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Alt Tag? and 2 More Stupid Questions That Will Make Your Blogging Great

Don’t you know what an alt text is?

Don’t you hate asking stupid questions? Even if it will help your blogging? Let me do it for you. I mean everyone knows about alt text by now, don’t they? Do you even know where to find alt text? I did not. And who thinks up keywords and hashtags anyway?

Understanding and applying blogging tips is hard work! I’m proud of my blog, but out of 17 tips that make a blog great, I am was missing three or four simple ones and I’ve been blogging almost five years!

I hate to admit this, but I did not know what they were!

#1 What’s an alt. tag or text?

The article asked, “Do your images have descriptive alt. tags?”

Before I wrote this article, I did not even know where to find an alt. tag, let alone know if my images had one. After Google searching two or three articles about alt text, I wanted to slap myself in the head.

It’s an image process. Here’s my image I checked. Oh yeah, on the image uploading form it’s called alt text, not tag. Oops, no alt text on my Manny the Teddy Bear Blogger picture.

screenshot, alt tags
Screenshot with no alt text See the blank box in the sidebar

Who knew? I was not just ignorant, I was rude!

I saw that blank space there that said “alt text”, but I guess I thought it wasn’t for me to fill in, so I didn’t.

Once you stop being rude and lazy, some writers have called those of us who ignore this step, there’s more! You need to go beyond knowing what an alt text is to understanding why you need to fill in the form as you upload your photos.

Three Reasons to Fill in Alt Text Information

  1.  According to Joost de Valk in his article, Image SEO: alt tag and title tag, the reason you use an alt. tags or text or alternative text is so that an image reader can tell a blind person what’s in the picture. “So if you have an image that’s used as a button to buy product X, the alt text would say: “button to buy product X”. You fill this out when you fill out your photo info as you add the photo “alternative text.” Sadly, most of the photos I’ve inserted over the last five years do not have alternative texts.

2.  The alt. text also defines your picture for Google. Joost cautions us, “If an image does not have a purpose those images should be in your CSS and not in your HTML.” Web designers know what this means. If you want to know check HTML & CSS. I think this means, “Don’t worry about CSS, Marsha.”

Joost also reminds us that “You need a good, high quality, related image for your posts in which it makes sense to have the focus keyword in the alt text.”

Keywords are magical and should be in the alt text.

The picture I inserted at the time without an alt text was my blogging teddy bear, Manny. He was pretending to type his blog post. So that was what I wrote to show that I understand WHERE the box is. But wait…

Blogging, teddy bear
Some improvement maybe. I like “Manny Blogging” better for an alt text.

Unfortunately, very few people know who Manny is. The revised alt text in the sample, “Blogging teddy bear” has a keyword in it AND tells what the picture is.

3. Other media use this alt text for other purposes. Yoast refers us to another article of his, Optimizing Images for SEO  which gives us one last quote  to provide a couple more stupid questions I’ll save for later. “These images are used in OpenGraph tags and Twitter Cards, which will add the image to our social shares.” I haven’t used either OpenGraph or Twitter Cards. Have you? Put your link in the comment section.

#2 What Is a Two-Word Tag?

You’ve seen this, too. I guarantee you’ve probably used a two, three or 10-word tag. You fill in keyword tags in the box under categories. Look over there on the right side of your screen. It says “Tags.”

Way back in 2012 Tom Ewer wrote  for Manage WP, WordPress Tags: Everything You Need to Know  “probably more due to the shockingly poor usage of tags amongst the vast majority of blogs than anything else).”

Oh no! Finding the box isn’t good enough!

Tag sparingly and efficiently. By this I mean that each tag you use must be highly relevant to the content in the post you are tagging, and the tag in question should be short (ideally no more than two words) and specific.”

Further in the article, Tom dropped another bomb. “You will need to set aside a few minutes perhaps every month or so to manage your tags.”

Oh no! I don’t do that either!

Did you know you need a Plugin to do that? That means that if you use WordPress.com, you probably don’t use plugins. I’m trying to find a way to tag more easily in WordPress.com without buying an expensive professional package. If you know how that’s done, please leave a comment.

Here’s another quick trick. Tags are separated by commas but you can also separate two or three-word tags them with an underscore, then separate them from other tags with a comma. And example would be bird_dog, terrier

The topic of tags brings up a subject I’ve avoided for the nearly five years I’ve been blogging. Did I ever tell you that I’m hard to teach because I sometimes think things don’t apply to me? Here is the subject SEO!

There Are Tags and Hashtags – Both Important

And both rely on keywords and (Search Engine Optimization) – the dreaded – SEO.

Tags can also refer to hashtags. All social media use hashtags. Choosing tags and hashtags is more complicated than I have made it. – EVER! The reason this is so complicated is that choosing the right hashtag involves knowing about and taking into consideration SEO. If you have a self-hosted blog, you can buy tools so you do not have to fully understand SEO.

