Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Images

You already know that well-researched, high-quality content is the backbone of a killer blog post. But don’t underestimate the importance of a strong visual component when you’re composing your latest and greatest update for your audience

The human brain processes images in as little as 13 milliseconds—less than the blink of an eye.

A post with an image is far more enticing to the bounce-happy readers of the Internet than one without, and is more likely to be shared on social media as well.

As with your written content, the images you choose should be original, high-quality, and well composed. Never use photos that have already been used on other posts on your blog, and if you’re taking your own photos, be sure that they’re clear, bright, crisp, and well-composed. A hasty snapshot from your phone is fine for Twitter or Instagram, but for blog posts, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a showstopper.

Quality and clarity are just as important if you’re using photos taken by others. You’ll also want to make sure you have the correct permissions to use the photo you’ve selected. Understanding and comparing the various image licenses available is critical, because even images that fall under free licenses may not be approved for every kind of use.

The easiest way to avoid issues with copyright is simply to purchase the photo you want from any of the myriad stock image photo sites—but as these images are stock photos, they may lack the originality and pizazz that’ll help you create a distinctive blog post. When searching for free and original images that have few or no restrictions on use, Creative Commons is a good place to start. Just be sure to review the fine print—and always provide a citation where one is required.

When you’re ready to upload your newest killer blog post, remember that taking the time to add the right image can make a huge difference. Using images that are high in quality, relevant to your readers’ interests, and properly licensed can help your posts capture and convert readers into fans, followers, and clients.

How to Write a Successful Blog Post (Images)

Check out the rest of this series for more killer secrets!

Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Images

The appearance of your blog post can make or break the experience for your readers. It’s important that you take the appropriate steps when choosing the right photos for your post. Everything from image quality to photo placement can affect whether or not your readers will continue to read your post.

Quality Counts

The quality of your images reflects the quality of your blog, so when choosing images make sure you look for ones with high quality.

  • High-quality image checklist
    • Sharp
    • Bright colors
    • Clear and crisp details
    • Good exposure and lighting
    • Good composition
    • No blur or grainy details
    • Never been used on your other posts
  • Readers are more likely to read your post if an image catches their attention.
  • More shares on Facebook:
    • When readers share your post they are given the option to include an image, if the image is great then it is more likely to be shared.

Where to Look

As easy as it might seem, you can’t just take any image you find in a Google search, you need to understand which images you can and cannot use and what a copyrighted image is.

  • Copyright is used to protect original works of authorship.
  • As soon as you write your blog post, or take an image, what you are creating is copyrighted, whether it is published or not.
  • Copyright laws allow the creator to distribute the photo through sale or transfer.
  • When searching through photos always read the fine print and know what type of copyright the image has.
  • There are many types of licenses, but these are the ones you will need to understand when looking for a photo for your blog post:
    • Creative Commons
      • A nonprofit organization set this up to allow photographers to easily license their work.
      • Images are not always available for commercial use.
      • Don’t have to pay to use an image.
      • You must provide a photo credit.
    • Royalty Free (RF)
      • You will come across these in stock photo sites and only have to pay for the license to use them once.
    • Public Domain
      • No licenses or purchasing for photos on public domains.
      • The photographer has chosen to place their work in the public domain for all to use.

How to Avoid Copyright Issues:

  • An easy way to avoid any issues is to use a stock photo site that, with payment, allows you to search and use copyrighted images.
    • Be careful when using this type of site, the photos are usually unoriginal and not always of the highest quality.
    • Creativecommons.org is a free way to find photos.
      • You can search Flickr, Google, Yahoo, Pixabay and other photo sites for photos based on the type of license you are looking for.
    • Search Compfight.com, a database dedicated to helping bloggers find photos for their posts.
      • This Flickr search tool allows you to search through photos, but you still need to make sure to choose the right license and properly attribute the photographer.

Create Your Own Image

If you can’t find the right photo for your post, add some originality to it and create your own.

  • Use a photo that you have taken, or take a photo specifically for your post.
    • Use these basic tips when taking your own photos:
      • Lighting: Take your photos near natural light, but not in the direct sunlight.
      • Props: Use props to tell a story, but make sure to keep it simple.
      • Background: If you are taking photos in your home, make sure to clean first! Create your own background with a white poster board, chalkboard or something similar.
      • Angles: Take photos from every angle and choose which one you like the best.
    • Add a screenshot to help explain what you are discussing.
      • Be careful with resizing, don’t make it awkward. Resize images evenly (50%, 25%).
      • Don’t show all of your toolbars, bookmarks and other unnecessary info in your screenshot. Keep it as generic and simple as possible.
    • Use an image you have drawn.

Cite the Photos

No matter where you find your images, you must always give credit where credit is due.

  • Including a photo credit will give your blog a sense of professionalism.
  • Source the original artist with a link back to their work, there are many ways to do it:
    • Originally uploaded by author-name/url” (link)
    • An embed code provided by the photo source
    • This photo, “title of image” is copyright © 2011 author-link and made available under a attribution-type-here” (link)
    • “HT author-name” (link)
    • “via author name/url” (link)
    • A link in the post that references the original creator.
    • Add a description with the text and link.
    • Link directly to the Creative Commons license you are using.

Sizing the Image

The size of images in your blog can affect the load speed of your page and how your readers view your post.

  • Higher resolution = longer load time.
  • A low res image may load faster, but it is low quality.
  • Recommended size: 500 pixels
    • This allows for the image to be easily resized.
  • Recommended resolution is between 72 dpi and 96 dpi, anything higher will take longer to load.
  • To cut down on page load time, reduce your image size without affecting quality by compressing your images.
    • Lossless image compression: removes some image data but does not affect image quality.
    • Lossy image compression: removes more data and lowers image quality.
    • Compression tools: SmushIT, JPEG Optimizer, Image Optimizer, TinyPNG

Image Placement

Where you place your photo throughout your post can determine if your readers stay engaged and continue reading, or go to another site.

  • Always center large images.
  • Thinner images should also be centered (you can crop large images down to save on load time).
  • Keep right and left aligned images small to avoid crowding the text next to it.
  • Place an image above the fold.
    • When readers read your title and intro they will see a portion of a photo and scroll down to view the rest.
    • Then they are more likely to read the headline under that photo, then the rest of the article.
  • Use large images to separate to major sections or to create an impact.
    • But use them sparingly, they slow down the load time of your page.

Sources

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