Pictures tell a story. They make your blog posts interesting and engaging. But suppose using images in WordPress can also boost your SEO, site speed, and social shares. Well, they can! Here are our best practices tips for using images in WordPress for the most impact and the best user experience.
Proper Image Size
Don’t upload a huge image and then shrink it down in the post editor. This creates unnecessary load on your server and will make your site perform slowly, which causes visitors to hit the back button and Google dislikes. Instead, resize and crop your images to the size you want them to appear in an image editor before you upload them.
Similar to the point above, you should save your images as “progressive” jpg files in your image editor. This also optimizes your site’s speed and performance.
When you save the photo, save it with a descriptive name. Not IMG_1023.jpg! For best SEO practices, I would name it similarly to your post title or a main keyword you’re trying to rank for.
Using Alt Text
Once you upload it to your WordPress post, assign it some similar, keyword-targeted “Alt Text”. This is beneficial for SEO. Personally, I usually make the file name, title, and alt text match, as shown above.
Images are great for breaking up a long post into sections, especially when used with subheadings and bullet points. However, don’t overload the page with too many images. That can make the page load slowly. If at all possible, keep it simple and relevant.
However, if you do use a lot of images, use a lazy load plugin like this free one. What this does is keep images farther down on the page from loading until the reader has scrolled to it. This can work wonders for speeding up initial page load time.
Royalty Free / Stock Images
For stock images, I personally go to 123rf.com. You can also get free royalty-free images from the Flickr Creative Commons. Be sure to read the image descriptions just in case the photographer/owner of the image has specific instructions for its use, such as a link back. It’s always good to give credit!
Featured Images in WordPress
For featured images, think about whether they draw your readers in. You want to use an image here that will make your readers want to click on that post to find out more, keeping them on your site for longer periods of time.
Infographics are incredibly popular, especially on sites like Pinterest. A highly pinned image from your site can send positive social signals to Google, and people might even see it and backlink to your post containing the infographic from their own blogs. YWe’ve successfully used infogaphics such as in this post. You can make your own infographics in any image editor, or have someone do it for you at Fiverr or Piktochart. There is also an infographic maker tool at Infogr.am, which we used to create the infographic below. (You must pay for a membership to be able to download your infographics, though.)
Using Images in WordPress – Conclusion
These are some pretty varied tips that cover a lot of ground, but that was the point! Do you have any pointers or “best practices” you use when using images in WordPress? Let everyone know in the comments below!