It may seem that everything has already been said on this topic, but as you will see in this post, this is far from the case. Moreover, it is almost certain that you are notably wasting its potential.
You just have to take a closer look at any blog or website to see that virtually all of them (including ours…) either barely use images or don’t do what they should with their images. images to take advantage of 100% of its potential, which is a lot as you will see in the post.
So today I’m going to talk to you about 7 key techniques that every blogger or author of any other type of web page should use with their images.
I am sure that you will especially enjoy this post because you will see that they are very “actionable” things , with immediate results and, furthermore, I know for a fact that this is one of the topics that most interests our readers that we deal with in this blog.
Using images on your website will do you great
If you have a blog or a web page, images are a necessary and essential resource to keep the attention of the public and avoid boring them.
In addition, using images significantly improves the aesthetics of the site and has collateral benefits that are not at all obvious, but very important, such as, for example, the fact of improving the positioning of the page if you know how to use the potential that images have for SEO. .
However, most authors, either due to ignorance or carelessness (and lack of time), do not use them or, at least, do not use them properly.
7 essential techniques that you must apply with the photos and images of your website or your blog
So the first technique, or first advice, should really be the advice that you actually use photos and images in your blog, at least 2 or 3 in each post, and that you dedicate those 10-15 minutes that it will take you to read this post to learn how to do it right.
1. Use the right resolution
Obviously there must also be some drawback and, indeed, there are. Apart from the fact that the use of good images obviously adds a little more effort to the creation of the content, it also has the drawback that it makes your pages heavier and with it your website slower. But do not worry because this has a solution.
First, this becomes very relative if you use good bandwidth for your web server (ie good hosting ), which you should be doing in any case. In this way, the server will not suffer easily with pages of a little more than size.
On the other hand, the images you upload should be optimized to have the minimum size possible, without appreciable loss of quality.
The most basic and effective optimization is to adapt the resolution of the image to its use on a website .
For example: the main column of this blog has a width of 700 pixels .
What sense does it make then to use an image with a width of 3,000 or 4,000 pixels ? None, right?
In fact, in this blog we use the general rule of limiting full-width images to 650 pixels .
However, a high resolution image, for example, “bareback” from your mobile, is a brutal detriment in the optimization of your page, a difference that in many cases is easily a factor greater than 10, passing, for example, from an image of 1Mbyte (very excessive) in weight to 100Kbytes (very reasonable). I have even seen websites with images of 5 or 6 Mbytes , a real nonsense with which you literally kill your website.
As a general rule, I would recommend never uploading images with a width greater than the width in pixels of the main content area of ??your website. Generally this will mean no more than 600-800 pixels wide . Exceptionally, it may make sense to upload images in high resolution if what it is about is precisely that the user can see them in high resolution. But in normal use I strongly recommend you follow the above guideline.
In the specific case of using WordPress, when uploading them they are automatically resized and with this the “fat” is automatically solved. This is already a significant relief from the problem, but still the problem is that the default WordPress resizer is not optimal : it does not usually achieve the minimum size that would be possible with other tools and the reduced images are usually more blurry than they could be. to be reduced with other tools.
For this reason, in this blog we prefer to treat them outside of WordPress as described in point 3 to upload them with the exact sizes that can be configured in the “Tools/Settings” menu . This prevents the image from being treated by WordPress for those dimensions.
2. Use the proper format
One thing that I see that practically all bloggers do wrong is not using the most appropriate image format according to the use to which they want to put that image.
There are three main formats that represent practically 100% of the formats used on the web and they are the JPG , PNG and GIF formats .
For example, for a screenshot , the JPG format is not a good option. The PNG format is better adapted to give results with a better balance of size / quality .
In this post we tell you what each format is for and how to use them well:
The most important formats for photos and digital images
3. Optimize the image (colors, sharpness, etc.)
Optimizing an image does not only consist in reducing its dimensions, but also in applying intelligent algorithms to (eg to achieve optimal sharpness of reduced images), choosing the appropriate format as I have mentioned above and reducing its color palette .
This post explains a little more in detail:
How to reduce photo size and optimize images
Good specialized tools are essential for this. Personally, my favorite is FastStone Photo Resizer , although it’s also a very good RIOT ( Radical Image Optimization Tool ) alternative. Also, on the blog of the great @Manz you have an excellent optimization tutorial based on this last tool:
The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Images
The FastStone tool does everything that is needed, it optimizes very well and, in addition, it allows you to work in batches , which leads me to a very important piece of advice : Always work in blocks .
