The Importance of Using High Quality Images on Your Blog
A picture says a thousand words and that remains to be true in your blog posts as well. Images make people more compelled to view your blog post and that’s the main reason you want to use it. It’s to increase your post’s appeal and increase its exposure.
They can also serve as decoration and make large chunks of text seem more exciting and easier to read. Images can give a really powerful message too and set the tone for the rest of your content, so it’s important that you’re reasonable in how you use them. Which is why you should read this post through and learn all the knots and jolts for using images in a truly powerful and strategic manner. There’s also a lot to know about what images you can and can’t use on your site, if you want to completely avoid being sued by somebody.
So, let’s get down to all the various practices to help you create blog posts with killer visuals.
Is There a Limit To How Much Images You Should Add?
Well you’re writing a blog instead of posting a photo gallery for a reason, right? Images are great and can be extremely beneficial for your post, but too much can achieve the opposite effect. For this reason, most experts say, five is the maximum number of images you should have in your blog. If you use more, than it will drop the value of your content, and your readers will disengage from it. This is because too many images seem to just take up space.
But let us make this more precise with a framework. According to BlogPros’ research, 3.2 images per blog post is the ideal number. Also, one image should follow 350 words. This isn’t a golden rule though, because some blog posts have been successful with more and others have been too, with no images whatsoever. Although, the main reason to use photos in your post is to break and segment your content.
How Should You Place Your Images?
It depends on what you want to achieve with your image and its informational value. Based on this, there are two main ways you can display an image within your text, which is an inline image or a block image. Both of these have different effects on the user and should be used accordingly.
An inline image lets the text flow around it, without interrupting the reader. It’s great for decoration and adding a bit of visual effect to what you want to explain with a certain paragraph. You should use this when you want the reader to remain focused on the text and continue reading it. You’ll only reduce the line of your paragraph and will make your content more engaging and pleasing to the eye.
A block image interrupts the text and demands the user to focus on the image and analyze it. You should use this is the image has information value within the topic at hand. They should be placed between two paragraphs. If there are a lot of images you want to use at once, put them in a slideshow.
You can show off images in other places around the site as well. Place it above the fold for example. Once your reader opens you post’s page, the image will be the first thing they see, which will make for a pretty solid first impression. A relevant and engaging image will be a sure winner.
What Images Should You Use and Where To Find Them?
Now, this is a more extensive topic, because not only should your images help your blog posts achieve better results, they should also be legal. That word makes choosing images a whole lot tougher, because you can’t use an images just because you like it. If it’s copyrighted, you put yourself at risk of being sued. Most photographs on the web are protected by copyright law.
The poster of the image can protect their work by placing a copyright mark on it. Plenty of bloggers have suffered the consequences of copyright infringement, because of their ignorance of the copyright law. They got huge fines, so this isn’t something that should be treated lightly. But regardless of that, you wouldn’t want someone else to steal your blog post and take credit for it, right? So you shouldn’t do that to anyone else either.
With that said, all is not lost. You have plenty of other ways to get high quality images for your posts, besides making them yourself. You just have to know what kind of license an image has. There are many different licenses and each define how you can use the image in question. So, before you dive in and gather all the images for your post, keep these few things in mind:
- Treat every image as if they’re protected.
- If someone complains about a picture on your site, remove it immediately!
- If someone complains that your image is copyrighted or they saw its original source, investigate it immediately!
- If you don’t know whether you’re allowed to use the image or not, just ask the owner if you can. If you know where to find him.
If you want to spare yourself the hassle and know which images you can or can’t use, right off the bat, just continue reading.
There are number of licenses for images posted online. Those who post an image, apply a creative commons license to their work. The license applied to an image, defines how you’re allowed to use it. So, let’s see what each of the fancy words for licensing means.
Royalty Free Images – The term Royalty-Free means that you can use an intellectual property or copyrighted material without having to pay royalties for each image or use per volume sold. So basically, you just pay once for a single image and you can use it as many times as you want to. iStock is a pretty good place get RF images. Use RF images in your most important posts where you know it’s worth spending a dollar or two!
Attribution License: You can freely use or modify any images with an attribution license. They can be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes as well, as long as you give credit to the creator of the picture.
Attribution-NoDervis License: You can freely publish, distribute or copy the image, but you’re not allowed to make any sort of modifications to it. You can use it commercially or non-commercially, but you have to give credit to the creator as well.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License: You can use the image in question without any modification but not for commercial purposes. If you make money with your blog, than you can’t use it in your posts. You’ll also have to give credit to the creator, wherever you use it.
Attribution-NonCommercial License: You can freely publish, distribute and modify the image in question, but only for non-commercial reasons. You also have to give credit to its creator.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License: You can use the image for non-commercial reasons, but if you make modifications to it, then it has to be licensed under the same terms. Once again, credit goes to the creator.
Attribution-ShareAlike License: These type of photos can be used for non-commercial reasons only. Modifications can be made, but they have to be licensed under the same terms. Credit goes to the creator.
So, with a lot of images, you’ll have to give credit to its creator. There are numerous ways you can do this:
- Footnotes – With a footnote, the reader will maintain their focus on the content and read the attributions in the last rows of the article.
- Creator Specified – Some creators will give specific guidelines to how they want to be credited for their work.
- Image Captions – You can add a line of text under the image, where you give credit to the original creator of the image.
- Watermarks – You can add a watermark to the bottom of the image that credits the original creator.
- Link – Linking to the author’s page is like recommending him or her directly to somebody.
