How To Write Good Alt Text
Hello everyone. When I started my first blog many moons ago I had no idea what all the technical terms ment or how to write good alt text. I simply wrote shit (and yes for the most part my old posts really were shite) and pressed send.
Fast forward a couple of years and I began to take more of an interest in the technical side of blogging. I learnt about keywords, SEO, picture resizing and very basic coding. There were still a lot of things that I didn’t understand. But my blog seemed to function quite well without me knowing what they did, so I left them alone.
One of those things was the alt text. I knew there was an alt text box there when editing pictures, but couldn’t see how it benefited me or the blog. So I always left it blank.
Alt Text and Pintrest
I first used alt text when I discovered Pintrest. At the time I was using WordPress.com and didn’t know how to make my images pinable. After searching Google I found that adding the post title as alt text for an image made the image pinable.
However there’s no need to do this. The alt text wasn’t designed to help bloggers share posts to pintrest. And the share button options on WordPress and Blogger now include a Pintrest button.
Alt Text and SEO
I began using alt text more when I became interested in improving my SEO. SEO for those who are not up on their blog speak stands for search engine optimization. It relates (I think) to how likely a search engine such as google is to find a post and list it when someone searches for the subject the post is about.
I was using the SEO help plugin Yeost. One of the things Yeost says to do to improve SEO is put keywords into the alt text. This is because the alt text is read by search engines.
Now while it is true that keywords within alt text can improve your SEO this is also not its prime function.
What is alt text designed for?
Alt text actually stands for alternative text, and that is basically what it is. It provides an alternative to the image in a post. Alt text was designed for people who have sight problems and rely on text readers to access the internet.
I’ll be honest, I was quite ignorant about the real importance of how to write good alt text until very recently. I became aware of it after following a thread in a Facebook blogger group. A certain blogger (blogger A) said alt text did not aid SEO, so should not be included in a post. A blogging friend of mine who uses a text reader politely pointed out the real use of alt text. Blogger A stated images were just used to pretty up a post and blind or partially sighted people didn’t need to know what was in the images.
Now obviously this view is bollocks and very discriminating. But actually by not including alt texts in my posts I felt I wasn’t a lot better than the blogger A. So I’ve made a conscious effort to include alt text in all my new posts and to gradually go back and include it in old posts.
How to write good alt text
So, we arrive back to the title question. Alt texts obviously need to describe what it in the picture. But how to write good alt text? I am a waffler (you may have noticed) and could write a paragraph on each picture but that isn’t going to be very useful. The key is to put a brief but accurate description. Keywords can be used in alt text but only if they fit the description of the picture.
I’ve add a couple of pictures with the alt text copied into the caption box. So people can see examples of how to write good alt text descriptions.
As you can see the descriptions aren’t hugely detailed, but enough to give people using text readers an idea of what the image is.
I’ve written this long rambling post because I suspect a like me a lot of bloggers won’t be that aware of the importance of good alt text for blind and partially sighted people. But like me they will be happy to use it once they are aware of its importance in aiding everyone to enjoy their posts fully.
Were you aware of how alt text helps people with sight problems access the internet? Will you be more inclined to use it now?
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Thank you, Mrs A Xx