That is, if you create a post with 4 or 5 images, do not work on each one as you get to that part of the content, leave them for the end and once the post is written, do all the work related to the images in one go: optimization , its upload to the blog, text of the legends, etc. You will see that this way you save a lot of time .
In general, and even if it is a somewhat “off-topic” comment, I recommend that you take great care of your habits as a blogger to be as productive as possible, for this I recommend this reading:
12 Ideas of how to write in a blog and take half
If you are a WordPress user , you are in luck because for WordPress there is the magnificent WP Smush.it plugin that performs this process automatically within WordPress every time you upload an image.
The results are very good, although if you want to cut very fine lines (for example to achieve maximum sharpness of a reduced image) it is better to do it outside of WordPress with the tools described above. Perhaps the most reasonable thing is to do it automatically with Smush.it as a general rule and in specific cases “by hand”.
Also take a look at our list of recommended plugins because, along with WP Smush.it, you will also find other very interesting plugins to optimize the use of images within WordPress, such as the Lazy Load plugin .
4. Use images to stimulate the reader
Looking at the more technical part of how to use images correctly on a website, let’s talk about how to use them to increase the influx of readers to your site.
The great potential that images have to stimulate the reader and capture their attention cannot be stressed enough , very few blogs take advantage of it. In this same blog we still have a task ahead of us because it is certainly not something that is implemented from one day to the next and requires a clear understanding of how to do it, which is what I am going to detail in the following points.
But the most important thing is that you understand that a website that does not use images or uses them badly is unmatched by one that does it well and, as I said, there are few that really do it well. So take advantage of it because this fact is a great opportunity to stand out from others in your niche.
So we are going to start with some techniques that very few people still use but, nevertheless, are extraordinarily effective if you know how to implement them well. And it is that in recent years a series of new functionalities have appeared in social networks that allow us to take much better advantage of the inherent potential of images to capture the reader’s attention in these media.
Enrich your social content with meta tags
I am referring, above all, to three “inventions” that are most useful:
- Twitter Cards : Twitter Cards or twitter cards are an enriched format for tweets that manages to give them a much more striking and attractive visual appearance by embedding a summary view with title , summary , author and image , etc. In addition, they include very interesting analysis tools to optimize the impact of your tweets, so you can try different formats and formulas to stay with what works best for you.
- Facebook Open Graph – Open Graph is a Facebook protocolthat allows an application to interact with Facebook social information (people, relationships, etc.). One part of this protocol implements functionality similar to Twitter Cards , which in practice means that you can control the appearance of your shared posts on Facebook .
- Integrated Pinterest ‘Pin it’ Buttons : This idea is very simple, yet effective. It consists of integrating the typical “Pint it” button in the images themselves so that when the mouse cursor is moved over the image, the button appears inviting the user to “pin” it on Pinterest . Having the button so close at hand makes it just that much more likely that the reader will be encouraged to use it. Of course, it is obviously not effective with all images, but only with those that are likely to be shared on Pinterest (fashion, recipes, infographics, etc.).
According to Neil Patel , one of the world’s most recognized experts in traffic optimization and website conversions, he managed to increase the traffic of his Facebook page by 174 % thanks to the use of Facebook Open Graph tags that they allow you to determine exactly how your timeline entries should be.
Probably this success should not be taken as a general reference, but it is certainly common sense that a greater visual appeal of content shared on social networks has a notable impact on the clicks received . And best of all, the effort to implement is small because once again there are multiple free options to implement this functionality on your site.
In the case of a WordPress blog, for example, you have many plugins that make this job easier, for example:
- WordPress SEO : Includes the necessary functionality to integrate the Twitter Cards and Facebook Open Graph tags.
- WordPress Social Sharing Optimization : A specialized meta tag integration plugin, supports Google+ , LinkedIn , Facebook Open Graph , Pinterest Rich Pin , and Twitter Card tags .
- jQuery Pin It Button For Images : This Pinterest plugin overlays a “Pin it” button on images when you mouse over them.
In the event that your website is not made with WordPress, take a look at the references at the end of the post where you will find posts explaining how to implement this “by hand” on any web page.
