…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
Many of us add some simple pictures to our blog posts to brighten things up – some bloggers use their blog primarily to show their photographs. Some things we all need to consider, for either extreme, are picture sizes and storage space.
When starting our first ever blog there is a lot to learn and getting our first posts published is a big step – how we go about adding pictures is something we might not put much thought into; we’ll perhaps add pictures easily enough, but then, because of a lack of consideration for the above points, we may later run into problems, or be causing problems for our visitors.
I’ve read about people running out of storage space and then abandoning their blog, perhaps to start again, all because they didn’t manage their pictures well from early on.
I have three year’s worth of blog posts and over 500 pictures in my Media Library, but I’ve used less than 1% of the space allowed to me. (yay me!)
This rule works well for other times you upload pictures too; say, as an e-mail attachment, or ebay listing – uploading straight from your 10MP+ camera is bad form, don’t do it! The process to resize a picture can seem like a faff, but once you’ve done it a few times and got into the routine of doing so, it’s really as easy as click click click…
Resizing can be done in Windows Paint, personally I use an old version of Paint Shop Pro, but there is also GIMP which is free image editing software that will give you a plethora of further options beyond Paint – if you’re new to this then it can be overwhelming, but again, it’s really as easy as click click click (okay, maybe a few more than that, but there are four steps below).
For any method you use, I find a picture that is no more than 600 pixels across is best for WordPress – I know WordPress has the option to resize the picture for you (or you can drag the corners of a picture) but it’s still using the original size you uploaded it as and squashing it into the size you specify here, so best to avoid.
*The only time I think it’s acceptable to upload a picture of a larger size and then squash it into place is when you want to allow visitors to click on a picture to view a larger size. For example, if it is a photograph I will resize it to 1200 x 900 pixels, and then instruct WordPress to display it at 600 x 450 pixels (in the example above you would click on the Edit pencil). This is half the uploaded resolution which helps to maintain clarity – having random sizes and resizing them by random proportions will generally lose clarity.
(Please don’t ever drag a small picture larger – it looks terrible!)
The significant limitation of Paint is that it doesn’t give you any compression options when you save as a Jpeg (which is actually a great benefit of Jpeg files), although it does a reasonable job of giving you a smaller file – with GIMP you can reduce a file’s size further by reducing the quality when you save it – down to 90 or 80% is a good target.
This is another point I would like to make. If you upload straight from your camera or even resize the picture and just click save, your picture’s file name might be something like P1040836.JPG. This is not only unhelpful to you when you come to upload it, but it hinders searching not only for you within your Media Library within WordPress, but also search engines that might be ‘crawling’ your blog. If you make the world’s most wonderful cheese cake then tell the world that’s what’s in the picture by renaming it.
I tend to give pictures file names that are related to the post title they belong to.
If you still find yourself running out of storage space within WordPress (perhaps you’ve been uploading bulky pictures for too long and it would be a big task to go back and resize them all and re-upload them), or you really have a lot of photographs to share with the world, then uploading them to somewhere else and linking to them on your blog post is an option. Flickr provide everyone with a whopping 1TB of free space. But don’t let this make you become complacent – getting into the routine of resizing all of your pictures before you upload them will serve you well!
WordPress has changed a lot over the past few years to better cater for tablet-users. I’ve often grumbled about this because I’m a PC user – I don’t use a tablet – and I’ve preferred the Classic method of adding posts and accessing my Dashboard. Therefore I don’t know what options are available to tablet-users when it comes to uploading pictures – I suspect that if you take photos on your tablet and then upload them to your blog using your tablet you are again uploading images of a large file size. There are apps available (I know this much) that will allow you to resize pictures; so while it might be all too convenient to quickly add a picture straight to your blog, you should pay heed to the considerations above.