You may find yourself wondering, ‘do I really need pictures in my post?’ Your writing is strong. The words should be able to stand up on their own … shouldn’t they?
Unfortunately, while your words may be perfect and your copy relevant and interesting, pictures really do give your writing that little leg-up that can boost your blog post right up into the stars.
At the end of the day, humans are lazy. If we don’t see something that grabs our attention immediately, few of us are likely to stick around long enough to find out how good your content really is.
That’s where pictures come in.
When it comes to using pictures for blogs, there are many reasons ways that they benefit your website.
They Break Up Your Blog
Pictures break up large blocks of text and give the reader’s eye somewhere to rest. This is the same reason you should try to include a lot of white spaces and short paragraphs in your content.
Readers don’t want to get overwhelmed by great walls of text.
A Pretty Blog is a Popular Blog
Pictures add visual interest to your blog. At the end of the day, words aren’t that pretty, and sometimes a nice picture can do more to grab someone’s attention than words ever could.
You’ll find that people tend to spend more time on blogs with pictures in them.
Make it Memorable
Humans are visual creatures. In fact, if you hear a piece of information, you’re likely to only remember 10% of what you heard. But if you see a picture, you’ll remember 65% of the information.
So if you want to keep your readers thinking about your content, use pictures.
Grab Their Attention (Quickly!)
We already know that visual beats audio, but what about text?
It takes the human mind a lot longer to process text because your brain treats each word as its own individual picture that needs to be interpreted.
So if you want to grab someone’s attention quickly, using an image will help you get the message across. This will encourage people to stick around to read your content.
Your Words Count
When it comes to using pictures for blogs, images aren’t the be all and end all of your website. They’re a supporting tool for your words. Think of them as the welcome mat that gets people through the door, while your words are what keep them in the building.
When it comes to your website, a healthy balance of words and pictures is best.
Things to Watch Out For When Using Pictures in Your Blog
Is It Legal?
Make sure you’re using your pictures legally. There are plenty of stock photography and creative commons sites out there that will allow you to use their photos free of charge.
Be careful to read the terms and conditions when using these photos though, as some require that you give credit to the original creator (Fair enough!)
The smaller the file size, the better it is for your site. If an image you upload is too large, it will slow down the loading times of your website, which can lower your ranking on Google.
We humans are an impatient lot and are unlikely to stick around long if a page takes too long to load.
File Names and Metadata
Google can’t actually ‘see’ your pictures, but it can read the names of them. So make sure that the file you upload has a relevant name that explains the content of the picture. This allows Google to index your content correctly.
If you’re uploading ‘image14798493EASDF452’ or ‘unnamed photo’ … you might want to consider renaming the file. You should be able to alter the metadata of the photo on your website as well.
How To Get Images For Your Blog?
There are many options for finding images for your blog. You can always pay a photographer to use their photos, or you can source stock photography. There are plenty of websites such as ‘Unsplash’, ‘Pixabay’ and ‘Fotor’ that supply thousands of stock photos completely free.
Be aware though, stock photography can often have a very ‘staged’ look to it. You’ll find that visitors to your site will be less inclined to engage with unnatural looking photos, so if you can find a way to create your own visual content, you should do that instead. Also, being stock photography, there’s no guarantee that a million other bloggers haven’t used the exact same image as you in their blog. It’s impossible to stand out and be unique when your website looks the same as everyone else’s.
The best way to get relevant photos just the way you want them is to take them yourself. You might want to invest in a semi-decent camera and some good lighting. Alternatively, phone technology has come a long way over the years and you could probably get by with just your phone’s camera.
If you’ve got a bit of a creative flair, you might even want to draw some simple illustrations for your blog. My own blog (and all my web pages) are illustrated entirely by me. I’ve even gotten such great feedback that I now offer web illustration as a service.
If you’re taking your own photos, perhaps set aside a few hours to take dozens or even hundreds of relevant photos that you can use over the next few months. It’s easier to do things in bulk than having to regularly step away from your writing to take photos.
Pictures Really Do Matter
When it comes to finding images for your blog, it’s important that you take the time to find pictures that will reflect well on your website.
Pictures are important. They may just be the difference between getting your blog read or not. So make sure to put aside the time to think about your photos, and how you would best like people to engage with your content.
It’s time to get your website working for you.