April 29, 2020
April’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020
This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!
Well….April continues to be a bit derailed due to Covid-19! I hope that if you are reading this that you are well.
April found me having difficulty reading books with heavier content and I had a serious case of the “blahs.” How about you? Doing any hard thinking is a discipline these days!
In my first year of blogging, I discovered how important it is to have at least one Pinterest quality image in each blog post. Before that discovery, I simply used a book cover as an image. (I need to note here that I can’t stage photos with books because I read exclusively on the Kindle.) Now I use a book cover image that I grab from Amazon and “enhance” it. First I use the app PhotoGrid to add a background for the book cover. I save this image in PhotoGrid’s already squarish format. Next, I open Canva and use a template I created for Pinterest that has been designed for a square image and that has the Book Title at the top and my blog name at the bottom. I use this template over and over again and switch out the picture, color, and text. Here’s the last Pinterest image I created using PhotoGrid and my Canva Pinterest template:
In blog posts, I attempt to incorporate other images. For example, in my review of Code Name Helene, I also used a real-life picture of Helene. In addition, I always include an author’s photo.
I have a certificate from a community college in graphic design, so I’m familiar with using images in a layout. The creative use of images is an enjoyable aspect of creating a blog post.
Something new I’m experimenting with this year is using animated GIFs. I think it’s important not to overpower your content with gifs, so I use them sparingly.
As with any new element, there’s a learning curve and I had to experiment multiple times to master the process for using them in a WordPress post.
2. Optimize Images
Part of optimizing images for SEO is to include Alt Text. I first learned how to do this for Instagram images and now I’m also focused on using Alt Text for blog images. This year I’ve been going through all my old blog posts and adding Alt Text to all images.
This is beneficial for two reasons:
1. accessibility for visually impaired
2. improve your SEO
Simply, Alt Text is a word description of an image that will allow access for visually impaired persons. Alt Text can be added before you bring the image into WordPress, during the process of adding an image, or after. Alt Text can be added in the same place as editing a photo. Here’s a screenshot of Alt Text I added to an image:
1. In your blog post, click on an image and select Edit (pencil) from the menu that pops up. On this screen (the one shown above), you will see Alt Text and you will add a word description of the image in the box. You can’t see it all….but I added this description “Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: a yellow camisole hangs on a padded hanger above an old brown suitcase.”
2. Click “Update” or “Insert” (depending upon when you are adding the Alt Text).
Do you add Alt Text to your images? It’s a fairly simple tweak!
Because of my background in graphic design, I tend to notice the readability factor of every blog that I visit.
These elements help readability:
- content is broken up into short paragraphs
- subheadings or bold words to highlight paragraph topics
- images to break up text (but not too many to overpower the content)
- lots of white space
- dark font on a white (or light) background
- bullets or a numbered list
- when using a fancy font for headings, don’t capitalize all the letters (have you noticed how unreadable that is?)
One thing that I plan to do some day is to increase the font size of my text by a point or two.
Challenge: Ask a friend to comment on the readability of your posts!
If you are a blogger, have you thought about the readability of your blog posts?
On a scale of 1-5 (5 being high), how would you rate the Readability of today’s post?
If you are a follower and have always wanted to make a suggestion for improvement, now’s your chance! I’d love to hear feedback about the readability factor of my posts and why you continue to follow or read my reviews and other blog content. I’d like to hear about what I could improve. I am committed to the genres I review, so that’s firm for now.
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.
Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.