Your Writer's Website
Make them pertinent to the text,
big enough to appreciate
but small enough
to download fast.
Always include captions!
Web writing needs photos. Many
professional travel writers (for example) learn
photography just so they can supply the essential
they write and submit to editors.
When it comes to photos on your
website, there's good
news and bad (mostly good).
First the Good News
be a pro to take good photos for your website. They need not
be prize-winners or works of art. They need not be high resolution
(in fact the versions you put on your web pages should not be
high resolution). You can use photos you already have, or you can take new
ones, and even an inexpensive digital camera will provide most of the photos
The Bad News (Not All That Bad)
If you have lots of slides and/or prints, you'll have to digitize them. You
can buy a scanner and digitize them yourself, or you can have them digitized
by a shop or company specializing in photo scanning. Costs are moderate.
probably end up digitizing a lot of your old images. The more pages you have
on your website, the more successful it's likely to be. Lots of pages = lots
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!
Digitized photos usually need to be optimized for the web,
meaning they should be in JPEG or GIF format, at 72 dots-per-inch resolution,
of a uniform size (in at least one dimension) as small as possible without
"feel good" quality you get when you look at a picture. This assures that
they won't take forever to download to a user's computer over a dial-up Internet
On my Turkey
Travel Planner website most images are no
greater than 250 pixels in the larger dimension,
except in the Photo
Galleries, where the larger dimension
is 450 or 500 pixels. The Photo Galleries are
meant to be picture-gazing places, so my website's
users will probably be willing to wait a few
the photos to download.
You should learn
how to optimize photos, and get the software needed to do this (you
may already have some), because you'll be optimizing photos from now on.
I use Macromedia Fireworks (part
of the Studio MX web
designer suite) which is somewhat expensive and complicated, but powerful.
Adobe Photoshop is
also expensive and difficult to learn, but powerful. Far cheaper, easier-to-learn
programs are also available, and can easily do the
tasks required to optimize your photos for the web.
Make Them Relevant
Pertinent! Not just pretty. If it's of a museum
and there's usually a long line for admission, try to show the line. If the
sea is choppy, try not to show it as calm. Infuse your photos with meaning.
Search engines can't look at pictures,
they need text. Always add ALT tags ("alternative"
text metatags) when you put an image on a web page,
and make it descriptive rather than cute so search
can accurately find your photo
(and the page it's on). Did you know Google has
an image search service?
It's also a good idea to add a caption of several
sentences which describes (or at least refers to) the photo. (See the Photo
Galleries in Turkey
Travel Planner for examples.)
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