If you only have one or two pictures in a post it may not be noticeable but I’ve often been surfing through my favorite blogs and found posts with five or more pictures and have been a little frustrated at how slowly they load. And even if you only have one picture per post if you have a week's worth of posts on your home page that means seven photos are downloading every time someone visits.
When the pages load so slowly I tend to get a little impatient—kind of like standing and waiting for an elevator to arrive—and I have to control the urge to click my mouse repeatedly as I wait, rather like pushing the “up” button on the wall hoping to speed the elevator’s arrival.
What will help? Optimize your pictures. Optimize them I say! Your life will be blessed and happy—or at least the lives of your readers—and I’m going to tell you how:
Never post pictures straight from Photoshop or Picasa or whatever photo organizer you’re using. Save the images as smaller files and they’ll download faster. How? Well in Blogger I upload my photo into my post draft, preview the post, right click on the preview photo and save the photo as a smaller image by clicking "Save Image As" (this saves it as a smaller file automatically without you having to resize it yourself). Then I throw out the old photo and re-upload the smaller file. The smaller file uploads in a fraction of the time and gives you an idea of how much time you’ll be saving your readers.
But wait, there’s more! The second important thing to realize about images on your blog is that each image you post is a chance to get the search engines' attention. Don’t publish that post without giving it a title and an alternate name. If you go into the HTML for the post and photograph file you’ll see a place where it says:
What that is is a place for a title so that in the event your photo cannot be found (problems with the server or whatever) an alternate phrase can be published. You can also gives your photo a title so that when a cursor hovers over the photo a title will be displayed (try it on the photo in this post to see what I mean).
However, it is also helpful for search engine optimization (SEO) because the search engines will read whatever key words you carefully and thoughtfully choose to place between those quotation marks. And you are being thoughtful and careful in your keyword choices, right? Go back and read my Ten SEO Tips post if you’re not.
So go to the HTML of your photos and add an alternative phrase between those quotation marks then also insert a title (and I always make them the same). When you're done it should look something like this:
alt="Lupin in Alaska" title="Lupin in Alaska"
And that’s it, you’ve optimized your photo and will get that much more weight with the search engines. So go now—use those smaller files, title your pictures! Your readers will rejoice and you will too when you see your Google hits begin to increase.
Oh, and here's something that may be of interest. With my parents moving to India I've signed up for Skype--a way to make phone calls via computer. It's free to download and free for calls between Skype users so if you've got it and are feeling chatty you can find me filed under my email address: scribbit at gmail.com or under my Skype user name, AlaskaScribbit. If I'm at the computer I'll answer. It would be good to take a break from blogging once in a while.
Wednesday is the last day for July's Write-Away Contest. Have you entered yet? The topic is Adventure.
Technorati tags: Alaska, SEO, blogging, Google, Skype