This week on #blogchat on Twitter, we discussed the use of images in blog posts, and I thought that some of the advice we covered there might be useful for you too. So here are my top tips for using images in your blog posts.
1. Use an image per post
At Digital Photography School, I include an image at the top of every post.
This provides a visual point of interest that draws people to read the post. Whilst the audience is particularly visually oriented, I think this is true across the board. The web is filled with rich media, and great images now. So the more you can do to make text-based posts visually appealing, the better.
In fact, some of our most shared posts on dPS are composed almost entirely of images, with little to no text at all. Take a look at the stats on your blog for posts with images, and compare them with posts that don’t have images. You might find that the former do better with readers. They’ll almost certainly be more likely to be shared.
2. Use images to draw the eye
Using an image at the post’s top is a default for dPS, but we also often images later in posts, too. In this way, they act almost like sub-headings to draw people down the page, and keep them engaged throughout the post.
Not only do those later images catch attention, they provide visual respite for the visitor who is diligently reading through the whole post, from start to finish. So these images serve all kinds of readers—not just scanners.
I think the trick with this is to take care with the images you use. If the reader scans from the top image to a subsequent one, you may—or may not— want that subsequent image to jar for them. It’s important to choose those images carefully, so that they tell the story you want them to.
3. Use images for RSS
Images in your posts also grab the attention of users who are subscribed to your RSS feed. In that case, they can mean the difference between your post being read or ignored.
If you think images are eye-catching on your blog—which is already heavily designed and strongly visual, just imagine what they can do to get attention in a less designed, more texty environment.
4. Trust your instincts
I choose images for blog posts based on the feeling that the image gives me more than anything else. And I’ve really found this to work well.
Often here on ProBlogger, guest posters will send us generic clipart-style images to accompany their content, and we avoid publishing these.
The best images are the ones that evoke a feeling in you and your readers. Clip art probably won’t do that! What does are images that contain people. We’re human, and biology has preprogrammed us to look into each others’ eyes.
So I find that using images with people who are looking at the camera tend to be the most engaging.
5. Take your time
Images are important—and not just to those embracing Pinterest as a medium for growing their readership!
A good image is sometimes as important (if not more important) than a good title for a blog post. On dPS, sometimes I’ll take longer choosing the image for a post than writing the post itself.
You may not spend that much time on your image selection, but if you’re not paying much attention to it, I encourage you to build some time into your posting schedule over the next few weeks to source really strong, eye-catching, and engaging images. You never know how your readers will respond, but you might see longer visits, and more sharing of your content if you do.
Are you already using images on your blog? What types work best for you? Share your advice in the comments.