Learning to love the alt tag

Apparently I haven’t gone far enough when it comes to promoting this blog. Earlier this week I went to a workshop titled, tongue-in-cheek, “Your Blog is Boring and Your Photos Suck!” presented by Syx Langemann and Morten Rand-Hendriksen. Syx handled the photography side, while Morten worked the blog angle. The main thing that I got from their presentation was that there is a critical element when inserting pictures into a blog post that is mostly ignored because, as they say, it’s not required to be entered, when in fact, it should.

Screen grab of Add an Image in a WordPress.com post editor, emphasizing populating the "Alternate Text" field.

The “alt=” tag, when the HTML source of a web page is viewed, is key because the search-engine bots look at the text embedded within, and if populated effectively, this potentially feeds more eyeballs to your site. As the above screen-capture shows,  WordPress does not require the user to populate the “Alternate Text” field. A few descriptive words or a sentence in this field is sufficient.

Over the next few weeks, I will take a few select images on my blog posts and add alt text to them and see if that makes a difference. It won’t be noticeable immediately; watching and waiting is the key. And going forward, of course, I will make it a requirement to add alt text to every image inside new posts. It’s a small step, but hopefully it has big rewards.

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