We know that including an image in your blog posts is important. Lack of visual appeal and poor use of images can be one of the reasons why you aren’t keeping any readers.
Finding, choosing, and including images in your blog posts or articles isn’t always the most pleasant task. Many bloggers begrudge this portion of their blogging experience. There are seemingly grey areas with respect to attribution, and you just want to hit publish when you’ve worked hard on a post. But don’t skip using an image too often.
The Importance of Using Images In Your Blog Posts
Reading an article that is 900 words long with no images can feel like you’re reading a textbook. Readers often get bored when they are looking at just text and don’t finish reading the post that you’ve worked so hard on. Images provide a nice reprieve of text for your readers.
Another reason you should be using pictures in your blog articles is that having a visual representation of the topic you are writing about can help subconsciously reinforce your ideas. This is especially true if you are writing about something that paints a visual in the persons head. Writing about a war in Somalia? You should have a photo of the wreckage. On my travel and personal blog, I recently wrote a post about maintaining your appearance while travelling. I knew that I needed to use a couple of images to illustrate my points.
Just another reason you should be using images in your content is that proper usage of visual content can help your search engine optimization. Title the image appropriately and use alt text with your targeted keyword and it reinforces what your post is about to search engines.
Every single post doesn’t require an image, but don’t leave an image out too often.
What Type of Image Should You Use?
Hopefully, you’ve branded yourself in such a way that you have set your readers up to know what to expect from you. I know that when I visit Hyperbole and a Half, I should expect a series of hilarious cartoons that the author drew (I think in MS Paint) to illustrate her posts.
There are some people that often use gifs or funny memes. Some bloggers use photography from the places they’ve been. Some use stock photos. Many fashion bloggers use photos from Polyvore, or images that they’ve compiled into a collection (ie an outfit using different photos from different websites and designers).
Which type of image you use, should be one that you would want to briefly look at when you are reading content on somebody else’s blog.
Don’t use anything gross, inappropriate, or that will make a reader scroll down really fast or press that little “x” in the corner of your screen. Your images should be helping you keep readers, not scaring your readers away.
Where to Find Images for Blog Posts
The answer to this question will depend on what the outcome of the previous question is.
If you are a travel blogger, you’ll likely want to use your own photos of the places you’ve been, as opposed to stock photos of the country or city.
If you are a fashion blogger, you’ll also probably want to use most of your own photos of you wearing the outfits you are posting.
If you are a career blogger, you may be able to get away with using stock images. Make sure to attribute the stock images in the appropriate way. For creative commons images, you can use Flickr, Getty Images, or a variety of other CC websites.
I am of the opinion that it’s almost always better to use your own images in your blog posts rather than using a stock or creative commons image. You don’t have to attribute the photo to anybody, limiting the outbound links to websites or resources outside of the topic you have written about, and you don’t get into sticky attribution situations with your own images.
As you can see, most of the images on Our Website are essentially just text that I’ve created into a bit of a graphic. They describe what my article is about and provide a break in the content.
Images on your website are important for search engine optimization, the reader experience, and reinforcing your ideas. Figure out your imaging style and be sure to include an image in most of your articles.