Have you ever wondered whether you even need to use images on a website and blog posts? Well, you do.

Images emphasize the title or subject of the post, will trigger a visitor to read the post, since the first view isn’t just text. Images are also important for what are called “OpenGraph tags” and “Twitter Cards,” which will add the image to our social shares.

In another lesson, you discover the value of lengthier blog posts, and who wants to open a web page to see 1500 or 2000 words and no pictures. Many people glaze over at a page of any length filled with text and missing colorful, eye-catching pictures.

So, let’s get to it.

First,

FIND THE IMAGE

You are going to want to use a relevant image that matches your text every time. With that in mind, the 3 main sources for images are

  1. Stock graphic online sources like iStock or Shutterfly. They sell a huge variety of images and videos that range from low quality to the highest quality.
  2. Creative common images, which can be found at search.commons.org. Be sure that you follow the stated copyrights for the images you use and give proper credit.
  3. Use your own photos! This is really the best option, especially if you can get some high quality images. In house photos are much more engaging and give you more credibility. They also help the visitor connect with you better, which can lead to better engagement, more clicks, opt-ins, and sales.

PREPARE THE IMAGE

Regardless of where you got your image, when you save your image file, save with the keyword phrase in the file name, placing hyphens or underscores between the words so that search engines recognize the text.

Make sure image dimension matches the image size as displayed. If your image is going to appear on your website 480 pixels wide and 200 pixels high, save your image to that size.

If you’re not familiar with editing images, it is important to note that when “resizing” an image, ALWAYS constrain the proportions. This means that when you change the width of the image, the height automatically changes in proportion to the height. You don’t want your images look like they came from the funhouse at the carnival, so always constrain the proportions when resizing.

Cropping allows you to take a bit off the sides or top and bottom of an image. The image size remains the same, but you’re able to trim it to the dimensions that you need.

With that in mind, you have a few options to resize and crop your image to the correct size.

You can use an online service such as CanvaPixlr.com, or . Another option is a free and robust imaging program called Gimp. It works like Photoshop, but is a bit more difficult to use. It has a lot of the features and works very well if you are somewhat familiar with image editing programs.

My favorite option, and the one that I use, is a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I pay about $10 per month and just subscribe to the photo editing programs, but they give you very affordable access to the most amazing programs and have different packages available. They also offer student discounts. With the Creative Cloud, I’m able to touch up images to look very professional with Lightbox (which is what many professional photographers use), then I edit and do the initial optimization for sizing with Photoshop. I’ve used Photoshop for years, and it really is the industry standard. (You’ll get a link to Adobe’s Creative Cloud when you download the transcript at the end of this lesson)

The next step is to use a program like ImageOptim or JPEGmini to reduce the file size of your image in a way that is called “losslessly.” When an image is reduced “losslessly” it is saved as a smaller file without losing any image quality. I use the EWWW Image Resizer plugin for WordPress.

Reducing the file size of every image is critical because larger files make your website slower. Slow, sluggish websites send visitors away from your site – it repels them at an alarming rate.

Next: How to Optimize Images On A Website