Using Photos and Images on Your Website

Take your own photos

Creative commons image by Paul Reynolds

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is as true on your website or blog as it is anywhere else. When choosing and uploading images, you need to think about what will appeal to your potential and current clients. You also need to keep some legalities and SEO strategies in mind. Here are some considerations to remember as you use photos and images on your site.

Dona��t Take What Isna��t Yours

If you type just about anything into Google and choose the a�?imagesa�? tab, youa��ll be confronted with pages and pages of images. Some of them are truly excellent! Wouldna��t it be nice if you could just stick them on your website?

Hopefully you already know that you cana��t do that. Those images might be copyrighted or have limited rights available, so you cannot just use whatever you find. To do so could get you into some trouble!

There are several ways to find images for your website if you arena��t creating them yourself. One is to set up an account with a stock photo site (Photos.com and DepositPhotos are two popular ones). You can pay as you go or pay a monthly fee to access all sorts of images. Some sites have free stock images that anyone can use. The point here is that you are using material that is free for the taking (with or without paying a fee first).

Another way is to find Creative Commons images. These are some rights reserved photos and infographics. The rules for each site differ, but most of the time, you can just give a credit to the photographer and state that it is a Creative Commons image. You can search for these on various sites; the one on this blog entry is from Flickr.

Be Relevant

As you look for images, you are going to want to choose something relevant to what you are talking about on your page. While a photo of a cuddly kitten is adorable, ita��s probably not appropriate if your blog entry is about how to install a ceiling fan. If youa��re having trouble finding an image, you can always use the caption field to tie something somewhat relevant back to your post.

File Names, Alt Text, and Title Text

When you go to upload your material, including your image, youa��ll have the opportunity to use a bit of search engine optimization. First, save the image on your computer with a file name that is relevant to your keyword. If your keyword is a�?landscapers in Idaho,a�? for example, you can use that as the file name. Dona��t leave the name as the string of numbers and letters that it was named on the photo site.

Youa��ll notice that you will have the option to include a caption. You can make it relevant to your article or use it for the photo credit. Youa��ll also have a field called a�?alt text.a�? This is the text that will appear if for some reason the photo does not load properly. You can use the keyword here, but ita��s better to describe the image in a few words.

Finally, youa��ll have one more field called a�?title text.a�? If your readers hover over your image, this is the text that will pop up. You can do various things with this; use the title of the article here, use the caption, or make up something else entirely. Again, if it makes sense, go ahead and include the keyword, but you dona��t have to.

Choosing images can be fun, but it can also be frustrating. Remember that if you cana��t find the perfect image, you might try taking a photo yourself or creating an infographic. Dona��t neglect to add some visual interest to your site or post, though; you really should have something there to attract the attention of people who are casually browsing.