No matter if you’re reading a newspaper article or a blog post, it’s automatic for your eye to be drawn first to the picture. In fact, when scanning written text readers will frequently decide to read the article that has the most interesting picture.
Blog posts with images are simply more engaging than those with only text — and the stats prove it:
- Images take less brain power to process than words, reports the BBC News. Not only does presenting information visual make it easier to capture someone’s attention but your reader is more likely to remember that information later.
- According to Mashable, photos are liked twice as often as text updates on Facebook (and videos are shared 12 times as often, but that’s another article!)
See this real-world example from The Vancouver Province online about a very close encounter with a grey wolf:
This picture has all of the elements of a good-quality blog image. The subject is an animal – typically very popular in photos. Not only that, it’s a wild animal doing something interesting and unusual. You have dramatic mountain scenery in the background and a small element of danger, with the wolf coming very close to the amateur photographer.
If you’re convinced you should be including images in your blog, here are three tips to keep in mind when choosing your next blog post image:
- Engagement is important. As Mari Smith so rightly says, “Content may be king but engagement is queen, and she rules the house.” The picture you choose should make the reader eager to jump right into the body of your post.
- Match the picture to the subject matter. Your chosen image should be relevant to the blog topic so that anyone looking at the picture will have a basic idea what the blog post is about. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule – sometimes making an unexpected or surprising connection between your image and subject is the perfect hook.
- Balance image quality with quick load times. Don’t upload a high-resolution photo directly from your camera or stock photo site. Make sure to resize the photo at a lower “web-optimized” resolution so it appears quickly on your website without appearing grainy or pixelated (note that WordPress will do this for you by default). You should also double-check that the image looks good on different devices, including smart phone, tablet and desktop.
I usually find my website and blog images at iStockphoto but there are a number of sources for free images online (more on that in a future blog post). Or grab your camera (or smart phone) and create your own perfect image.