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 15 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!

Great blogs need alt text, tags, hashtags, and fast loading

#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.

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Great blogs need images with alt tags.

I missed it.

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…

Improve blogging by adding alt text

Some improvement maybe. I like “blogging teddy bear” better for an alt text.

You knew it, didn’t you?

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.”

Improve blogging by adding two-word tags

Oh that’s a tag, but so what? I know all about those!

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 have no control over your tags. They run wild over your website! (And mine do run wild!)

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. 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?

 on Everypost Blog had a handy summary of the functionality of tags across the major platforms: The Rules to Hashtagging on Each Social Media Platform 

Ultimately, you can buy a plugin Yoast SEO to help you deal with your SEO headaches. I’m trying it right now.

#3 Is your blog fast loading?

What do you think fast loading is? Not only that, how can you make your blog load faster. My computer is so slow that it loads programs slowly when it works offline.

Ankit Singla in his post 12 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?

He recommends bloggers to limit their plugins if they want their website to speed load. Most hobby bloggers 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. That takes a LOT of MY time.

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Conclusion & Summary

If you are a hobby blogger using WordPress.com, like I have for nearly five years, 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.
  • 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.
  • Use the words you used to search in your keyword tags.

Most importantly, be honest and take some advice from the Opinionated Man about blogging.

Always  Write is an Amazon affiliated blog.

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