If you want your blog to be successful, adding the right kind of imagery can increase your readership and make your blog more interesting and stimulating. However, it’s not as simple as a Google search and adding the first photo you see to your post. Here are four tips to finding and properly using images to create a better blog:
1. Don’t Steal Photos
This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing to know what photos you can and can’t use from searching the Internet. As many bloggers find out the hard way, using a photo without express permission from the photographer can land you in pretty hot water, not to mention cost you more money than the photo is worth.
To make sure the photos you find are free to use, check the creative licensing for permission. On Flickr, there is usually an icon you can click on to show you exactly if and how you can use the photo. You can also search through CreativeCommons.org or Wikimedia Commons for public domain images. The best rule to stick to is if you’re not sure, don’t use it. If all else fails, take the picture yourself.
2. Optimize Your Images
You may already know about optimizing your titles and posts for search engines, but did you know you can do the same thing with your photos? According to AmyLynnAndrews.com, you should first rename the image, so it has searchable terms. Instead of “IMG042,” rename it “Cat sleeping in a flower pot,” which is searchable and descriptive. You should also use the image’s name or a longer version of it in the ALT tag, which is also searchable. Lastly, you should resize your images before publishing them to the Web. Don’t make the photo any larger than it has to be, as big files take longer to load and may frustrate your readers enough to make them move on instead of waiting for your post to load.
3. Make Your Own Graphics
Everyone loves a good infographic. But if you’re not a graphic designer you may think you have to hire someone to make a decent one. Lucky for you, there are several affordable or free tools you can use to make your own infographics to add stimulating content to your blog post. Piktochart, for example, walks you through the steps of creating an infographic and inserting your data. It is also fully customizable and interactive, so you can add clickable or roll-over images.
Some other free and easy-to-use platforms include Visualize.me and Easel.ly. Mapbox is also a good tool if you want to create interactive maps that are optimized for mobile devices. Play around with these to choose the one that is easiest for you to use.
4. Place Your Images in the Right Spot
When you have a collection of photos, graphics and other images to use in your blog posts, it’s important to know where to place them to draw readers in. You should always have at least one image above the fold, which means a reader doesn’t have to scroll to see the image. If you are placing photos throughout a post, space them out and align them to the right or left of the first few paragraphs. This creates a smooth flow from text to image, so the reader can continue reading uninterrupted. Lastly, a Hubspot post suggests only using one photo for every 350 words. This way you can add to your content and compliment it without distracting from or overpowering your words.