This article isn’t about picking ugly pictures for your blog! And it’s also not about forgetting to credit photo sources!
Those are mistakes to avoid, but today we’ll be discussing four less obvious, but serious errors that can be even worse for your blog.
1. Post that are heavy on images and light on words
We all know how incredible Pinterest has been for bloggers. It’s the IT tool for driving traffic to your blog.
Eye-catching, pinnable images are important in driving traffic from Pinterest to your site. You should totally work your pinnable images.
But…some bloggers end up burying important post text within their post images. Or they pack their posts full of beautiful images but only write about 100 words total.
This isn’t going to cut it when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Search bots can’t ‘read’ your images. It’s just an alt tag to them (see #2 for more). Google loves meaty posts with lots of words. Posts with 1600 – 2400 words rank best in search term comparisons.
From an accessibility standpoint, posts thin on text are also an issue for your visually impaired readers as well. Your infographics or pinnable images may be packed with great bullet points or details, but a screen reader only sees the image as an alt tag, just like search bots.
A beautiful infographic or pinnable image is great for your post, but make sure you lay out the details in the actual text of the post as well. Make your post more SEO and accessibility friendly and avoid this error.
If you’ve been hiding text inside your pinnable images, there are three things you can do to fix this problem:
- Write out the text from each image in the body text,
- Add the text as an image caption,
- Or add the text of each image as alt text.
Not familiar with alt text? Then you may be guilty of image mistake #2.
2. Ignoring Alt Text
Even if your posts have the proper image to text ratio, you might be neglecting your images’ alt text, and that’s a shame!
Image alt text is important for site accessibility and SEO.
Alt text helps visitors with visual impairments. Screen readers read the image alt text as part of the body text. Providing good alt tags helps describe your pictures to your visually impaired readers.
Alt text also provides important information about your images to search engines and makes your images findable through visual search engines like Google Image Search and Bing Images. It can also help make your site more useful to visitors with very slow internet connections.
Adding Alt Text in WordPress
WordPress does a great job of making it easy for you to add alt text to your images. When you upload an image through the WordPress media uploader, you’re presented with this screen:
Whatever you type into the “Alt Text” field will become the image’s alt text. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Add Alt Text in Blogger
Blogger is just as easy to add alt text. From your post edit view, click on your image and then click the blue “Properties” link at the bottom. The following screen will appear.
Your images now make more sense to the whole Internet. Hooray!
Good alt text includes a description of what your image is about. It’s also a good place for keywords. This can help boost SEO.
3. Forgetting about color vision differences
Color perception varies from person to person. Some color combos, in particular, are difficult for many people to see.
If you have “normal” color vision, you may not realize that your favorite color combo is hard to read or totally invisible to others.
For example, black text on a red background is invisible to some people with red vision deficiency.
Thankfully, there are some online tools to simulate the different types of color perception . You can test out different color combinations before you add them to your blog.
- Check out Color Vision, a color palette picker that helps you find color combos that are universally viewer-friendly.
- You can also view a simulations of how your site looks to people with different types of color vision deficiencies at Colorfilter.
4. Using huge image files
You want your blog images to look crisp and beautiful. But many bloggers make the mistake of uploading images to their site that are far larger than they need to be.
Larger files means the images take longer to load. Site speed is an important SEO factor. Google likes sites that are faster. Period. Plus, visitors don’t want to sit around for a minute or more waiting for all your images to load. If you’ve got image heavy posts with up to 30 or more images, your post could take forever to load and internet users today just don’t have the patience to wait.
Here are some tips for optimizing your images for speed:
- Set image resolution to 72 pixels/inch. Web browsers can’t display any higher resolution.
- Images that are appropriately sized. We often see bloggers uploading images that are 3000 pixels wide or more. The post area on most blogs is between 600 to 800 pixels wide. These images are almost 4 times the size necessary. Scale them back. You can use an free online tool like resizeimage.net to scale your images to an appropriate size.
- Compress images. Compressing your images can help reduce file size by up to 50% or more! Make sure you use a lossless method for best quality. There are some great online tools for compressing your images. Favorites include compressjpeg.com which allows you to compress batches of images. You can control output quality versus file size. Compressor.io has a really clean and easy to use interface that has a great Before/After preview.
Making sure your files don’t slow down your site will help improve your site speed, SEO and bounce rates.
Sum It Up
Above are four ways you can improve your site accessibility and SEO by correcting four common image mistakes bloggers make. Make sure your images a properly optimized with proper image file size, alt text, color schemes and by including text within the post as well as in your images