages style. The great thing is they are all pro photos and look great.
Reduce Image Sizes
While the pictures look great, they will likely be large. In fact, you can get a horrible load rate if you don’t compress pictures. Remember that your visitors are more likely to bounce (leave your site) if it takes too long to load. You attracted them there, so keep them at least for a while by reducing picture sizes.
The great things is you can compress images without losing quality. Professional images usually have a detail rating, called dots per inch (dpi) around 300 dpi. Your computer doesn’t really need anything more detailed than 72dpi to 92dpi. That’s more than a 60% reduction to save you space and load speed.
How to Reduce Image Size
If you have (and are well versed and feel like playing) image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, you can load the image and reduce the file size. Select Image>Size and a box will pop up. As you can see in the sample, the picture itself isn’t all that large in inches but is still 300dpi. We can do better.
Be Lazy and Check Out TinyJPG
This is a free site that will compress images for you to optimize them specifically for website purposes. It maintains all aspect ratios and the final product looks as amazing as the original files. Visit www.TinyJPG.com and drag and drop the image.
Our image didn’t need a ton of optimization but it doesn’t hurt to reduce it as much as possible. If you are using .png images such as custom graphics, TinyJPG has a sister site the does the same thing TinyPNG. It doesn’t the same thing for logos and other large graphics.
Do a batch if you have 5 or 6 images for a blog and then download them into your website. It’s quick and about as easy as it gets.
Complete the File Name and Tags
When you load images into your website’s media files, it will automatically name the image based on what was downloaded or saved. Rename it from CoolPhoto1.jpg (or whatever it was) to something pertinent to why it’s on your site. If the picture is of the Hoover Dam, name it hoover_dam.jpg for SEO Purposes. While you might irk at the non-capitalized version of that, Google likes that and the underscore rather than a hyphen.
SEO Image Optimization: Alt Text (Alternative Text) Field
This section reads what the image shows to someone who is visually impaired. Hey, Google is visually impaired too! He is reading it so he knows what is there. It’s an easy way to get some Google love and more viewers who get the information on your site read to them with special software.
SEO Image Optimization: Caption If It Makes Sense
I go back and forth on this. Some days or topics I want a caption to add to the content. Then there are other times I don’t bother. It can give you a little extra Google love with a keyword in there but don’t stuff things for the sake of stuffing it. It should make sense and add to your content.
It takes just a few extra minutes to optimize images and makes life so much easier for you once it is done. Digital Footprint Media is here to help you build the best possible site you can and then having it make money for you. Join the newsletter today.