How to Write Alt Text

PROSAR: understanding sales and marketing - image of a businesswoman pressing a floating unlock button

Alt text, short for “alternative text”, is text in the metadata of images that shows up either when the image doesn’t load, or for screen readers. If you’ve ever had an email full of images have the space replaced with, say, a coupon value, you’ve seen alt text.

While it appears simple, alt text requires time and effort to get the hang of.

businesswoman pressing a floating unlock button

Why should you put in alt text?

In short, it makes the graphic content of your website readable. This is useful for:

  • SEO
  • People with slower/limited internet connections
  • Individuals who use screen readers

If you’re in Ontario, you might be facing down the legal requirements of AODA, which requires all graphic information to be accessible in text. This is in accordance to WCAG, the international standard for web accessibility that is becoming the norm worldwide. While this is a laborious task, it reaps many rewards outside of disability circles.

By utilizing alt text to the maximum capacity, you can reap a rich keyword benefit that won’t visibly clog up the page (but don’t overdo it, as Google will still penalize you for keyword stuffing), and make your site available to a larger demographic.

Implementing alt text on a WordPress site is as easy as installing Yoast (for SEO) and allocating the hours to writing the material.

How to put in alt text

Simple images: describe the image in the “alternate text” window provided when you go to edit an image on your website. Sometimes, you need to go into the image’s properties to find this window. If the image has a caption associated with it, make sure the caption and image are vaguely related— the image might not be read with the caption!

Complex information: Diagrams that show a company’s organization, pie charts, and other images that present information graphically must also have alt text provided. It can be tricky to know how to tackle these, because usually you do graphics to make complex information more easily digestible.

For things like pie charts or flow charts that don’t show many steps, you can still describe the image in the alt text window. Just be extremely clear what information leads to others. For pie charts, descriptions should include what it’s for and the percentages per allocated slice. An example is:

Pie chart for [diagramed information] displaying: 49% of funds went to rent, utilities, maintenance; 32% to programs; 16% to staffing; 3% other.

Flow charts can be done much the same way:

Chart shows [item] at head, displaying four branches labeled 1, 2, 3, 4. Down the 1 branch, we have items A, B, and C. Down the 2 branch, we have L, M, N.

For larger pieces such as infographics, consider having a transcript of the whole chart that is available at a well-described link, such as “Click here for transcript of infographic.” (making sure your links are descriptive out of context is also required for WTAG compliance!)

Regardless of how you write the descriptions, making sure to include key terms you want to rank for (when appropriate) will boost your overall SEO. It is a heavy time investment, but the rewards are numerous— including people knowing your company is thinking about multiple types of web users.

Image credit: oatawa

Social Selling: More than just a buzz word

businesspeople on smartphones

Ever since I started my career, I have been an advocate of social. Either social media, social selling, social gatherings or social news. I truly believe in the power of social. But what does it mean exactly and how does it make a difference in the way you sell or communicate?

businesspeople on smartphones

When I first started as a social media consultant, SOCIAL was still a mystery term, a wave of change, the next buzz word on our lips. I remember that most of my customers were asking to setup a Facebook page and start building a following, but that was the extent of their social efforts. Customers were not yet requesting engagement or paid advertising. Pretty quickly (and nobody could predict how quickly) that evolved and online platforms became an even more important part of a marketing strategy and advertising budget. We now rely heavily on social for our networking needs.

I learned, like every other successful consultant how to adapt, change my offer and continue to add value to my customer portfolios. Social somehow remained in the hands of the marketer, while on the other side, more and more sales professional started going online, building themselves a profile and using social media to prospect. But at the end of the day, we all want the same thing:

Drive more business and make our customers happy!

I believe the social in sales is what will make us all work together. As a consultant, I didn’t realise that I was using social to sell my services and find my next contracts as it seemed like a natural thing to do. And it was, as I was simply selling my services online through social connections and my network instead of just broadcasting and pitching, while hoping for the best.

So if you are new to social selling, here are my top 3 reasons why you should consider this strategy:


  1. Always stay top of mind

The social in selling represents a whole new network of potential prospects. Of course, you will continue to meet them offline, but you can now connect with them instantly and maintain the relationship online. Social media platforms and social selling helps you combat the ”Out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. You can always be in sight with the latest piece of content that you shared with your network or a smart comment in your group where your next potential prospect may be to seeking information.


  1. Direct touch to decision makers

Another reason for social selling is the difficulty to reach a business owner through coldcalling. A LinkedIn report stated that 90% of decision makers will not answer a cold call. This same difficulty was stated in my colleague, Dave Auten’s blog post. The business world is changing and it might be easier to reach a C-suite execs through an InMail on LinkedIn that he will receive directly on his smartphone.


  1. The more people you know, the better

More and more companies are delegating major investments and big purchase decisions to a committee. Expanding your social network and building a strong profile will help you interact and connect with as many people as possible — who knows what committees your new contacts are on. As well, a referral can come from anyone in a company, so the more people you know, the better for you.

Social media selling may pose some risk, but sitting on the sidelines and not getting involved is the greatest risk of all.


So, if you are a sales professional, be social! If you are a marketer, be social! Regardless what industry you work in, remember that you are always selling yourself and being social can help you make the right connections to reach your goals faster.

Photo credit: Shutterstock