This post originally appeared on tBL member Joshua Lyon's blog Joshua Lyons Marketing Blog and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.//?#
Many have said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that isn’t from the truth, at least according to most bloggers. Here’s the thing; images play a vital role in catching the reader’s attention, thereby committing them to read even further. They also strengthen your blog post’s message, differentiate blog posts from each other, and they add valuable SEO juice to boost website traffic. So, it’s safe to say that images are highly valuable!
However, be sure to keep some rules in mind when you need images for your marketing. Below are some of the image do’s and don’ts you should remember.
1. Use Legal Images
Chances are pretty good that you don’t want to have legal tussles over petty issues like using unauthorized images. It’s not wise to just use any image you find on the internet in your marketing material. For this reason, it’s important to find out about the legality of the images you plan to use in your blog post or other marketing collateral.
Here’s what you should know:
- Royalty-Free: With royalty-free images, you’re free to download and use them as you wish. However, you’re not allowed to resell or make any changes to the picture.
- Public Domain: There are no restrictions whatsoever when using images from the public domain. It’s polite to provide attribution for these images, but even that isn’t required.
- Creative Commons: These images can typically be used as long as you give proper attribution to the person who created them.
- Rights Managed: Rights-managed images will require you to buy a single-user license for the image you wish to use.
If you want to buy images to give you peace of mind, you can use sites such as Shutterstock. This is the website we use for nearly all the images in our entire blog. It’s also worth having a look on free stock photo sites such as Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay. These sites can be very helpful if you have a limited budget and need images for a marketing piece.
2. Split the Text
You may have noticed many websites tend to insert images in their blog posts and pages. This makes their content more visually appealing. If you present your readers with a giant block of text, there’s a good chance they will immediately leave your website. This can happen even if your content is shorter and more informative than other blog posts or website pages. Images help break up the text and this make the content easier to read. Therefore, use your images wisely to try to break up big blocks of text in your writing.
3. The Clearer the Better
Most readers are more inclined to engage with content when the images are pleasing to the eye. Say NO to low quality or blurry images. Some readers might assume that if your photos are low quality, then your writing is of the same low quality. So, it’s wise to always use images that are crystal clear.
4. Feature Images with The Headlines
The most compelling picture for every blog post is the one at the top with the title of the content. This clearly shows the reader what to expect from the rest of the post. In fact, this is the image that appears in social streams when you and others share your content.
If you use the right image, your content will be more likely to elicit clicks, shares, comments and other desirable forms of engagement. However, if this image isn’t attractive, you might safely expect readers to scroll past it. A good strategy is to put the headline/title within the blog post image. This way, your readers will immediately get a clear understanding of what your blog post is about, before deciding to read it.
5. Don’t Forget the SEO Trick
Optimizing your website images the right way can be a great way to supplement your SEO efforts. You simply have to properly use the alt tag. For WordPress fans, you can use the pencil icon to make changes to the image. In the “Alternative Text” box, fill in your chosen alt text and wait for your blog images to show up. If your image doesn’t show for some of your website readers, for whatever reason, the alt text will describe to them what the image is about. If you’ve ever been on a website and it showed a place for an image, but the image was missing and there was a little “X” then you’ve seen where the alt text would go. If there was an “X” then they website owner didn’t specify the alt text for that image.
And yes, Google uses the alt text when crawling the web for pictures. For example, let’s say you have a picture related to healthy eating, and you use “healthy eating” for your alt text. When someone searches Google images for “healthy eating,” your image might be among the first ones to show up, which can be a great source of traffic.
Besides Google image searches, setting the alt tag can also contribute to the overall on-page optimization of your blog post or web page. And this, in turn, can help boost your ranking on search engines.
6. Optimize Big Images
As we’ve said before, images are crucial for any website. Also, you want to avoid using low quality images. At the same time though, it can be problematic to use high resolution images on a website. High resolution files are typcially very large and can significantly increase the amount of time needed to load a website. If you’ve been to a website that takes a long time to load, it may be because the image sizes weren’t reduced to something more appropriate for a website.
To avoid such a scenario, optimize your images to keep the file size low but with high visual quality. You can do this manually, but we suggest using tools like WP Smush and Optimizilla, which automatically compresses image file sizes
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7. Consistency Is Key
If you consistently use pictures, you’ll quickly establish your unique style that readers will easily recognize. This will also reduce the time it takes for you to choose or make images.
The process of selecting or creating images requires lots of design decisions that should be made in advance. You’ll need to figure out the layout, colors, fonts, etc. Always set standards and follow them to the latter and be consistent with your brands image.
8. Use Explainer Images
You should first think about why you’re using a specific image in your marketing before using it. In an ideal scenario, your imagery should be able to explain more about your main point. For instance, if you’re creating a blog post about Instagram, get a photo/screenshot of an Instagram post that explains what you’re talking about. A picture of a person using a computer is irrelevant in this case.
If you’d like to explain complex ideas, it’s better to use diagrams. Applications such as OmniGraffle will help you to create flowcharts and diagrams easily. On the other hand, you can use imgflip if you’d like to create pie charts. All you have to do is to get your data source ready and then proceed to put your infographic together. Diagrams and infographics can take extra time to create though. So, decide if the type of information they provide is worth the time it would take to pull the data together.
9. Images with Faces
Human faces are unique, and when captured in an photo, they are unlike any other type of image. In fact, research shows that you are most likely to stare at pictures with human faces than those without one.
If you use your photo on your blog post, it humanizes your content. Your readers will even feel like they know you in person. This is a straightforward way of building trust between you and your readers.
The images used in your marketing and on your blog posts are just as important as the words used. You should be mindful of your images the same way you are about the title or introduction of your content. This is because they back up your words and reinforce the message you’re trying to convey through your writing.
Let us know if you still have questions about this topic. Also, scroll down to the contact form on this page, and send us a message if you need assistance with your digital marketing.