How to use an image

A picture is worth a thousand words, we are told, and sometimes that may even be true. But the first rule of entering images is to think that five pictures make an essay, so don’t overdo the images — unless the images are the content, and even then, be careful: too many images will slow down loading, and that can be a problem for mobiles and tablets even in a location with good wifi/broadband. A gallery page should have thumbnail images which link to the real things.

The first thing to note is that any image that you upload from outside your WordPress site will go instantly and automatically into your media library. This is because the library is the only place where WordPress can find an image easily. So, it is vital to check the library first, and indeed, it is best practice to upload a new image into the library, and then put it on a page/post from there.

  • Select Media from the main menu.
  • Select Images from the filter menu across the top.
  • If you have an image there which is suitable, decide to use it. If you need to add a new image to the library, use the green Add new button (not its dropdown arrow, though).
  • Select your image from your computer’s stored files, and open it to send a copy to the media library.
  • When it arrives, select it and use the Edit button to create a default caption. Think of creating alt-text (which will show on hover, and is used in text-to-speech and other accessibility apps) and a contextual description.

Now, from the page which you are editing, you are ready to incorporate the image.

  • Click between two blocks (title, paragraph, etc.) and use the green + sign to select Image as the type of block.
  • Do not choose the Upload button. That will only lead you to upload another copy of the image. Choose the Select Image button, and choose Media Library from the dropdown. You may now choose your image, and it will be added to your page/post.

What, you may ask, is the downside of multiple versions of an image in the library?

  • Each image uses space. If we run out of space, it will cost us more money. Keep a close rein on images so that you don’t need to panic when your space is used up.
  • If you have to change an image (where did that naked body come from?) you only have to replace it once, though you have to make sure you know where you have used the image, to make sure the nudist does not pop up elsewhere (but see below).
  • The first time you use an image, if you click on its block and add to reusable blocks (right-hand dots from the hovering format menu), you may just add the block to another page/post (rather than go to the media library once again). The beauty of this is that if you replace the image in the block, the new image (without the nudist) will be applied everywhere you have used the block. The idea of reusable blocks need a how-to of its own: it is possibly the most crucial action on the site after proofreading.
  • If you are using multiple versions of the same image, you need to know which version is on what pages/posts. That way madness lies.
  • The minimal discipline involved with image management as above will slow the creation process down by just enough to make life so much easier in the future.