I’ve only recently started using pictures in my blog, but it’s almost become addicting. Pictures add a lot to your post, from illustrating what you are talking about to catching a reader’s attention on social media or even in a list of posts on your own site. Here are my tips for how and why to use pictures with your posts.
1. Pictures Catch Attention
It’s true that a good picture is worth a thousand words, so a simple picture can tell a reader a lot with just a glance. A picture could be the reason that a person decides to read your blog post rather than scrolling onto the next item in their Facebook newsfeed or hopping to the next blog in their list. Can you think of eye-catching pictures you’ve seen with blog posts?
2. Pictures for Pinterest
Pinterest is currently the number one driver of traffic to many blogs. It’s easy to scroll through the pictures on Pinterest and then click on one that catches your attention. As you choose pictures for your blog, keep Pinterest in mind (even if you aren’t on Pinterest yourself—your readers might pin your pictures).
If you are on Pinterest, pay attention to what people are pinning (and repinning) and only pin pictures that are worth it. Don’t pin junk just to promote your blog. If you pin an image from your blog, make sure it links back to the blog post URL, not your blog homepage, as the picture pinned creates a bookmark to your blog for readers’ future reference.
3. Get Permission
Just because you found a great picture online doesn’t mean you can use it on your blog. Alex of the blog If Emily Posted says, “The moment someone creates a photo—paid or unpaid, pro or someone just playing with Instagram—it is protected under copyright law.” Ask permission and make sure that you credit the author when they give you permission.
4. Use Your Own Photos
Nearly all of the photos I’ve used on my blog are my own. I’m honestly a bit afraid of using others’ photos. It’s easier to take my own pictures than to ask permission to use someone else. Sometimes I’ll google images or scan Pinterest for ideas and then take my own pictures. With a digital camera and a bit of creativity, it’s easy to create pictures for almost any blog post.
5. Images Help Break Up Text
Because I did magazine layout for years before starting to blog, the way a blog looks is very important to me. Pictures help a lot in this area. They can break up long posts and provide a rest for weary readers’ eyes.
“When you place an image every six to ten paragraphs, the text gets really reader-friendly. Everyone can easily follow your way of thinking and do a little five-second break to look at an image. And then they can easily return to the place where they’ve left off.” ~ Darren Rowse of Problogger
6. Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday posts are meant to feature pictures that stand alone, without any explanation. Most “Wordless” Wednesday posts I’ve seen lately aren’t at all wordless, however. This is still a great way to feature some of your favourite images or to stick with a posting schedule even if you don’t have anything to write about. Quite a few bloggers also host a linky with their Wordless Wednesday posts, so you can visit others who are participating and get more traffic to your blog.
7. Search Engine Optimization
That’s right—good pictures can also help search engines find your blog. Make sure you title your images with relevant keywords before uploading them to your blog. For example, you don’t want to post a picture simply named IMG00004. That means nothing to the search engines. Instead, rename that picture with two or three keywords that people might search if they were looking for the post. (If you use WordPress, you can also add more descriptions to your photos using the “alt text” field when you upload photos. This also helps search engines find your pictures.)
8. Jazz Up Your Pictures
Adding pictures to your blog posts is great; making sure those photos stand out and catch attention is even better. Lately, I’ve become addicted to using Picmonkey for fixing up my pictures. Picmonkey lets me crop photos, add frames or special effects, create collages, and so much more.
9. Create a Blog Graphic
What about those posts that are really really really hard to find pictures to go with—like Ten Tips for Building Your Blog or this post? Create a graphic. You can either use a plain background (cropped from a photo or created in MS Paint) or use a simple photo. Use Picmonkey to add text and textures to the photo. This works great for creating blog buttons or for creating an image to use in a series of posts on your blog.
10. Watermark Your Photos
Always add your name (or your blog name) to your picture before posting. This is one way to avoid any copyright confusion because it’s clear who originally posted the picture. Again, this is easy to do using Picmonkey or any other photo editing program. Try to position your name in a place that it can’t be cropped out of the image, but don’t put it in an annoying place. I visited one blogger who’d put her name in the middle of every picture on her blog—even when the name interfered with the picture. I vary where I place my name in my pictures to suit the picture or the effect I want to create.
Do you use pictures in your blog? What advice would you share about photos?