How and Where To Find Free Images
Most of us will probably want to go on the free route whenever we have the chance, which is why I’ll give it a bit more emphasis here. You won’t have a too easy time finding just the right free images for your site, but there are plenty of them, depending on what you’re searching for. You can even use Google to search for them.
Just open up Google go to > Settings > Advanced Search > Open the drop down menu at usage rights and select not filtered by license. Chances are, that you won’t find some truly high-quality images with Google, which is why you should look at these alternative sources. These are the best sources for free images, in my opinion. The images you can download from these trustworthy places, can all be used for free.
It’s one of my favorites because Pixabay has plenty of high-definition images that make awesome materials for blog posts and it also gives great suggestions. Digging through Pixabay is like going down the rabbit hole and you never know what you’ll find. You might end up finding something completely different than what you’ve been looking for and see that it’s perfect for your post. Its popularity and selection of public domain images is growing every day.
Flickr is one of the most popular places to find free photos that you can freely use in any kind of content you create. A lot of YouTubers use it as their primary source for image as well. You can search by using the creative commons license and find plenty of free images. But there are also premium ones, so whatever you need, this site probably has it.
Unsplash is also a pretty amazing image source for bloggers. It is filled with public domain and CC-0 licensed photos. It has 10 new photos uploaded every 10 days and also offers a good search feature. They even offer a Google Chrome extension that will show you a fresh picture every time you open a new tab and you can download it to your computer in a single click.
Photo Pin helps bloggers find photographs to use in their articles and posts. It uses a Flickr Api to search for photographs that have a creative commons license. But most photographs you find here requires you to mention their creators.
There are more than 100,000 photos on FreeFoto and you can use all of them on your blog. Though most of the photos have a watermark in the right corner of the photos, but I don’t think it would bother anybody.
Making Your Own Graphics
Creating your own graphics will make your posts much more unique. They will also apply to what you have to say, much better than any other type of image would. So, I highly recommend making them, even if you’re not a graphics designer or haven’t opened Photoshop in your life. Here are a couple of awesome tools that will help you with creating unique graphics.
ThingLink – This program will help you create awesome images with annotations and other interactive elements. With it, you can easily create interactive images that you won’t find on any other blog out there.
Canva – Canva has some awesome templates you can use, and it’s probably one of the easiest programs to make graphics with. They will fit into your social media platforms perfectly.
Pixlr – Pixlr is a program similar to Photoshop, only that it’s free. You can edit your picture with it and add effects as well.
Optimizing Your Images
It’s always important to keep SEO in mind as well. Search engine spiders and crawlers can’t read images, they can only read text. That is why you should provide plenty of it. Here are a couple of rules you should always follow when you make a new post.
Always add a title and an alt-text to your images – Your readers will see the title of the image if they hover over it while they read, while the alt-text will only be read by search engines. So, make the title of the image nice and catchy, while the alt-text should be a firm description of what the picture contains. This is an important part of your SEO process, because search engines want to index everything on your site and this is how you help them.
Give descriptive names to the files you upload – While this hasn’t been confirmed to be a ranking factor, it can be read. Giving a clear name to your files will not only make your job easier when you browse through them, but it might also help your SEO by a great deal.
Add social sharing buttons to them – If you write a quote on an image for example, make it easy for other people to share it on Facebook or Pinterest. Add the share buttons and they can help your blog gain more exposure with a single click.
Only upload the size you have to – If you need size 500 x 500 images for your post, than there is no reason to upload full-HD images. Instead, resize them, crop them and make the files much smaller. Large images make your website load slowly and that’s bad for business.
Use featured images for your posts – If your post is shared on social media or within a chat window, it’s much more compelling if it has a high-quality featured image.
Compress your images before uploading them – Like I said, large images make your website load slower, so after you resized them, you should also compress them. Use TinyPNG to do it, it’s an awesome software that works great for resizing images.
Add an affiliate link to your images – If you’re in the business of affiliate marketing and you’re reviewing a product, than this will help you get the user to the product page. Just add an affiliate link to the picture of the product you’re showing off.
Tips for Getting The Most Out Of Your Images
Images don’t just make your posts look better, they eventually increase the number of times your posts are viewed, the number of followers you have and more. They make for a much more engaging post, which is good for business.
Combine Images With Text
You probably came across a couple of images with awesome quotes you loved so much. Those images have turned out to be some of the most engaging posts on Facebook over the past few years. Visual memory is also a lot stronger than verbal memory, and you’ll remember a lot more from visual inputs than you would from any kind of text. So, images are much better for conveying information to your readers.
Establish Credibility With High-Quality Images
Having a professional web design, good content and high quality images on your site is important for one reason. When people see them, they think „somebody has invested a lot into this website, they must be trustworthy”. The use of high quality content and high quality images is your way of building trust with your website’s visitors.
Use Images Of Real People
The number one problem with plenty of images is that they seem fake to a lot of people. People just rush through images like that most of the time. While people will spend a lot more time with looking at content that actually seems authentic. If they see authentic people in an authentic settings, they will find the source much more trustworthy.
Present Information in Visual Formats
A lot of people say that „I’m a visual learner”, but they aren’t actually visual learners. Our brains just remembers visual data much more efficiently. It’s also easier to describe certain concepts and ideas by drawing them down. Which is why you should use well-drawn infographics to explain complex ideas in your blog posts.
There you have it! These are the most important things you should keep in mind when you’re adding images to your blog. Just make sure they’re always legal and that they go well with your written content. Also use the tips we’ve given above and you’ll be well on your way to creating more engaging blog posts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this article and that we’ll see you soon in the next one! If you have anything to say, please do it in the comment section below.