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Managing Images in WordPress

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

Managing images in WordPress is done through the Media Library in the back-end. There are things you can do to make it easier and more efficient. Uploading and finding the images you need for a particular string of posts can be difficult if you are hunting through a series of photos that look similar. Making the sorting process less unwieldy is what this advice focuses on.

Launching a new website or duplicating an existing site requires matching images to pages. The first instinct for many folks is to gather the images in one folder and use the Media Uploader to upload all the images at once. You may prefer to chunk the images into groups of a hundred or less, and match images to posts systematically.

The Media Library in WordPress shows images in reverse chronological order. If the images have been bulk uploaded, these are also shown in reverse alphabetical order.

Two things that make image sorting cumbersome are uploading images that are not needed and not making the images sortable before upload.

Rename your files before you upload them! Name them after the post or page they are going with, and make them searchable. This seems obvious, especially after searching for an image by name, only to discover it is called IMG3627.jpg or something similar. The Media Library will automatically populate the title tag with the file name. You may also like to make the title and alt tags something human readable when I add an image to a page.

WordPress Media Gallery

Uploading images that will not be used or too many images at once makes them harder to sort. I find it easier to work through sections of a site, especially if the new site is large. I divide the images into folders that correspond to sections before uploading, and move through systematically, sorting by name. On sites that are thousands of pages deep, working in clusters is a necessity.

Managing images after a site launch works similarly. Decide what images you will use before uploading, and upload only what you need. If there are images you are not using in the Media Library, you may want periodically delete those to save disk space. It is a good practice to name your images after the corresponding page, both for SEO and sorting purposes.

Featured Images

The Media Library screen will show available images, the date they were uploaded, and whether they are attached to a post. You can adjust the Screen Options at the top of the page to show more or less information. An image is considered attached if it is set as a Featured Image. In WordPress, Posts or Custom Post Types can have a Featured Image. Most themes use Featured Images in one fashion or another, usually as a thumbnail when showing a list of Posts, as in blog archives or a list of products in an e-commerce website.

Managing Images in WordPress

(Image) Size Matters

Using the appropriate size photo for a specific task is vital for page speed and performance. Images used for full page backgrounds or full width slideshows need to be large, so that they do not look distorted or pixelated. Photos that are used for blog images usually don’t need to be larger than the space they will occupy on the screen. (An exception might be for photography galleries). The iPhone takes large resolution photos, and a regular camera even larger resolution pictures. If you are uploading images that are 2000×1600 pixels, but they will be displayed at a much smaller size, that creates unnecessary weight for the page to download.

An effective way of optimizing images is to create a copy of the original photo, and use Photoshop to scale it down to the largest size the page will require. This will save precious seconds of download time, improving user experience and site SEO.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

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