Images have a very attractive quality, especially when added meaningfully to your counselling website and therapy blog content. Using pictures and visual elements on your web page is a powerful way to grab attention and build interest into your content creation strategy.

Images can also deliver useful data and facts to your audience, giving your future clients every reason to establish trust in your services.

Taking a little time to search, select, place and properly tag your images to be easily accessed by the search engines provides your readers with a better read and enhances your on-page search engine optimisation (SEO).

1.   Select relevant and impactful images

Choosing the right images to match your counselling website content and blog posts can be critical in whether your blog post gets read. These days, people browsing online tend not to read a whole page of content but to seek out the most useful facts and read only what is fascinating and holds value for them.

Deliver your message with emphasis

By using images to break up long articles and web content, you are much more likely to keep the attention of your visitors. Selecting relevant images and placing visual elements in the correct context is also a good way to create continuity within your articles and website content.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” – there’s a reason this cliché has stood the test of time. Photos, pictures, infographics and other visual representations of ideas and facts convey a message with far more impact, especially when you want to emphasise a strong point. Keeping images relevant to the theme of your content is essential for a fluid reading experience.

Make your content more memorable

Placing your images next to your key ideas and using graphical data to really hone in on the core takeaways within your content definitely make the read more memorable. Being human, we find it easier to memorise information when we have an anchor to aid the memory. A visual snapshot is easier to pin to our memory boards because it is more natural than the written word.

Explain processes in simple steps

Given time and with little effort, you can create your own images. For example, if an article is to explain something like How to Use Facebook Ads to Fill your Therapy Groups and Workshops in 5 Easy Steps, you can use screen capture software to create an image that you can then insert into a program like Adobe Acrobat or Nitro PDF Professional that allows you to add arrows and highlight parts of the captured image to explain exactly how to carry out a necessary action to achieve a goal.

Experiment with different sources

You can also use your own photos if you have a digital camera and a penchant for photography. Given a decent eye and a digital camera, you can shoot and edit your own photos for use on the web using an image editor. You can also use hand drawn images and upload them using a scanner. Computer graphics programs can also be very useful for making illustrations that are unique to your website and relevant to your content. You can also gather facts and figures about your therapy market and transform them into graphic illustrations that present the information in ways that are easy to recognise and remember.

2.   Place and upload images appropriately

The most logical and effective placement for an image is naturally right at the beginning of your written website copy or counselling blog post, preferably near the title. This is the first place your visitors will look and is one of the most useful placements to help in memorising your content.

How many images to use

Following that, additional images are useful for sectioning the content, along with headlines and other textual techniques for keeping a reader engaged. It’s best to place images right near the content that it is related to and to avoid using too many irrelevant images that could clutter up the text. Placing images at intervals of between six to ten paragraphs is comfortable on the eye – some articles and blog posts may need more images if it’s explaining a process but in general, it’s best only to use images to make reading easier, not harder.

Choosing your image uploader

Uploading images to your WordPress blog, you have a couple of choices. You may prefer to use an image uploader plug-in like ‘SEO friendly images’  or  use the standard WordPress images uploader.  It’s all a matter of how you prefer to add SEO elements to the images you upload.

Using image filenames for SEO

Something to remember is to name your image files in a way that enhances your SEO. Photographers rarely realise the usefulness of image file names stored and linked to website content.

A few examples of image file names that have not been optimised are:

  • DSC0000015875422.jpg
  • PictureA.jpg
  • 20110215-BP-1-C.jpg
  • FFF319B-ALT-91.jpg

For archive use, the above may seem useful. However, this type of naming is useless for images uploaded to the web. The search engine spiders crawling would have absolutely no clue about the content of pictures named in this way.

In contrast, the following image file names can easily be read by the search engines:

  • Melbourne-Psychology-Practice.jpg
  • Trauma-Abuse-Counselling.jpg
  • Counsellor-profile-face-australia-counselling.jpg
  • Adelaide-Counselling-Office.jpg

Size really does matter

There is little that is more frustrating than arriving at a website and waiting an extraordinary length of time for a page to load. Large image files can slow down page loading times dramatically. It is definitely true that image file size does matter and in terms of web page loading times, the smaller the better. There are some good file optimiser plug-ins available – like ‘WP.Smush.it’ – that enable you to reduce large files significantly without losing image quality. It is worth taking time to reduce file sizes before uploading to your website and blog. Your Google rankings are adjusted for site speed. And your visitors will thank you for it if your site loads quickly and easily.

3.   Use ALT tags to optimise your images

ALT tags are tags associated with web page graphics that display alternate text as visitors hover over the graphic with a mouse. These image ALT tags also make visual elements in graphics files more accessible to search engines and the visually impaired.

Search engine love

ALT tags offer a little extra strength to your website and blog SEO. To make them really useful, ALT tags must convey what the graphic is for or about and contain relevant and descriptive keywords.

Remember it is unwise to do any keyword stuffing as Google has already adjusted the algorithm for web page rankings to counter this bad practice. The purpose of the ALT tag is to describe the image as accurately as possible so it can be recognised by text-based search engines.

Visually impaired visitors

A visitor to your counselling blog or therapy practice website who is visually impaired may be able to understand your page content through a browser with a screen reader that reads aloud the ALT tags and text on the page. If the ALT tags are not used, the person would have no idea of the visual content on the page.

A simple plug-in for ALT tags

Filling in ALT tags can be a little time-consuming and this is why some people don’t use them.  The ‘SEO Friendly Images’ plug-in for your WordPress counselling blog is an easy way to get the job done more quickly and to satisfy both the search engines and your visually impaired visitors.

4.   Keep it easy on the eye

Using images that are relevant and impactful are a great way to attract new clients to your counselling blog or therapy website and thereby to your services. The key idea is to find and use images that make your therapy website content and counselling blog posts easier to read. You can use a variety of images to accomplish your goals.

Make your images clickable

Images can be hyperlinked to other web pages on your blog or your Facebook profile to keep your visitors engaged with all the useful content you have to offer.

Sourcing and attribution

If you do not have a ready source of your own images or will be writing about different topics from time to time that require different types of images, you can source many of the images you need through Google’s images search. You can use the Advanced function to specify images with ‘Right to Use’ to avoid copyright infringements. You can also create custom images to link to your social media accounts.

Images in our mobile world

Sometimes images don’t render as well on mobile technology as they do on a computer. One way to make sure a visitor can view images better on a mobile device is by providing a link from the smaller, optimised image to the larger image hosted elsewhere. This way a visitor can zoom in to get more detail.

Using images is a very useful way to attract clients to your therapy website or counselling blog and for redirecting visitors around your website, blog and social networking platforms. To make the most of images is both excellent for SEO and for alerting your clients to useful content you have published to the web. Paying attention to the images you use can take a little extra time but the results will speak volumes.

Do you use images on your blog and website? If so, what have you found works for you? Enter your comments below.

Related blog posts:

How to Use Facebook Ads to Fill your Therapy Groups and Workshops in 5 Easy Steps

Healthcare Websites: 55 Things you can do with WordPress