Recently I found that one of my images appearing on Pinterest had the exciting description of “mug”…..no name, no other information, just “mug.”
First off, why is my file name appearing? And, why is it such a total fail!
What I found out is that every one of my file names is a potential informative description, or marketing bomb, it’s up to me.
Here are a few tips to follow to ensure that your images are appearing on the web to your best advantage.
Naming Your Files Properly
The best practice is to actually attach your name by putting it in the “file name” of the image.
Also, think about Google search engine when you name the file.
Google can’t see the image (yet) but will read the file name. This is a powerful tool when someone types your name into a search engine, now all your lovely images will appear!
Do this for all out-going files, including files for show applications, Etsy listings, galleries, publicity etc….anything that could end up on the web.
- mug-holly-gonnella. jpg
Best practice is to keep it as short as possible, which is tough with our names in the title. I end up needing numbers to differentiate the files because I will have multiple pictures of mugs for instances.
Use all lower case letters and use dashes instead of spaces.
This last bit is important because spaces and capital letter’s are very problematic on the web. You don’t need to do this for files that you keep on your computer or use for print, just any file that is for the web, or could conceivably end up on the web.
If you want the gory details check out this article by The Site Wizard.
For me, naming the file this way has the added benefit of knowing that all the jpg files that have my name (lowercase and with dashes) are finished web files, and are ready to go. I put these files into a special folder and keep them separate for easy access.
Problem solved…..but keep reading to understand how and why this is so important to your business and marketing efforts.
For Websites and Bloggers
A handy little thing called “alt” text, let’s you attach even more information about the image.
Search engines use this text embedded in the html to understand and rank your images….even more so than the file name. Google will read up to 140 characters which allows for a much more detail description of the image. I give some tips on “alt text” here.
The “alt text” becomes very important if you or your visitors are regularly pinning images to Pinterest.
Your images are appearing on Pinterest without your name!
If you are like me, every time you post a photo of your work to your blog, you want to pin this to your Pinterest boards.
If you have added “alt text” to your image , this longer text appears in the Pinterest pop up. If there is none, it defaults to the file name.
You can test this on the images I have on this page (you will need a “Pin It” button to test this)
- The top image has “alt text” added – notice how descriptive it is
- The lower image has only the file name – whew…my name is on there!
Most of the items I pin from other sites need this text fixed-up, some times the file name will be the original numbers from the camera file!
What is happening is that your work is ending up on Pinterest, the link to the original site becomes broken and there’s your image sitting there with no real description and no link!
Images Pinned from Etsy
Etsy loads your items title into the “Pin It” pop-up.
It would be unusual to have your name in an etsy item title. The current trend is to load this title with key words that customers may be searching for, so actually these titles can be unworkable.
When pinning from Etsy, clean this up and add in the pertinent information.
What is great about Etsy is that the links tend to work. Even if your name is not on the pin and the item has sold, it delivers you to the shop where the current contents and the artist contact information can be viewed.
If you need futher help optimizing your Etsy titles, Dirtsty.com has en excellent article that will help.
Other 3rd Parties and Pinterest
If all the files you have given the 3rd party’s have your name included in the file name, this is pretty solid, your work is done.
It may be helpful to get a Pinterest account and load the “pin it” button onto your task bar so that you can do some test pinning of your photos on various sites that display your images, like galleries and shops.
In particular, check to see if they have added “alt text” to your images.
Enlighten them about this whole pinning phenom if you feel it’s appropriate. This is a basic marketing fact at this point, but the full repercussions of “the pin” have not fully filtered down into every online shop keeps mind as of yet.
*Note that flickr loads your filename + your screen name + flicker.com into the pop-up. If you have not been adding your name to your files, you could go in and change your flicker screen name to include your full name and this will appear in the pop-up. Flickr is another website where you can count on the links continuing to work properly, so not very worrisome if your name is lacking.
Your link can become hopelessly lost on blog links if the image was pinned from the blog roll.
What happens is that the link is to the blog roll, which is rolling away every time the blogger posts! As years pass you can see how much work it would be to search the “older posts” for the original pin.
The pin needs to be from the actual blog post page.
Wow, you can see how useful proper file names are going to be in the long run.
I am not loving the extra steps, but they are not extra steps anymore, it is how things are done on the web these days.
For myself, I have elected not to go back and try to fix up all my poor file names (way not fun). I am just going to execute the practices I have outlined above for every new file I send out.
If you would like to get started immediately with some “proper” pins…..pin one of my images above…I would love this!
Thanks so much, Holly