Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Helpful hints - blogging with photos

Welcome to The Claiborne House Coffee Talk Blog. I am excited to share a few helpful hints about adding photos for those using Blogger or Blogspot by Google, or any other program for that matter!
Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This image is set to XLARGE to fill up the space and better visual
Photos are important
#1) no one wants to read diatribes, photos are worth 1000 words. Use photos as eye candy for your blog.

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This is set to  medium, can you make it all out?
a) photos maximized on the blog are best, 640pixels wide is the max you can use (if you set your template to the widest width). If you use them any larger you will have to click on them to view the full sized image. So when you INSERT an image, set it at XLARGE (this is 640pixels wide). I wouldn't bother sharing an image if people can't see it very well.  Case in point the image to the left, is it easy to make out? Click it and then tell me.

b) if you do not add an image to the top portion of the blog, it WILL NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT be populated in most social media, ie if you put the photo at the bottom, and I SHARE your link, there will NOT be a photo visible. No point in going to all the trouble if people can't see the photo.

This pretty much negates sharing the blog article at all, people won't click on articles without photos as an intro. 
This is the most important thing you can do.
Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
I clicked on this photo and set it to XLARGE, better detail? If you want even more, click the image for FULL Size. Want the caption bigger? You can go up top and manually set it when you write the article.
c) compress the photo, don't add a giant sized photo to the blog, people without high speed access will get ticked off, and people WITH high speed will probably also get ticked off.  The photo I added above is too big, it will load slower.

d) use captions (this is what you write below the photo, when you insert an image it will ask you to add a caption). This is very useful, you can even use links in the caption. The caption may be the only thing a person reads, so keep it short and to the point, to draw interest.

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This is a local creamery, with fantastic ice cream, I let people know about in when they are on a country drive especially on a hot day!  The owners are Old Order of German Baptist, which means they do not have a website, or any online presence, so whenever I post about this, people find us! 
e) take your own photos. Use them every chance you get! They will all pile up in Google Images when someone does a search, this is all good for SEO (search engine optimization). Click this link "Claiborne House" in Google Images, and notice how many are my photos? There is another Claiborne House in Jefferson Texas, so we compete for SEO at times.

f) if the images used in your blogging are for your B&B , and if they are titled "tle_124", you are not getting the most bang for your buck! Instead put your B&B name on every image! "tle_124_Claiborne House" or whatever other system you use to organize and find these photos later on. When I search for "Claiborne House" in Google Images, I will find pages and pages and pages of them! Guests DO USE Google Images. Writers, other bloggers, everyone uses Google images! 

I recommend you do a quick search in Google Images to see what your B&B has out there, maybe guests are posting images from their stay? You need to know.
Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
Notice this photo is TOO SMALL, so it appears fuzzy, don't use bad photos!

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This is an experience I might to enjoy when I visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, just relaxing outside tells a story, and I want to be in the story

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This might be fun, visiting some battle fields in Virginia, especially at reenactment times, walking in the footsteps of history

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
This scenery takes my breath away, I want to go there. ROAD TRIP TIME!

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
Feel the rush in this photo of a rider on The Blue Ridge Parkway

Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Coffee Talk
Breakfast at The Claiborne House, I can almost taste it!
g) photos share detail, sure we can describe what they will find in our area, or at our B&B, but let the photo share the experience, after all we aren't blogging to just sell rooms, we are selling experiences! 

h) stay on topic and don't post too many photos. this article I have written has too many photos, I would say more than one photo and less than 5 is a good number. A few of these are not compressed, they are not huge 1-3MB files, under 100KB is recommended. But they may still be too big and too many for fast load times when someone pulls up or clicks on a link to this article.

i) don't forget you have the ability to change the widths of each section on your blog. Go into template, then customize, you can make your blog three columns, or one column, or make the main section large enough to accommodate 640px wide images. 

A call to action never hurts, after sharing the amazing things to see and do in your area, and how inncredible YOUR B&B is, innvite them to share in this experience, this is what marketing your B&B is all about: "Book your room online and save $10 today!" 
Isn't it time for a blue ridge day y'all?