Long gone are the days of building a website which was 98% text, think sites from 1998, with the occasional little image thrown in for good measure. If you don’t remember, or perhaps are too young, here’s an example. I know, gasp.
Nowadays, website rely very heavily on images. They help with branding, make your site aesthetically pleasing, supplement your text or just add a dash of humour.
But, images tend to be one of the most overlooked – and easiest – things to tweak to improve your site speed and your SEO. Yep, I’ll show you a few techniques that you can start employing asap.
Resize your images
A huge factor in loading time of your website is how many bytes of data need to load and photos can eat into this big time. If you need to pop and image into a blog post and it’ll be show as 600px x 600px, then resize the image to be those dimensions right off the bat. Don’t upload at 2000px x 2000px and get the website to resize.
Choose the correct file type
The primary web file formats are gif, jpeg, and png files.
My rule-of-thumb is that for photos use jpeg and for other images I use png (background textures, logos, etc) . PNG also allows for transparency – think your logo, as you may need to overlay it on a coloured background.
Rename your images
What does this file name tell Google N34V7892200K.jpeg – a big fat nothing! Remember the search engine, while as smart as they may seem, are pretty dumb. Search engine crawlers read text and that’s about it. So, tell them exactly your image is red-wool-sweater.jpeg or how-to-read-to-your-kids.pngSearch engine crawlers read text and that's about it. Getting my SEO on with #mamapreneur Click To Tweet
Add alt tags
This one goes hand-in-hand with file naming as it accomplishes a similar feat. This is another opportunity to tell Google what your image is about (using text of course). Alt tags or Alternative tags give you a second chance to describe what your image is about. For example, your alt tag can be “Warm wool sweater for the winter” or “5 tips to get your kids to read”. See how they are similar to the file name we selected, but slightly different.
This isn’t the most common technique, but well worth your efforts, as last I heard people are 300% more likely to read a caption under a photo than the main body text of your article or blog post. Wowza, time to start adding captions!
WAIT! What if I have a bunch of images already on my site? How do I fix them?
For image sizing, I recommend using WP Smush. It is easy to use and will fix up all your image size issues.
If you are looking to rename your files, check out Phoenix Media Rename, I have used it with great success. Once you upload and activate it, navigate to your media library and you’ll the option to quickly rename your files.
**you should always run a test. Pick a post with an image, go to rename that image, save it and then reload the blog post – do you still see the image? perfect!**
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