Today I’ve got the lovely Eve from Beautiful Spit Up here to share killer tips about using pictures on your blog. Eve’s a self-proclaimed Momcomm stalker. The first time she posted a comment to me, her personality just endeared me to her. We’ve been blog buds ever since. Also? She’s one awesome marketing chick. Enjoy!
Photo sharing. It’s like crack to bloggers. Am I right? We all love sharing cute photos of the kids, awesome 4th of July fireworks pics and food porn money shots. With all this sharing going on via sites and apps like Instagram, Flickr and Photobucket, we often fail to remember that not all photos are created equal.
Some photos work for you and some actually work against you. I’m here to help you whip those slacker photos into shape and get them to earn their place on your blog. Here are three things you should know in order to get your photos to work for you.
1. Don’t Bore Your Readers
While uploading photos is a fun way to break up the content in a post, I have a shocker for you. Remember those awesome pics of you and the kids at the beach this summer? They may very well be boring your readers.
Before you freak out, let me explain. Look at these two photos:
Which one is more visually appealing? The one with the drop shadow and rounded edges, right?
The first photo, while nicely taken, is flat. Boring. Meh. The second photo has those little details that help it “pop” within a blog post. It stands out more and therefore the eyes are drawn to it. It’s not boring!
Software like iPhoto, Microsoft Photo Editor and Photoshop are great for making edits, but if you don’t have any type of photo editing software, don’t worry. You can always use Picnik.com for editing those photos you just have to share. It’s free, easy to use and makes editing a breeze. (and no, I don’t work for Picnik.com)
Making a few minor enhancements to your photos will go a long way in engaging your readers. And since we all want more engaged readers, it’s a good idea to devote some time to photo editing. (For a quick tutorial on how to use Picnik.com, see the video below.)
2. Google is Dumb
Do you want to know a secret?
Go buy Melissa’s eBook and then I’ll tell you.
OK, OK, I’ll tell you now…
Google can’t see photos. (Gasp!) What? Yep, that’s right. Google’s bot (the one that scans your site for keywords and whatnot) can’t see photos. Watch out Sir Mix-a-Lot, there’s a big but.
BUT… Google CAN read file names!
What does that mean? It means that although Google can’t see the photo, it can get information about what it depicts from the file name.
Again, what does this mean? It means if you give a photo a name using keywords from your post, you’ll be able to bypass Google’s dumbness (yes, that’s totally a word) and describe the photo via the file name.
Looking at the above photos, you’ll see the file name in the caption and when you mouse over each image.
The first image is named “IMG3112.jpg.” What does that tell Google about the image? Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. It may as well not even be there. From an SEO standpoint, it adds no value. (Although it’s jam-packed with deliciousness!)
The second image is named “chicken-risotto-vegetables.jpg.” What does that tell Google about the image? It tells Google the image is of chicken, risotto and vegetables. Score!
Assuming you’ve optimized the rest of your post, if someone googles good recipes for say, chicken and risotto, they might just land on your blog post. That’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at its finest, kids!
If you’re like me and use tons of photos on your blog, you can easily add oodles of SEO value to your posts by simply taking a few minutes to edit the file names.
3. Size Really Does Matter
When it comes to uploading photos to your blog, size really does matter.
Photos shouldn’t be too large, and shouldn’t be high resolution. How do you know if a photo is too large for web use? If you can print it and it looks just as crisp printed as it does on the screen, then you have a problem.
Online photos shouldn’t look crisp when you print them. They should look slightly fuzzy. I suggest using the following attributes: 72 dpi resolution and less than 50 kb in “file size” (number of megabytes/kilobytes required to save the image).
The reason we want a smaller file size and lower resolution is so the images load quickly on the page and the don’t take up a ton of space on your site’s server.
If you have an image that’s already set at 72 dpi, but is much larger than 50 kb in file size, it’s probably a really large image. Shrink the size and see if the file size is lessened.
If it is still too big in file size, you may want to check the file extension. Formats such as BMP, PNG or TIF files do not compress images, meaning they don’t flatten the layers and pixels. That means a really large file size. Saving as a JPG, allows you to choose the amount of compression you want before saving the image.
By using JPG compression, you can keep the physical size of the image the same and reduce the amount of disk space required to save it. Keep in mind that doing so will sacrifice a little bit of the image’s quality. When compressing images, be careful not to lower the quality so much so that your images end up looking pixilated. Nobody likes a pixilated image. It’s so 1996.
For more deets on how to implement the above suggestions, I have a video tutorial for you. I show you how quick and easy it is to edit your photos on Picnik.com.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Happy uploading, kids!
Eve Zafiropoulo (@BeautifulSpitUp on Twitter) is a full-time marketing manager and has a B.S. in Public Relations and an M.S. in Advertising. She has a 17-month-old son and when she’s not busy blogging at Beautiful Spit Up or cooking something deliciously awesome, she can be found running around with her husband and son, drinking iced coffee or lurking on Facebook.