Denis Duvauchelle recommends the Moz keyword difficulty calculator, but there is a cost, and I struggle to know what is worth the money for a hobby blogger and what is essential.

According to Denis, in his article, Tags and hashtags: The ultimate guide to using them effectively words are important. “The process of researching keywords and hashtags is not so different. You need to find out the terms that people are using for the product or service that you are offering.”

“Hashtags become very useful when you want to remarket old content. I’m a strong believer in maximizing the use of the content you produce.”

I agree with Denis. This article highlights seven essentials of #hashtagging. For example, I knew that you leave out spaces in a hashtag, but I did not know that plurals matter. Did you know you should not start a hashtag with a number?

Ultimately, if you have a version of WordPress or use WordPress.org, you can buy a plugin Yoast SEO to help you deal with your SEO headaches. I tried it when Always Write was self-hosted for four years.

#3 Is your blog fast loading?

screenshot, optimize photos

What do you think fast loading is? Not only that, how can you make your blog load faster.

Ankit Singla in his post 17 Effective Tips To Reduce Blog Page Load Time tells bloggers “Research also has it that 47% of the readers expect that the websites should load within 2 seconds while a delay of more than 3 seconds can make 40% of your readers to abandon your site.”

How fast does yours load?

When I had a self-hosted blog, I knew, now I don’t, but when I open my blog as an outsider, it loads quickly. I reduce the photo size in Photoshop when I process multiple files. That is a quick process. There are many ways of optimizing your photos. In Canva, you press a button that does the work for you.

However, if you make it the wrong size, there’s an easy fix in Photoshop. I imported both of my screenshots into Canva to reduce the size and to add text, but I made them the size of my Featured Photo. The were optimized, but too big for my screen. I imported them into Photoshop and in the file menu processed them using the process multiple file button and it was done.

He recommends bloggers to limit their plugins if they want their website to speed load. Most bloggers I know use WordPress.com and for them, this is not an issue. YEAH!

No wonder I put aside SEO issues. They have to be done by hand on my personal blog. It does take time, but each day I learn easier ways to improve my blog.

Conclusion & Summary

If you blog as a hobby using WordPress.com, like I have since 2012, try these tips.

  • Label your images with an alt text and fill in all the blanks for each picture.
  • Cut back on pictures to load your website faster. One or two per 500-word post is plenty. (I don’t do this.)
  • Search google for a few of your keywords to see how many posts come up.
  • Read them, and if you like them, link them to your article in Related Posts. Or better yet, ask your friends for links to their posts. You can always update your post later.
  • Use the words you used to search in your keyword tags.

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40 replies »

  1. Thanks for the reminders Marsha. I’m always forgetting to put my alt tags on my photos, and then have to go back and do about 3 million all at once (slight exaggeration). Carol’s comment about reducing the photo size is spot-on. I started doing that and it speeds up loading enormously. My oh my you have a lot of good info on this site! I don’t know where to start first!

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    • Thank you so much. I’ve been blogging a while. Carol and I started at the same time. I was lucky to have lots of problems, so that gives plenty to write about! ???

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  2. Super tips. Was aware of tags and SEO but alt tags? Never knew! Came to you on Twitter via a retweet from Debby Gies. Glad to find your site!

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  3. Yikes! I’m reading this, and re-reading, and getting a bit of a fuzzy head, so will come back and read more, later. I have always filled in the alt tag section, but never knew why. I think just using key words? Is that correct? I hate thinking about SEO or whatever it is; I just want to write and share. But after five years of blogging, I know I need to be better informed. And now I am, thanks to bloggers like YOU. THANK YOU!

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    • Amen to that! I’ve been blogging a long time, and I’m just hearing and learning about it. I volunteered to read a draft copy of a book. Whew! Parts of it are in English. The rest is in Blogish. Yikes. I’ve got post it notes everywhere. The good news is that every post it is a post. 🙂

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  4. I am sure this is important information but at my age (73) I am lucky to absorb as much as I have. I will have to call my nephew who knows all this and have a conversation with him. He has the patience to go over and over and over it with me. Love that boy or I should say man. Thank you for sharing. I will flag this post so I can read it to him and he can advise me what to do. I thought I was doing great, now this. Yuck. More confusion for a while. :o)

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  5. This is a fabulous and informative post. Happily I have learned about things such as the importance of Alt tags awhile ago and still trying to go through all my blog photos and re-edit them properly. I’ll be reblogging this on my blog in the next few weeks Marsha. Thanks! I’ll ping you! 🙂

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    • You are probably right. It is taking me a lot more time to write a simple post. As a new blogger, I did not do this. However, if I had realized what it was, I would have probably taken the time to do it. I need to find a faster way to process all the information into the pictures so it doesn’t take so long. 🙂

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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