The trick of images with text
One of the best tricks I’ve seen in recent years to get attention and stand out on social networks that works especially well on Facebook and that we are desperate to implement in this blog, is the one commented by the great Gary Vaynerchuk in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” and which consists of three steps:
- Using large and high-quality images when sharing, they stand out from the rest and attract the reader’s attention.
- Embed in them the title of the shared content . Take advantage of the above so that the reader really sees the title of the shared content and increases its attractiveness (thanks to aesthetics combined with the image).
- Also embed the logo (if you have one) of your website to do a little “branding” of your brand.
By the way, I highly recommend this book because it analyzes in detail what can be done in each of them to stand out from the rest. It’s an excellent collection of ideas and people of Pat Flynn ‘s reputation attest that they really work with their own results . Not surprisingly, Gary Vaynerchuck has the reputation of being one of the most competent people in the world at the moment when it comes to social media marketing .
It is true that it takes some extra work to create these types of images, but with a little skill and practice it can be reduced to minutes over time.
On the other hand, think of a general principle of blogging and the publication of content in general on any website is that the work on your post does not end when you hit the publish button, it is actually when it begins . If after spending hours creating content you do not also make an effort to promote it, you are making bread with some cakes.
Why invest so much in a job if then you don’t find the readers you deserve?
6. Take advantage of images for SEO
Many people are not aware that not only the content is positioned, but also the images. In fact, Google also considers among its 200 positioning factors those related to images.
On the other hand, if you want to do things well as a blogger, you should acquire, at least, the basic knowledge to do a good SEO On Page of those contents that have positioning potential for Google searches and other search engines.
Well, here ‘s an open secret SEO trick :
Positioning in Google images is much easier than doing it through text content because much less people do it, so take advantage of this to indirectly position your content. The good thing about this is, furthermore, that if you have already done On Page SEO work for your page, you can “recycle” it for images as well, and thus get more out of your blog.
One facet of this that I especially like is that it will allow you to position yourself in searches (niches) in which, due to their level of competition, it is impossible for you to position yourself through the “conventional” way of text content.
By way of images you are not going to get spectacular organic traffic, but it is a traffic bonus that is appreciated.
To do this, a good technique that we also follow here (recently for not having put our batteries before) consists of choosing a characteristic image of the post (typically the header) to position it with the same keywords as those of the post . To do this you must use the keywords in:
- The filename of the image.
- The “alt” attribute of the image , “alt text” in WordPress.
- The “title” attribute of the “title” image in WordPress. There is some debate about whether this attribute really positions or not, but it won’t cause any harm, it doesn’t cost anything to do it and it gives an additional touch of professionalism to the site (when you hover the mouse over the image, that text appears as an the picture).
- Try to use the keywords (and/or synonyms for those keywords) near the image , including the caption.
Finally, I leave you here a reading that will come in handy for all this:
7. Use quality fonts and respect copyright
The last technique, or better said, principle in this case is that you take great care of the quality of your images. If you apply the previous techniques with low quality images, they will lose much of their effectiveness or even lose it completely.
Quality means that the image is good, creative, capable of drawing attention (positively), etc. and have a good finish (looks sharp, etc.)
The best thing you can do is use an image bank , for example, we work with Shutterstock , which has been the best provider for us (especially Shutterstock) with more than 100 million excellent quality images to search from.
Anyway, on our resources page you can also find free image banks that we also use sometimes. Although the truth is that today there are only very few free images that really look professional quality.
In this way you will also avoid falling into a violation of copyright that could have consequences since the images cannot simply be taken from Google without more to use them on your website as the vast majority of people do and, in addition, pulling free or paid resources such as those mentioned you have no need to fall into this error.
On the other hand, using a reverse image search tool like Tiny Eye to trace the origin of an image will allow you to shed additional light on its copyright status.
If you are “underusing” images on your website, you should reserve a slot in your schedule to dedicate yourself intensively to turning this topic around because good work can have a very positive impact on your site.
Internet suffers from serious infotoxication , it is a site full of noise which is increasingly difficult to penetrate to get your content to the user.
What you need to achieve it is to differentiate yourself from the mass . A very effective way to do it is through the use of images seasoned with a touch of creativity, something in which the techniques that I have told you here will help you a lot.
But remember: the sine qua non condition for the success of your site remains the quality of its content . All the tricks that I have told you here will simply not help you at all if at the end of the road the reader finds something that is not up to par.