If you have a food blog, a how-to website or if selling online is your thing, then you should be using images online. In fact, anyone who wants their website to get noticed these days should be using the right images. Now this sounds completely obvious, but so many websites do it wrong. Here are a few tips to help you do it right.
Rule #1 – Use Alt Text
– Make sure your images are correctly labelled by using Alt tags on your images. An Alt tag is a text alternative to an image and looks like this:
< img src="..." alt="describe your image" >
It helps by providing an image description for when that image doesn’t load, but it’s also picked up by Google and adds to your page ranking. To keep it easy, look out for image plugins that allow you to easily add alt text without worrying about the HTML.
– If you’re using thumbnails, remember to use a different alt tag on these to your larger images, to avoid people being directed to the thumbnails rather than the main images.
– If you’re showing different angles of the same product, use a base Alt tag, with descriptions added on for each different view. So if you have a food blog, your base tag might be ‘Pizza’, with descriptions added, like ‘Pizza with meatballs and jalapeno’ or ‘Pizza topped with bacon and caramelised onion’.
Rule #2 – Use Your Own Images
– Using your own images is the easiest way to get unique pictures while avoiding copyright issues. Having your own professional photos taken may cost a little, but is a worthwhile exercise. You may even want to get a professional logo or site mascot designed, like Foo Plugins’ FooBot. This mascot is recognizable and populates the website and social media pages, which works well for generating brand recognition. Other options include paying a subscription for good quality stock images, or using free stock photos; just be sure to avoid using common, run-of-the-mill, staged photos.
– Wherever you get your photos, make sure you have the right to use them. Copyright infringements can be costly. If the images you’re using are free, be sure to attribute them to the source.
– E-commerce sites, or sites for something like a wedding venue, need to use good-quality images that accurately reflect the product. When your customers order products, they expect to get what they see. What happens when they don’t? Apart from leaving your customer dissatisfied, you may end up getting a bad reputation or losing a customer.
Rule #3 – Summarize Your Content With Images
– Use your images to speak for you and to explain your content or products. After all, a picture can say a thousand words. Many people will look at images first, even relying on Google image searches to find what they’re looking for. If you have the right images on your website, it will generate customers for you.
Rule #4 – Resize and Optimize Your Images
– Keep your images small. Bigger images make your loading time longer. WordPress recommends making your smaller images about 30kb and your larger ones 60-100kb. If you’re using thumbnails, the sizes add up – even if all the images are small, if there’s a lot of them your website or pages will take longer to load. And if your page takes too long, potential customers will go looking for what they need somewhere else.
– We get a lot of support queries for FooGallery regarding slow page loading. Often, people are uploading 5MB images, without optimizing or resizing them. Optimizing your images can help you reduce your image sizes with no visible loss in quality. This can save you loads on bandwidth costs while improving your page load times. Before loading images resize them in photoshop or find other online tools to help.
Images Boost SEO
Using the right images, in the right way, can boost your site ranking on Google. As more people view or share your images, your ranking will improve. We’ve already mentioned how Alt tags can help with this. Image descriptions also get noticed on Google and will help your ranking, especially on Google images.
Images Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Traffic
Good images keep people interested. Using pictures that speak to your customers on a personal level will keep them coming back, looking at related blog posts and clicking through to other articles. It will also bring in new visitors.
Images Help Convert Visitors Into Customers
Using good, applicable images can convert visitors into customers. People who like what they see will stay on your website longer and become more loyal customers. This translates into more, longer page visits and a lower bounce rate. This is a bonus for most sites, but essential for e-commerce.
Images Build Customer Relationships
The right images can also build your relationship with your readers. Use photos that people can relate to; human faces for example. For a staff listing, using photos of yourself and your employees helps give a personal touch.
Use images that are relevant to your audience, which appeal to them on a personal level. They’ll feel like you care about, and understand them. This means choosing images that are unique, different and professional, and avoiding the standard cheesy stock photos that populate other websites in your field.
To sum up, every website, blog and social media page should be using images to attract and speak to your readers. But using the wrong images, or using the right ones in the wrong way, can cost you.