In an earlier post, I shared some blogging tips for running a successful blog in celebration of reaching 500 followers. In this post, I would like to discuss the use of images on your blog and in your blog posts. Tip 1: Use photos and images on your blog page or website. When I visit other blogs, I like to see a few images. Some themes do not allow a lot of images and many folks prefer a simple, clean page. A great header image that embodies the personality of your blog is nice to see.
If you are reading this on my blog’s page, you can see that I my header photo shows “perspective” of a favorite vacation spot. You will also see my “about me” photo which I change every few months. Many bloggers choose not to use photos of themselves and that is pure choice. Scrolling down on my sidebar you will see social media icons and other images. I also included two galleries including awards and challenges I have accepted. Careful use of images on your blog page or website creates interest and is pleasing to the reader’s eye.
Tip 2: Use an image in your blog posts. There is nothing like a compelling image on your blog post to attract readers. Many bloggers might argue that good quality content is all one needs for a successful post and for many, this may be true.
However, we are visual people and including a great image in your post attracts readers. Stats do not lie. If you blog on WordPress, take a look at the Reader. Count how many posts include a featured image. Do you tend to click on the posts with an interesting image, especially if that image underpins the subject of the post? I sure do!
Most of my posts have one or two images. Too many images can break up the text in a great blog post, making it difficult to read. I read blogs that use lots of images and gifs (you know the silly photos that repeat wildly?) and while use of these can be entertaining and humorous, they can be distracting. When you use images, do so sparingly. If you choose to use a large amount of images, consider creating a gallery that you can embed into your post. Scrolling through too many images can send a reader quickly away from your page!
Tip 3: Use your OWN images for your blog posts. Why use your own images? Can you say “copyright infringement”? A graphic artist friend, who is in this business, said that this is the new, trending lawsuit. Other bloggers have described their terrible experiences of innocently using a random photo on their blog post and were sued.
There are free or low-cost stock images available. The Beginners Guide for WordPress has this great article about using images. If you use images from the web, use caution. Even acknowledging the image’s origin may not be good enough. Most of us do not make money with our blogs and having to pay upwards to $1000 for misuse of an image can be tragic.
Do you have friends or family who are photographers? Ask to use their photos. Simply e-mail them asking their permission to use their photos in your blog or website.
By doing this, you actually have documented their permission. Your photo’s caption might read: “photo of tree, used with permission by so-and-so’s name.” This also gives the photographer credit for the image, especially if he or she has published it on another website. The dog photo shows a similar example and since I edited the image, I watermarked it.
Perhaps you take terrible pictures or don’t own a good digital camera? Most of us have a smart phone with a camera. Use it. I installed Dropbox on my laptop, tablet and phone. As soon as I take a photo with my phone, it puts into Dropbox automatically. Edit your image with a program like Photoshop, Canva or PicMonkey. I use the free version of PicMonkey and it is perfectly fine.
Why edit your photos? Cropping your images is recommended. You can also adjust the color or edit the image into black and white for the effect you seek. Also, back to copyright laws, I highly recommend watermarking your image. A watermark usually consists of some version of your name/website/year.
PicMonkey and Pinterest have great tutorials for editing and watermarking. Is watermarking your image a foolproof way to protect your intellectual digital property? Some say yes and some say no. Just google “watermarking your images” and see what pops up! Again, it will be your preference.
On a similar note, you can create your own images that highlight your favorite quotes. If you fall into the category of fuzzy photo taker, then using photo editing on those images and adding a quote should be fun and easy! You can see the example in my featured image.
Using your own images in your blog posts is also another way to share your posts using social media. Next week’s post on blogging tips will cover the use of social media and link-ups to help promote your blog!
Has using images worked well for you? Do you use your own images? I would love to hear your perspective on this subject!