You can’t just do a search in Google images, right click and download.

Well you can, but it’s illegal.

Firstly, images are necessary for visual appeal on websites obviously, but the days of a Home page having seven sliders running across every few seconds are thankfully over.

There’s nowt wrong with a page title bar or a main slider. But the key is to make them attractive, relevant and fast to load.

Where can you find images?

There’s numerous free libraries that generate good photographs that are high res and copyright free like:

  1. Pixabay
  2. Pexels
  3. Unsplash
  4. Morguefile

Each on has some crossover in terms of the same images.  Pixabay has that annoying Google traffic lights verification shizzle – circumvented by signing up.

What about paid subscriptions?

If you want access to niche photography – you’ve two options: pay a professional photographer or head to Adobe Stock or Shutterstock.

A paid professional is loads better but can be expensive; though having said that I still reuse photos, like landscapes and headshots that both Matthew Clarke and Steve Grogan did for me – so the value they’ve added has been incredible.

Shutterstock

Because I’m constantly writing content, creating social media adverts and designing websites, I can’t call on a photographer for every blog, boost or WordPress site. So I pay for Shutterstock with a subscription of 50 a month that meets my image demands.

It is not cheap – but then content without images looks a bit shite, so it’s a good investment. I let clients choose their own and send me the URL too for me to download and compress.  The featured image of Norwich is just 98kb after compression.

Downloading and compressing images

However, accessing good quality, original photos is easy – the trouble with Shutterstock and Adobe is the downloads are huge in terms of size. A 1920  x 1280 cover image will easily exceed 2MB in raw size and it needs compressing to under 300KB, a seventh of its size, for page loading speeds.

There’s all sorts of tools to do this – you can do it within WordPress with plugins like Imagify; though I’d recommend you compress before uploading with various tools – like Adobe Photoshop or the like. I have an easy way to smash images without paid subscription – just email me if you want to know.

Alt tags and names

Finally, when the image is uploaded and added to a page, product or post, there’s one other thing to do: add an alt tag.

If I add a photo of Norwich to say Get Pro Copy, I change the image title to: Norwich and add the alt tag %name Norwich which aids accessibility for Braille readers and gets a high five from Google.

To sum up then:

  • Photography is important – a great professional will top trump stock images
  • Compression of images is vital
  • Don’t overdo visuals on a website slider or title bar
  • Pay for a stock subscription and add titles and alt tags

If you need any more advice on any aspect of content marketing, digital promotion or web design, contact me today.