I’m no social media or web market expert. Frankly, I hate it. If social media stops being fun, I stop using it, no matter how many people tell me what I should be doing.
But if there are things I can do that are simple, I will (usually). But seriously, if part of what you do involves sharing things on the web, then forming a few good habits when it comes to your images makes sense.
Pinterest is something I use all the time – it’s like falling down the rabbit hole, for me. See you in a few hours/days…
And during my Adventures in Pinterest-land, I have found countless wonderful blog posts. For certain things, I use Pinterest more than Google! So making my own blog images pin-able is something I do (mostly) make an effort to optimise. It’s something I appreciate when I’m pinning, myself. And to do it for my own blog is pretty simple – the effort-reward ratio is worth it.
So I’m sharing a few basic tips for making your blog post images work harder on Pinterest. And most of it includes things you do already – like creating the photo, saving it & uploading it. Just paying attention to a few extra details in these steps goes a long way.
Bonus: these steps will also improve your image’s effectiveness for being found on Google etc as well.
So, first things first:
Creating Your Image
Make it something pretty of course. But other than that, a few other things to know:
Apparently, the ideal Pinterest image has a 2:3 or 4:5 aspect ratio.
The reason it’s talked about in ratios, is that Pinterest resizes images to a specic pixel width, and then the length depends on the original dimensions.
In basic terms, this means images that are a bit longer than they are wide work best. Think the shape of a portrait photograph. If you do want to use a landscape image, don’t make it too skinny.
Bonus points: keep in mind the cover photo crop areas (see image below). In short, keep the prettiest and most important info in the centre of the image for the best look. But at the end of the day, don’t stress too much about size.
Have a look here for more detailed info on image dimensions for Pinterest.
2. Add your WEBSITE
I see so many images on Pinterest that are un-watermarked, and it’s a lost opportunity.
The one thing you can control on Pinterest, once your image has been shared around countless times, is the image itself. The original description and even the attached link can get lost or broken in the shuffle. But if you put your website on the image – just a simple address in the corner, it doesn’t need to be obtrusive – then no matter what, people will still be directed to your website.
It also stops people taking your image and using it as their own.
Including your website should be standard practice for every single image you upload to the web.
Bonus Points: Add other text – the title of your blog post, a quote, instructions – some detail about the image.
You don’t have to do this on every image. It depends what it is – some are just meant to look pretty or be purely visual. But if you want people to click through to your website from the pin, then text gives them a reason to do so.
A pretty picture of a bookshelf is pin-able, but a pretty bookshelf with the text “How to Style Your Bookshelf Like a Pro” is pin-able AND clickable.
I use Pixlr a lot for editing and adding text to images. I do have InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and there are a million other options available – but for a free, easy, fast way to edit & save basic images, I keep going back to it. I’m not affiliated, I just love it!
Saving your Image
1. Save for Web
Smaller photos mean less file space and faster web page loading times. So controlling the file size should be standard practice for all your blog images.
Most editing, photo management programs (e.g. Picasa), or image previewing programs (e.g. Preview) have some sort of export function that lets you choose the file size, often by means of adjusting the ‘Quality’.
If you were saving images to print, then quality would be an issue, but for websites and sharing, even the lowest quality is usually plenty big enough.
2. Choose a File Name
image_02393.jpg tells us nothing about what the image is. This matters because it tells search engines nothing as well. This is not specific to Pinterest – you should always use keywords in your image filenames. Something as simple as how-to-style-shelves.jpg is simple but way more effective.
(If you forget to name your file something descriptive, you might be able to change the title in your blogging platform (such as WordPress) when you upload it. See next step…)
Uploading your Images
1. Alt Text
This is a super important one. If you only take away two bits of advice, make it watermarking with your website, and this.
The Alt Text on an image you upload to a blog or website is what displays if for some reason the image doesn’t load. It is also what shows up as the default text in the description box under the pinned image on Pinterest.
Often people will pin without changing this description, especially if it contains useful information they want to remember. So write some descriptive Alt Text and include your website here.
Make it personable, not just a bunch of keywords for the sake of keywords. If it sounds a bit more like it was written by a real human being for other real human beings, people will be happier to leave it as is.
E.g: Great tips for magazine-worthy bookshelves | awesomewebsite.com
Below is a screenshot of what the image detail section looks like when I upload images to this blog on WordPress. You can see the Title field for editing the filename, and the Alt Text field.
Bonus points: include a hashtag in the Alt Text. This is not essential, but you may want to consider it. It comes into use if anyone shares the image via Twitter.
So that’s it, in a nutshell. You can find a lot more advice, and more technical instructions, all over the web, but these are the basics that will make your images more user friendly and sharable.
In A Even Smaller Nutshell:
- Make images a little longer than they are wide
- Watermark with your website
- Save for web with small file size
- Save with a relevant filename
- Add descriptive Alt Text incl. website
Now, if I was making this really Pinterest-worthy , I would have made this into an infographic. But the baby is up from her nap… Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Any questions? More tips?