How do you use images on your website? Early websites were text-heavy, with a few images sprinkled throughout the pages. Today’s websites have large, high-quality photos that dominate every page of your site. Finding the right ones are essential. Unfortunately, many people take shortcuts that are not in line with best practices. Here are some things to keep in mind when gathering and using images for your site.
Avoid Google Images
It is easy to do a Google search and find pictures that would look great on your site. Unfortunately, most of the images you see will be under copyright. If you use one of them, it can lead to a lawsuit with a hefty fine. There are much better ways to find images for your site, including:
- Taking your own pictures
- Purchasing images from one of the many sites that sells them
- Using open-source images
How to use open source images
There are several great ways to find open-source images on the web. One great source is Unsplash. While these images are free and don’t require any attribution, giving the photographer and Unsplash credit is the right thing to do. To learn more about attribution, check out Grow’s article, “7 Best Sources for Finding Open Source Images For Your Blog.” This article includes ideas of where to look and some crucial things to keep in mind when using open source images.
Investing in an image warehouse
There are many websites where you can pay a small fee for the right to use their image on your site. You can choose to pay a monthly fee for multiple (and even unlimited) photos or pay per image.
Check out this article by Bluleadz.com for, “The 25 Very Best Stock Image Websites You Need in 2020 to Add Visual Flair.” By buying the right to use images, you can be assured that you are legally safe and ethically sound.
Using Alt Tags, Descriptions, and Image Title Tags
Often people focus on SEO for the words on their website without taking advantage of the benefits that come from optimizing their images. You can bring traffic to your website using proper alt tags, descriptions, and titles on your photos.
Alternate text is an accessibility tool that tells visually impaired users to know the image by enabling screen readers to read them the alt text for the picture. Have you ever had a broken image on your site? When this happens, you see a little box with a few words next to it. Those words are the alt text. In this situation, they even benefit non-visually impaired users by sharing what they should be seeing. You can find out more about Alternative Text and how to use it in WPBeginner’s “Beginner’s Guide to Image SEO – Optimize Images for Search Engines.”
Image Descriptions and Title Tags
An image description also assists the visually impaired, but it is more detailed than alternative text. When optimizing images, don’t choose one or the other, but include both. An unlikely source for how to do this well comes from the American Anthropological Association. Check out their fascinating guide. And WP Promote shares why optimizing the image title is vital. It would be best if you always changed the image file name. Find out why and how in their guide.