Website maintenance

Writing alternative texts for images correctly? First aid tips from the website gardeners


Picture of a beautifully tidy garden

For many hobby gardeners, terms like "alt attribute" or "alt tag" cause headaches. But don't worry, it's not that complicated! The website gardeners explain what is behind it: "Alt" stands for alternative; the German word "Attribut" or English "tag" means supplement. What is meant is a supplementary image description for uploaded photos on a website.

Why is a text description needed for images?

As a stopgap when the picture is broken

The alternative text for images is displayed if an uploaded image cannot be displayed for technical reasons. A textual image description is then displayed instead of the image.

In addition, there are two other important benefits that help your website to be more accessible to other people:

Assistance for people with visual impairment

Blind or visually impaired people often use special programmes that read web pages aloud. Instead of the images, the programme reads the alternative texts to them. In this way, people with visual impairments can understand images even without seeing them.

Better hits in search engines like Google, Bing & Co.

Alternative texts help websites to be found better in search engines. This has to do with the way such hit lists are created. Providers such as Google use special programmes that automatically search website content for keywords. These programmes do not recognise images and therefore fall back on the textual image description.

Tips for creating alternative texts

  • Describe in simple words what is in the picture
  • Use clear language without foreign words
  • Imagine you are talking to someone on the phone who can't see your computer and you want to convey to him/her in a nutshell what you are looking at
  • Remain neutral so that others can form their own opinion
  • Perfect for search engines: If possible, include a keyword under which you would like to be found
  • Length: one to two short sentences

Example: Here you enter the alternative text in the WordPress content management system: