For those who don’t know, this is a series I’m currently running that takes you through all the steps to creating and maintaining a blog.
Today’s topic is all about creating and adding pictures to your blog and why that is super important.
Why you should include pictures on your blog
Since we are visual creatures, pictures are great for adding that touch of colour to a post. It is eye-catching and can draw a reader in.
But there is more to it than just making a post look pretty. The pictures can help drive traffic to your blog. After all, blogs with pictures do better than blogs without.
You will notice that all my posts have at least one picture, a “Title Picture” that features an image with the blog post title over the top.
The reason for this is so when I link my posts to other locations such as Pinterest or Instagram, the image with its text, tells viewers exactly what I am sharing and where.
If I just used a photo without text and shared that on say Instagram, it wouldn’t have the same impact. I would have to hope that the viewer read the description on the Insta post to know why I’d shared that image.
Also, social media gives higher priority to picture updates than text-based updates. So using the blog pictures can help to keep my social media posts in front of my audience.
Choosing the right size of image
Do give some thought to the size of your pictures. I chose tall images for my Title Pictures.
This was done strategically as the tall image is preferred on Pinterest as well as looking better when viewed on mobile devices.
I wanted to make sure my images were shareable and eye-catching when added to Pinterest which suggests a size of 735px x 1102px.
As it happens, this size also works pretty well for Instagram. While they aren’t as good for Twitter or Facebook, I decided that using Pinterest to drive traffic would be the better option so opted for the tall image.
You could decide to use narrow, horizontal pictures that are like a banner or square images that work better for Facebook and Instagram.
It is a good idea to consider where you will be sharing the image when linking back to your blog and how you will use it in your marketing strategy, as well as for the overall look of the post.
Style of your pictures
I personally worked for a while to come up with the style and format of my pictures. I wanted something that looked well and was repeatable, allowing me to create a consistent branded style.
It is often recommended that a photo or image with text overlaying it works best. The image draws the reader in and the text confirms what the article is about.
Check out places like Pinterest to see the different styles and layouts to give you ideas. Take some time to design you Picture Title images that you feel reflect your brand, your voice and work for the overall look of your blog. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Always include your website on the image. Sometimes people will pin your picture or share it and forget to add the URL or even hi-jack your pin and use a different URL.
By including it on the image yourself, anyone who wants to find you can do so easily.
A note about font choice
I highly recommend choosing a clear, readable font. A common style option is to have a blog post ‘Title Picture’ with two different types of font. Often the most important part of the title is written in a different, more jazzy font.
This can look great however, do make sure it’s readable. On places like Pinterest, viewers are scrolling through thousands of pins. Your image has to grab their attention and make them want to click.
If you make the font unreadable, most will just skip over your image and thus bypass your blog entirely.
Also, make sure your website address is clear and in readable font size.
Where to get pictures
Do NOT just go online and take pictures from a Google Search as you will most definitely be violating copyright.
There is no need to do this as there are loads of places to get pictures from legally. Below is a list of stock photo websites I have used.
Some require you to have an account and pay, others have royalty-free images. Obviously, paid accounts do have access to a larger quantity of images.
For those who don’t know, Royalty-free means you have the right to use copyright material without needing to pay royalties for use.
Be aware to always use reputable stock photo websites and be sure to check the allowed usage.
Different places/photos can have different usability such as some photos are for Editorial use only, whereas others can be used for commercial use etc.
Some have free images and then a larger collection if you buy a membership plan. Others offer free trials or the chance to buy credits and then use the credits to get photos as and when until your credits run out.
Most of these have libraries of photos, vectors, logos, icons, wallpapers and even videos available.
When choosing images for download check the size options. You want decent quality imagery so look for good pixel sizes.
Most images have several options if you are using these for blogs you want to be aiming for the good pixel size.
Another thing to consider is the orientation of the image. If you are creating narrow, horizontal images for your blog, then make sure to choose landscape-oriented photos.
For tall, vertical pictures choose portrait-oriented photos.
Create your own
If you are a dab-hand with a camera and have the time, you could create your own pictures using your own photographs.
Get yourself some props, make sure you have natural lighting and give it a go.
How to make pretty pictures
Once you have the photographs and your required text, making the pictures shouldn’t take too long.
There are dozens of different software programs, many are free that can help you create an awesome image.
GIMP – is free editing software that is easy enough to use. It stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program.
Adobe Photoshop – Not free but great if you want more control and ability. It is a raster graphics editor created by Adobe.
Paint – If you still have a Paint program on your computer then that can be used as well.
Placing your pictures on your blog
Once your images are ready you need to place them on your blog post. Decide where you want to place them first.
Add your image
Make sure your cursor is where you want the image to be, then go to the menu and select “Add” and then from the drop-down, “Media” (see below).
This will open up a dialogue box that shows all the pictures you have uploaded into your library (see below).
To add a new image, just click the “Add New” button and it will open a dialogue box for you to select your image.
Once the picture has been uploaded into your library, just click the Submit button at the bottom right and your image will appear in your blog post.
Once the image is in your blog post, you can make amendments. To do this, simply click on the picture to select it. An options menu will then appear (see below).
Alignment – The first four icons affect the alignment. This can make the image align beside the text (image to the right of the text, image in the centre or image to the left of text). The forth is ‘image not aligned with text’.
Size – The next two icons (one is barely visible in the above image) is a minus and plus size. These just amend the size of the image. However, you can do this manually by clicking on the corners of the image and dragging it to the size you require.
Comment – The speech-bubble icon puts a small text box below the image for you to add in comments such as what the image is about or a source reference.
Edit – The pencil icon opens a dialogue box that allows you to do further edits such as cropping the image, adding alt-text, adding a description etc.
Trash – Finally the trash bin icon is to delete the image.
The importance of Alt-Text
As mentioned above, the Edit button allows you to add in Alt-Text to your image. This is often overlooked but should be something you include.
Alt-text or “alternate text” is the text that appears if the image cannot be displayed. It allows people to know there was an image there and what it was.
However, it also plays a part with search engines allowing them to also know what an image is about. Thus it has a part to play in SEO.
So, make sure all your images have an Alt-text description (see below).
As with most things, I recommend you try and keep consistent. All my images have the same style, though I use different colour schemes for different blog posts.
I also make sure to keep placement and image size the same on all posts. This keeps the overall look consistent and adds to my branding.
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