Blogging Tips: Image Optimizing

After managing blogs for awhile now, one of the things I realized is that images make a really nice complement to content/text. It helps break the content, the post becomes more visually stimulating and interesting and it does help tell the story more eloquently. BUT images can also weigh down the blog. Can you imagine if you’re running a blog for years already and uploading images for every post.

That’s bound to slow down your site in time. I’ve discovered two solutions.

  • Use third-party image hosting service like Photobucket etc. and embed the images. My favorite is, visit website and check them out if you’re looking for image hosting and embedding free service. . There are pros and cons of course to this, of course. Pro is that you won’t be using your host space and a big con is that you don’t have full control over its availability. Remember when Imageshack was always down? So there are chances your images might not be available 100% of the time.
  • Upload to your own server and optimize. This is what I’ve been doing for some of my not too heavy ‘imaged’ sites. Always remember to upload optimized images though so it won’t use up too much space on server.

Here’s some of my favorite image optimizer WordPress plugins you can check out. Also read on this excellent article – A Guide to Optimal Image Compression in WordPress.


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On Blogging: Server Overloading and Cron Problems with A Plugin

This week, I had one of my hosted accounts go on server overload. It was a bit puzzling for me as the sites were well maintained, the databases I always clean up and optimize. So I figured something must have gone wrong when my webhost told me the problem was multiple cron executions.

Which made me say duh?! I haven’t set up any cron jobs on the wordpress sites except for the default cron jobs initiated by the CMS. So I then installed cron manager plugin to see what are the cron jobs scheduled and which plugin could be causing the endless line of cron jobs.

That turned out to be an inspired idea. The culprit was a gallery plugin and with the cron manager plugin I installed, I managed to delete the cron jobs lined up. I also removed the plugin to be sure.

If you are running an exceptionally high number of cron jobs and you have no idea where its coming from, Advanced Cron Manager or FFF Cron Control can really be a big help to pinpoint which ones are causing problems.

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Easy htacess Redirect Code

I’ve moved websites several dozen times already. And usually they are WordPress blog sites and on same domains. So its simply a server/host move.  And I didn’t have to be bothered to learn about redirects for changed URL’s. For me, these has become even something like a routine.

But, its a bit of a different story when it comes to moving a site to another domain name. I’ve only done this a few times. And aside from the actual moving of the site to where you are hosting the new domain, you also have to make sure that your old domain redirects to the new domain.

Of course, you don’t want to lose traffic right? I am also of belief that this helps in search engine indexing. I’ve also realized that the usual 301 redirects found on cpanels works on the main url but on sub posts/pages it often does not. So I had to dig in for more .htaccess code to use to ensure that all my old url’s would redirect to the new url’s. This is specially crucial for blogs with hundreds if not thousands of pages. You won’t want to leave leaving your readers searching in a huge pile if you just redirect to the main URL.

I found this code works really best:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http:/$1 [R=301,L]

It would redirect every single old URL to the exact new URL, so everything would be seamlessly redirected for your readers. You just need to navigate to where your .htaccess file is on your old domain (if you don’t have one, then just create one), then paste above code, then save.

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Blogging Tips: Tagging Your Images

Here’s something I have learned from all those years of blogging: Tagging images is worth it!  ALT for images are simply alternate text for your images. It’s a very basic thing, but we often overlook it.

When I first started blogging, I have zero idea what image tagging is.Once you blog, and start adding images to your blog, you’ll see that when you upload an image on your blogging dashboard, you’ll be asked to add in a title, ALTernate text, caption, description etc.

Here’s a screenshot of basic image uploading on WordPress and Blogger. I’ve highlighted the portion where you can input the ALT text.

Image Uploading & Tagging on WordPress
Image Upload on WordPress
Image Uploading & Tagging on Blogger
Image Upload on Blogger
Tagging an Image Upload on Blogger
Tagging an Image Upload on Blogger

If you have forgotten to add in the ALT and Title tags while uploading the image you can still do so by clicking the image or you can also edit on HTML and this is how a basic image upload looks like.

Image ALT Tagging on HTML

You’ll ask why do we need to add ALT tags to our images? What can it do?

I’ll list down reasons why you should tag your images:

  • Search engines cannot read images. So if your images has ALT tags the it has more chances of being indexed much faster. For example, you upload a photo of plastic card printer but the search crawler cannot see your photo so in order for them to ‘read’ it you have to add in your ALT tag, ie. plastic card printing. A lot of people discount the importance of image search. But when I checked the site statistics of several of my sites where I have religiously tagged my images, well, I was really surprised that majority of my search engine traffic came from those searching for images.
  • Some people disable images on their browsers, and this is where ALT tags on your images comes into full play. If images are disabled then the brower will just show an empty icon, but if you have ALT tags, the empty icon will be displayed coupled with your ALT tag. Which will of course provide more information about your image and you have a better chance to get the interest of the viewer to view your image.

Some people also ask if they need to fill out ALT tag as well as the TITLE tag. There is a difference between the two. Both provide additional information about your image. Title tags however should be short, catchy and displays (in some browsers) when you hover your pointer on the image.

In case you haven’t been tagging your images yet, start now. It’ll your site much good. Read more about image tags on W3Schools.

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