Images can be powerful tools that you use on your website to put across your message. They can illustrate your point, reinforce a news story, build an atmosphere, convey an emotion or tell a story. They can even help your business to build brand loyalty or to sell a product.
Using images in your web design requires some thought and effort, as you will want to be sure that you are selecting the right pictures to convey the appropriate message. There are many things that you need to consider when using images on your website. Here are a few of the important things to keep in mind:
If you are looking for an image for your website, don’t simply Google your topic and take the first image that you find. Chances are this image might be protected by copyright and using it could get you into serious trouble.
Think of it from the other perspective. If you were a photographer who put their images up on a website and some company stole one of your photos in order to promote their brand, wouldn’t you be a little upset and feel like you deserved compensation or at least credit? There have been several cases of copyright violations situations just like this one which have gotten lawyers involved.
In order to avoid this type of hassle, make sure that you only use images which are not copyrighted such as those with a Creative Commons licence which you can find on Wikipedia’s image source, Wikimedia. If you use photos from a stock image website, make sure that you pay for them!
Image Size and Resolution
Once you have found the right photos for your web design or blog post, the next step is to upload them. In order to upload an image effectively you must ensure that it is the right file size. If it is too small then it will look grainy and poor quality on your website but if it is too big it will take forever to load. Search engines, as well as interest users, do not like website that take a long time to load! Most images should not be more than 10K, so keep your images around this limit.
If you have high resolution images such as from a good quality digital camera, try saving them at a lower resolution before uploading them to your website. Uploading an image straight from your camera will make your website take far too long to load. Alternatively, you could use a thumbnail on the main page that users can click on which will lead them to the full high quality image if they want to see it all.
File Name and Alt Tag
Another important thing to keep in mind when using images in your web design is using the file name and alt tag functions. This is because search engines cannot really “see” images. They understand what the image is by using the file name and the alt tag.
For example, if you upload a photo of a ham sandwich with the file name img_0123.jpg a search engine will not know what is in the picture. However, if the file name is ham-sandwich.jpg the search engine will be able to identify it. Also, be sure to fill in the “alt tag” when uploading the image, which is meant to describe the image. If you write something like, “I had this delicious ham sandwich for lunch today.” Then this will also help to improve the SEO on your website. Also, if your users are having issues with their browser or connection and the images are not loading then they will still be able to see what the image was meant to be.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when using images in your website design!