Using images in blog posts are cool. Images are catchy.
They catch the attention of the reader quickly at a glance, and faster than your content itself.
Tell me, where did your eyes go when you landed on this page?
On the image to the left, right?
Yup, images are attention grabbers, even if they’re not relevant to the topic of the blog post – just like this one above!
Images can be thought provoking, funny or naughty and can
engage hook your readers easily without much effort.
Or they can be totally unrelated to the post, yet can be simply used to grab reader’s attention.
Once the blogger (I) has managed to fix my reader’s (you) eyes, 30% of the work is already done. I can make my readers read the first sentence of my blog post! YAY!
Using images in blog posts is in general good for the content you are delivering.
By optimizing your images for search engines you could rank well also in image searches; that is you could get a significant amount of traffic from image searches.
Lets see how you can do it.
Give a relevant, descriptive title and file name to the image. Don’t be too descriptive though.
You may use a one vital keyword and not much.
Further always check if you have changed the file name of the image file before you upload it.
If you leave it unchanged, it might be the default name given by your camera or the image processing software- it might be something like DSC0078… this is seriously doing nothing for search engines.
You waste a good opportunity to get noticed!
Your ‘alt’ tag is the place where you can really do some good feed for the search engines.
Describe the picture elaborately by using relevant keywords.
Also in order to use keywords, don’t just put irrelevant keywords that are not at all related to the image and the topic.
Your image will appear in search engine results for image search and if people search for bicycles and find your image of chocolates, that would be irrelevant and annoying!
Be honest and avoid misleading terms or keywords.
If you are using WordPress, you can download the free plugin ‘SEO Friendly Images‘ that automatically puts in the appropriate alt tags for your images.
Image format and size
Use the commonly accepted formats when uploading image files – jpg, png and gif are recommended.
While it is true that highly quality, glossy and eye catching effects of the images are cool, such effects come with mega size; your site’s loading time may get a big hit if you upload such images.
Quality is important, but also is the size. Reduce image sizes before using them in your blog.
Use the ‘save for the web’ option always if you are saving from Photoshop or other image processing software.
Images in Flickr are easily findable through searches, thus giving your images a wider stage. Make sure you search at http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ to make sure the images come with a Creative Commons license.
Final word of caution: Using images is good but do not use too many of them. You could distract your readers from the content.
List of useful WordPress plugins for images
SEO Friendly Images – Automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes for SEO purposes.
Max image size control - Avoid too large and poor layout of displayed images. This plugin helps you to set maximum size for images.
Faster image insert – You don’t have to wait for the thickbox to upload your images. This plugin puts a meta box besides your main editor and makes things easier for you.
WP Image Tagger – Tags can be added to posts and pages for enhanced accessibility but this option is not for images. This plugin comes to your rescue.
Hotlinked Image Catcher – Protects your images from being stolen and forbids them from displaying elsewhere, thus saving you bandwidth.
Watermark reloaded – Automatically adds a watermark to uploaded images.
You spend a lot of time and effort in crafting your blog post, right? Why not present it in an attractive manner with one or two images?
So if you’re a blogger who doesn’t use images at all, I’m surprised; given that Pinterest is generating a lot of IM interest. Get started with decorating your blog posts with nice images.
Your content deserves a nice presentation – give it that treatment.
Now, if you’re using images, why don’t you use it effectively to boost your visibility in search engines?
Remember, image search results not in 10 but a LOT more results than that. Why not use it for your advantage?
I’m sure none of the tips I mentioned above are going to take hours to implement. Don’t miss out.