Optimizing Photos for Your Blog
Have you ever visited a blog or a website and in the place where a photo should be you can see it slowly loading? This is because the photo size was not first reduced for web use. Here are a few things you need to know when using photography on your blog.
- Start With Great Photos: Of course there is room for that “I saw this and had to snap a photo with my cell phone.” pic. However, it really bothers me when I am at an event and someone has only their cell phone to take pics. If you cannot afford a super cool DSLR at the time, invest in a good Point and Shoot camera. People love blog posts with great pics. And they love Flickr.
- Make Your Photos Your Own: We have all heard the story of how Danielle Smith’s family photo got “borrowed” for a billboard in the Czech Republic. Well, not only do people steal photos in that manner (which was extreme!!), they steal them to use in their own posts, without giving credit. This cannot be totally prevented because savvy people will figure out a way to do it if determined. But, it can be helped. If you take a lot of photos, you should watermark them, or copyright them before uploading to Flickr. Depending on the software you are using, this can be very easy. If you need specific details, just ask.
- Resize The Photos: Yes, this should be common knowledge, but you would be surprised. This tip is the most important one. Please shrink those pics before putting them in your posts. A photo in a blog post does not need to be more than 500 pixels wide. This is what fits best in the common narrow themes that most blogs use. If you have ever visited a website and watched the photos load, that is because they are too big. This causes your whole site to load slowly, and may cause visitors to leave. Again, depending on the software, this is easy. A great tool that I have used for years to easily shrink a batch of pics at once is Mihov Image Resizer.
- Add Cool Effects: I don’t do this nearly enough. There are a tons of very cool things you can do to your photos to make your photo footprint unique across the web. This can include borders, filters, or the watermark mentioned above. There are several free filters for Photoshop available to accomplish this, or you can invent your own look.
- Optimize for SEO: This includes tagging the photo, and filing in the ALT field. This helps if someone searches for a photo using Google images. You also have the choice of filling in a caption and description.
- Delete Stale Photos: Sometimes we might try a photo in our post, but decide it’s not right and we want to go with another. In a hurry, you may forget to delete the one that is not used. This takes up space on your server and may clog your database. If using WordPress, you can quickly see which photos are not attached to a post by clicking Media in your Dashboard and then Unattached at the top. These are photos not attached to a post. However, some of them may be in use in your sidebar, or for ads, so be careful what you delete.
These tips will help make sure that photos on your site are making your visitors happy, and not making them want to flip to the next blog.
What are some of your photo tips?