Great images are invaluable for marketing any farm or food business. However, creating, editing, sourcing, resizing and optimizing photos for the web can be difficult and time consuming if you aren’t a designer, photographer, or web developer. Here are our recommendations for how to optimize images for your farm or food business’ online presence.
1. Free and Easy Tools for Editing Images
When we’re not using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Gimp (free and opensource), we simply use Instagram app or Canva.com for creating and editing web-friendly images. Both services are free and very easy to use. If we want a great looking square image with a filter (brightness, contrast, sunny etc.) for Facebook.com/HarvestHandCSA, Twitter.com/HarvestHand or our website, we’ll use the Instagram app. It’s easy to link your Instagram account to your Facebook and Twitter so you can quickly share photos with your community online. When we want to make an image collage, a poster, card, Facebook cover photo, Twitter cover photo, or a specifically sized image, we use Canva. Canva is an entirely web-based application, like HarvestHand, that has many design templates into which you can place your images or their stock images. Canva also offers very inexpensive paid designs and stock imagery (approximately $1/design or image).
Here’s a collage we made with Canva using free stock images(it took about 5 minutes):
Tip: Instagram can also be an effective visual communications tool to communicate with your customers - do your customers use Instagram?
2. Where to Find Free Farm or Vegetable Stock Images
Original images from the farm are always the best. However, if you need an image for something that hasn’t happened yet, here are two options we recommend:
Both have different types of licensing, but for the most part it’s easy to find great looking imagery for free as long as you make sure to give credit to the creator. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try asking one of your friends or customers for photos.
3. Resizing Images for Your Website
Always resize your images for the web. Even most smartphones now take images that are too large in file size (kb, mb etc) for loading quickly online. Before you upload your photos to your website, first shrink them to a smaller size using one of these tools:
Image Optimizer for one image or Smush.it for multiple images at a time. Aim for file sizes less than 70kb and convert all images to JPEG format. If your image is larger than 70kb, try to keep it under 300kb. For most HarvestHand website themes, images that are between 200px and 1000pixels wide and 200px and 1000px tall are best. Image Optimizer provides you with various file size options which allows you to choose the best looking image with the smallest file size.
Optimize Images for Search with Descriptive Names and Alternative Image Tags (alt tags)
Approximately 70% of the links Google users click on are organic (not paid advertisements), meaning that people discover your content by searching in Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook etc. This is the reason it is very important that you name your images descriptively and in plain English (or the language of your customers). For example, instead of leaving the image with a default name like “IMG2394870.jpg,” describe your image like this “50percent-local-club-logo-nova-scotia.jpeg”
For your “Alternative Text” (alt tag) write a description in plain language such as “50% Local Club Logo Nova Scotia 2014.” Think about how your customers search for products on your website. What naming patterns do they use when they search? In the example above, local foodies may search using the terms:
- 2014 Local Food Club Logo Nova Scotia
- Logo for 50% Local Food Club 2014
- 50% Local Food Club Logo
What tools do you use to create or edit images for the web?
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