Image Alt Text vs. Image Title: What’s the Difference?

Karol K. / July 12, 2018

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Saying that images are important to a website is an understatement. Images can help you immensely! They can aid you in presenting your argument, provide a nice way to split a wall of text, and can make your posts easier to read overall.

In many ways, adding images to your content is straightforward. However, there are some nuances that confuse many site owners.

One of the most common ones is the question of image alt text vs. image title. What’s the difference between an alt text and a title, and what do you enter into each field?

Image alt text vs. image title

The alt text and title of your image are both attributes in the code that the browser reads. However, each of these attributes has a distinct purpose:

  • The image alt text is a web accessibility tool.
  • The image title provides additional information about an image.

The image alt text is displayed whenever an image fails to load. This might be caused by the image getting deleted from the server, a poor connection, or the user’s browser not supporting images at all.

Say that you want to include this image within one of your blog posts:

A business dog in a tie

If it fails to load, here’s what the alt text will look like:

Alt text displaying "A business dog in a tie"

Alt texts are also critically important for your visually impaired visitors who use screen reading software. Such software naturally cannot read images, so instead, it reads the alt texts.

Moreover, image alt texts are used by search engines to help them understand what’s within an image, as Google explains. Thus, they also have an impact on your overall search engine rankings.

Image titles, on the other hand, are displayed inside a pop-over when a user hovers their cursor over the image. Titles serve a purely visual purpose. You can use them to provide additional context or more details about your image.

How to enter image alt texts and titles in WordPress.com

If your website runs on WordPress.com, adding image all texts or image titles is quite user-friendly.

Go to your user panel on WordPress.com and proceed to either create a new post or page, or edit an existing one.

Click on the + Add button and then select Media.

Adding media on WordPress.com

This will direct you to the Media Library. Select Add New to upload a new image.

Adding a new image

When your image finishes uploading, click the Edit button.

Edit your image to add text

This will bring up the main photo editing panel, where you can add both the title of your image and the alt text.

Add the alt text and image title here

When you’re done, click Insert.

You can also edit the alt texts and titles for existing images. Just click the pencil icon that appears when you select an image while editing your post.

Click the pencil icon to edit

When we review the topic of image alt text vs. image title, it’s the former that’s more important. Always make sure that every new image you add has alt text. Titles are optional, but adding them certainly won’t hurt.

Now that you know the difference between alt texts and titles, you can ensure that all of your images are labeled correctly while making your site more accessible and search engine-friendly.

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