Are you using alt tags for your images, optimizing your images?

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Alt TagsMany people building their own site for the first time spend all their time learning the HOW of building their site but never learn the little things they can do to “get found” in the search engines. On artist sites a good portion of the site is populated with images. It is important to make sure you use Google and Bing Image directories to the fullest. Your visitors will find your site in many different ways. They don’t always show up at the front door (your home page). So when naming your image files and when inserting them into your site you need to use the keywords that you think might get that image found.

Google Images

This is one of the easiest ways to have your artwork discovered by total strangers. Every time you add an image to your site you should include an alt tag. So what is an alt tag? It’s a little bit of code added to the image source code on your site.

The alt attribute is intended to be an alternative for the image. When we used dial up modems years ago people would sometimes turn off images in their browser preferences and the alt attribute would describe the image they can’t see. A visually impaired visitor may be using a screen reader and will hear the alt text in place of the image.

So think of them as invisible descriptions of your images. Instead of using the title of your painting use a description of the painting. What is the subject of the painting? Is it abstract, realism, mixed media? Be specific. The WordPress media uploader includes a field for alt tags. It’s so easy you have no excuses not to include an alt tag.

Optimizing your images

Optimizing an image compresses the image and reduces the overall quality and kb size; this is usually done so graphic files can be sent quickly and easily via email or displayed on websites with crisp fast opening images.

Each image you upload should be optimized first. This means it should be sized properly for the site and then saved as an optimized jpg. If you have Adobe® Photoshop you can do this by Saving for Web and Devices. Then play with the quality so that it still looks sharp but the file size is as small as can be. Each photo is different so I can’t tell you what quality to use. Some images will have a busier background and some will be more solid color. This makes a difference in the file size.

If you don’t have Adobe® Photoshop you can use Web Resizer. It is a free online tool that will help you crop, reduce image size, sharpen, resize, rotate, adjust contrast and brightness, and add a border. And it’s free.

Optimizing your images will help your site load faster. Even with fast high-speed access, you still want to deliver fast loading pages.

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