“There can be no words without images.” Aristotle
Humans are visual creatures. We like pretty pictures, fascinating images and visual tutorials. In today’s landscape of Photo Sharing, Instagram and Snapchat we are constantly using photographs to share our stories.
Studies have shown that images can make someone 80% more likely to read your content all together. Images grab attention, tell a story and are easily shareable. According to inc.com a social media post will generate 94% more views when they contain a compelling visuals.” 94%!
Think about it, what makes you click on an article or a post? It’s usually the image that has caught your eye. So when it comes to publishing your blog, make sure you take the time to choose the right image(s) to be certain all your hard work doesn’t go unseen.
How do you do it? Let’s start at the beginning of your blog:
The feature photo, the picture that appears at the top of your post, is probably the first thing you see, or even the reason you found the blog in the first place. It sets the tone and can make, or break, someone’s decision to read your blog.
So, Keep it Simple. The photo should be relevant, eye catching, but not overpowering. Remember the photo is meant to entice people to read your blog, not attack all senses to the point where one forgets to read what’s underneath. Kerry Butters recommends you don’t use a feature photo to ‘sum-up’ the blog contents. Rather “it should be working to complement the title of the blog, as a means to entice people to click on the link and read it.”
Bottom line? Know its purpose. Ask yourself – what are you trying to accomplish, or say, with this photo. Think of your audience. What will make them want to know more?
Adding your Feature photo is easy on WordPress, just find the feature image button/option in edit mode, and click set featured image. Still stuck on what makes a good feature photo? Here are some suggestions from The Daily Post.
Your photo should be large enough so the photo is clear, but not so large, that it takes over the entire page. Beginner bloggers often make the mistake of choosing the most exciting photo and then just pasting it into their blog with no thought to how large it is. Not only does it turn people off, (as a matter of fact 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load,) but it also takes the emphasis off of your writing, the post itself, the reason you invite people to your blog in the first place.
Is It Legal?
Just because you found it on the web, doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to use. It’s probably not. And more and more people are getting in trouble, or even sued, for using copyrighted material. Make sure you images are legal to use.
- Creative Commons – A CC license has been authorized by the creator, or copyright holder, to allow people the right to share or use the work they’ve created. Here’s a link to Creative Commons search.
- Public Domain – in Canada, a copyright lasts the lifetime of its creator plus 50 years. After usually 50 years the images, or other work, enter the public domain, meaning they are free to use. Be aware of the exceptions.
- Stock Photos – there are many sites that offer stock photos at low costs, and there are some free sites as well. I have posted a list of free stock photo sites on the side column of this blog. Before picking that photo check out these Photography.
- Use Your Own Photos – nothing expresses your personality and passion for your topic better than your own pictures. Just be sure to crop them properly and make sure you have permission to use anyone who happens to be in your photo.
Just using the right image will get more people to your blog, but how can these images actually improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
It’s simple if you take the time to prepare your photo for use in your blog. First of all, choose the right file name. Instead of uploading your jpg entitled IMG1234.jpg, change the name to describe the photo, i.e. holding-a-sparkler.jpg. Adding a caption to your photo will also help when someone is image searching.
Secondly make sure your image isn’t too large, loading times are paramount when it comes to searching for images. Yoast.com offers great tips on how to scale your image for SEO.
I made it through this entire post without resorting to use “a picture is worth a thousand words” cliché. So I thought I’d end it with my favourite quote from Andy Warhol: