Showing posts with label images. Show all posts
Showing posts with label images. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2018

SEO and the Author P8 – Images and Website Speed

In a previous SEO and the Author series post (see the link below in More to Read), I talked about how to optimize your website images. However, I didn’t touch on what the size of the image files can do to your site.

For the average author website, most use JPGs or PNGs for their images. The problem that may arise is the size of the file. The larger the file the slower the website.

So, why should you care about your website speed?

Because of Google, of course.

When your website takes a long time to load, and we’re talking just an extra few seconds, it affects your website speed.

One of the things Google looks at when they decide to list your site in a search result is the speed of your website. A factos that effects how quickly or slowly your site will load is the size of the images you use. 

If your site is slow to load, people who land on it won’t bother waiting – they’ll just leave. This is considered a bounce.

Google monitors your bounce rate. If a lot of visitors bounce (leaves your site before it loads or leaves very quickly for other reasons), Google will note that you have a high bounce rate which means poor performance.

According to MOZ, “A poor performing website results in a poor user experience, and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.” (1)

Okay, that was a bit of a sidetrack, but I wanted you to understand the importance of speed and your website.

Back to Images

Going back to images, the longer an image or images take to load, the slower your website will be. So, when deciding whether to use a JPG or PNG, go for the JPG.

If you’re wondering why, it’s because PNG files are much larger than JPG files, sometimes double the size for the same image.

This means that PNG images take longer to load.

According to Thrive Themes, “Even on a fast connection, large image files can take several seconds to load. And when it comes to website speed and conversion rates, you don't have several seconds to spare [. . .] Loading several, large, uncompressed images can slow your pages down to an absolute crawl and that will send your bounce rate through the roof.” (2)

Why would anyone use PNG images?
While in most cases, the JPG and PNG images may look similar, the PNG files are clearer, crisper. For some sites this difference makes a difference. But for most of your uses, it’s not worth the extra load time and space taken on your computer.

For a more comprehensive look at images types and sizes, read:

(1) How Website Speed Actually Impact Search Ranking 

(2) Image Type and Size for Fast Websites


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter/ rewriter. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move and author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

If you’d like more writing tips or help with your children’s story, check out: Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

If you need help with your author platform, check out Karen's e-classes through WOW:


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Blogging Smart

By Karen Cioffi

It’s a give-in that you need to blog to make connections, to gain readers, to increase visibility, to increase your authority, to increase ranking, and to become the go-to person in your niche.

But, did you know that as of early September 2015, there are 1 BILLION websites online. That's a lot of noise . . . and competition. So, blogging smart is even more important than ever.

But, how do you blog effectively and smart? What does that mean?

To blog smart, you want to ‘prove’ to your visitors and subscribers that what you’re writing about or doing actually works.

How do you do this?

Simple. Show them.

For example:

A blog post at Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing (site has since been deleted) on email marketing and spam got over 3700 views in just a couple of days. 

This is blogging smart.

The image below is a screen-shot of that particular post's views in less than 24 hours - a couple of days later it was over 3700. A little after that it was at 3841. I haven't checked since then to see how far it has gone.

Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s the ‘luck of the draw’ or the ‘right content at the right time,’ but if you’re not blogging smart to start, it’s unlikely you’ll get that far.

So, some things you should be including in your posts are:

•    Screenshots to aid in comprehension and prove what you’re saying
•    Links to relevant content bringing the reader deeper into your web pages, further demonstrating your knowledge in the niche
•    Links to other useful information that will further benefit the reader
•    Tips on what you should and shouldn’t do and why
•    Strategies that work for you and proof
•    Problems you’ve overcome and how
•    Doable step-by-step guides
•    Personality (a bit of personal tidbits)
•    Videos
•    Audio
•    Images
•    Call-to-action (CTA)

These are the elements you should be including in your blog posts, obviously not all at the same time - mix it up. This is blogging effectively and blogging smart. And, this strategy will motivate the reader to model your processes. This is one of the best compliments.

Even more important, it will motivate the visitor/reader to say YES to your CTA and SHARE your content.

Note: Images and CTAs should be included in everyone of your blog posts.  And, in regard to images, at least one image should be at the top of the content. It's this image sites like Pinterest will pick up when you share the post.

Another part of blogging smart is to optimize your blog posts. Part of this includes using:

  • Grabbing titles
  • Keywords
  • Tags
  • Categories
  • Descriptions
  • Sharing your posts to your social media networks
Get started today and watch your website traffic increase.


More on Writing and Marketing

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Strategies to Get Book Reviews
You Know You’re a Writer When

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

When I was a child, I lingered with my Golden Books, intently studying the pictures. They were as important, if not more important, than the story. 

We all know how moving a picture can be to help tell a story - whether simple or complex. But how about the picture being the source of inspiration for a story or article?

If you're feeling the late winter slump (particularly those of us who live where spring is in a holding pattern), grab a book of photographs and find a cozy spot to browse and reflect.

Time Life, National Geographic, and even your own photo albums are chock full of material to get you thinking. Not only that, but it is relaxing and will help take your mind off everything that vies for attention.

I keep my iPhone or camera handy and I'm in the routine of capturing special moments in time. 

I took this picture when I went snowshoeing this winter and it produced several ideas for an article.

When I woke up one morning in my daughter's apartment, this is what I saw:

(That one is tucked away for later).

Here's one from my backyard, just before a storm. As I watched the sky groan with turmoil, it conjured up a plot of the struggles that can come in a relationship.

Finally, some years ago, my 5-year-old made this drawing on our computer. It sparked an idea for a children's book I'd like to write:

If you haven't tried letting pictures help you write, try it!

Whatever your genre, pictures will help you paint a thousand words.  


After raising and homeschooling her 8 children, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

Photo credit: Kathleen Moulton © all rights reserved

Friday, December 6, 2013

Innovative Marketing with Images

"A picture is worth a thousand words." We have all heard this well-known adage, attributed to a number of people including Napoleon Bonaparte, but what does it say for us writers? We're wordsmiths, not artists.

Obviously, unless we are writing comic books or children's picture books, we are going to use words. So this proverb doesn't apply. Or does it?

We've had some excellent suggestions in this special week of innovative and proven writing and marketing strategies, and you'll notice they all have one thing in common. They all make use of images.

Karen Cioffi kicked us off with a professional and attractive mini-poster that promised us "Tips, Strategies, Guidance—Your Way to Success." I don't know about you, but I immediately stopped what I was doing and read the article. Not because I wanted to learn more at that point. (I was in the middle of another project.) But because I was drawn to the article by the poster. And of course it was an excellent article.

The next blog post was by Annie Duguid, and this time I was attracted by her colorful screenshot. The bold red arrow drew my eyes to the icon for CamStudio, and I wanted to know more. Was this something I needed? Did I already have a similar package that I wasn't using? I read on . . .  Annie offers some fascinating suggestions on ways to create attractive screencasts as well as other software we can use to create promotional tools.

Next up, Magdalena Ball shared three clever (cheap) ideas with us, two of which involve creating images, either online or on a blackboard (which you could subsequently photograph and transfer to your computer for use on your websites etc.)

There's nothing new about the concept of showing pictures to attract attention to the message. Show, don't tell, remember writers? Okay, I know that means we should write to show, but this can also refer to showing images.

Imagine going to, or any other online bookstore, and reading through the pages of books— but they have no images. I'm sure you'll agree you wouldn't spend as much time browsing through their pages and almost certainly wouldn't spend as much money. (Hmmm!)

There is no question that images are one of the most powerful ways we can connect and engage with our readers. But no, images don't substitute for your words. They endorse them, or they encourage people to read them in the first place.  

Here are four ways we can use images in our marketing posts, blogs, websites, and social media sites.

1) Use Existing Images: 

The issue of copyright in connection with images is huge, and we have to tread very carefully through this mine-field. However there are sites out there which are genuinely free.

   a)  Morgue file contains a vast selection of high-resolution stock photography images which you are free to alter and use in different ways.

The image on the right is of a first birthday cake which I downloaded from Morgue. I then edited the image to create a banner for an event on Facebook, celebrating the first anniversary of my book, Strength Renewed.

   b)  FreeDigitalPhotos allows you to download and use small images of professional photographs in a resolution suitable for websites, for free. The only proviso is that you must include a short phrase of credit (and why wouldn't you?)

2)  Make your own images: 

   a)  Use your own photographs, or collect photos from friends, making sure they understand what you want to do with them. Don't forget to ask if they want you to give credits. Use them on your Facebook cover, or your profile picture, as well as on your website, articles, and bios when you guest blog.

This is a snap my son took of me shortly after the launch of Strength Renewed. I cropped the photograph and reduced it in size and I now use it extensively on bios as well as my profile picture on my Facebook author page. It is casual and relaxed while still clear enough to show the title of my book, and has proved to be a most useful photograph.

 b)  Use scenic photographs, and add quotes from your book, links to web addresses, or any other short phrase relevant to your message.

These can stand alone on sites like Facebook or on your website, or even be offered in a good resolution as freebies.

3) Get yourself a series of images or characters.

  a)  Adapt these to various subjects and situations. For example a few years ago, I purchased a set of 3D characters from Warrior Forum. These are not free, but I have used them extensively in all sorts of situations. They have been well worth the money I paid for them. (See the little character t the top with her whiteboard.)

  b)  There are other similar characters available on the web, but be warned that they can become extremely time-consuming.

  c)  Make a very basic comic strip with a message, using Comix H/O, a fun site which Annie Duguid told us about on 24 November. This is not difficult at all, and I can see how I can use this to incorporate my own characters, or in front of one of my scenic photographs.

4) Try out some free graphics programs and find one you are comfortable with. Start with simple tasks, such as adding text to an existing photograph. As you gain confidence, you will find yourself able to make different posters, advertising messages, and other images.
  • Photoscape is a fun and easy photo editing software that enables you to fix and enhance photos.
  • GNU is an image manipulation tool that many compare with the huge Photoshop, but it is free.
  • Paint Shop Pro is a well-known program similar to, but much cheaper than, Photoshop. Nevertheless it is still expensive. However, you can pick up an older version of this, or of many other programs, for free at
Finally, a warning and an encouragement. 

The warning: It is easy to get caught up in the creation of images and posters. As a writer, be careful the adage at the beginning doesn't turn into: "A picture just cost me a thousand words."

The encouragement: When you download, buy, create or edit images or posters, strive to make something you will be able to use many times. For example, yesterday's post by Caroline Howard-Johnson uses one of those 3d characters I spoke of above. The little woman is placed on a bright green background with the title, "It's all about Pitches." That same image could be changed to call out a hundred and more different titles. I could put it on a pink background and say, "Read Strength Renewed!" as a means to attract people to an article about my book based on breast cancer. I could even add a little pink ribbon to her chest and a link to the book at the bottom.

There is a lot of work involved in making images or logos, so go for ideas that you can use over and over again. Think of how you can use them to market your work in an innovative and time-effective manner.

For example:

As you find new ways to use images to market your work, you may well find your picture is worth a thousand words, because people who would normally skim right past your article will stop and read it--because your picture has attracted them to your words.

SHIRLEY CORDER  lives a short walk from the seaside in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. Shirley is also contributing author to ten other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. 

Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. 
Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook, and if you tell her who you are she'll be happy to be your friend and follow you back.

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