Essential Guide to Blog ImagesAugust 25, 2018
From the early days of marketing, when it encountered the print techniques, visuals have been the main part of presenting … situations (let's call the
From the early days of marketing, when it encountered the print techniques, visuals have been the main part of presenting … situations (let's call them that). We can even let the time machine takes us to the early mankind days: our ancestors were drawing on the walls. Not to advertise something, but to communicate. Thus mankind is used to communicate through visuals.
That is why you should use awesome blog images. Communicate with your readers not just through text, but also through images and photos.
The most common type of memory is the visual one. Our eyes are capable of capturing a lot of information that is quickly processed by the brain. Think of it this way: what would you do if you'd lose your hearing? Or if you couldn't talk? You'd still be able to live your life at a (almost) high capacity because you'd still be in control; you'd still see your environment.
But what would you do if you'd lose your eyesight? You'd learn how to rely on your hearing and feeling, but it would be a lot more difficult than the other situations.
Therefore, simply because our eyes are our main way to embrace the world, people are reacting way better when they actually see something. By “reacting” I'm referring in terms of advertising and promotion.
Taking all this information, let's explain why it's indicated to use blog images in your blog articles.
First of all, you're not writing a physical novel, you're writing something that's totally different. People expect that books and novels should not contain any image. And they expect that a blog article should have at least a few.
Reading blog articles should be easy, especially in this world where we're on a constant run. When you read a book, you'll want to be able to dive deep into it, to use your imagination as much as you can. Blog articles, on the other hand, need to be expressive; they have to help you digest the information more easily.
Secondly, adding some awesome blog images to your articles will help your articles stand out and be remembered easier. Not just the article, but the information in it. Especially if you use some graphic designs or images to present each of your paragraphs.
As I've said, visual memory is the most common type of memory among people, so use this as your power tool. Always imagine yourself reading other's articles: “what were you expecting to find?”, “did you memorize some ideas?”, “why were you able to memorize them?” and so on.
Thirdly, the blog post will look more professional, more put-together. Yes, there are tools and platforms that limit the “distractions”, to make you focus just on the text (Medium and Pocket). Medium is more like a journal where you write your opinions about something. Pocket is a tool that helps you save the articles you want to read or like; they mostly skip the images if you'll read the article inside Pocket, but you can access the original article at any time.
If you want to build your own career with blogging, thus creating a whole website for yourself, for your future brand, then you can't rely on the fact that you don't need images.
Another reason is that it will be easier for you and for others to promote your article. Having all of those well-created and awesome images will make it possible to promote your articles multiple times. In order to make this process better, be sure to have your images either:
- designed in a certain way (your way);
- the blog post title was written on each of them, somewhere visible but subtle;
- your blog's name/brand's name on each.
These will help you be recognized more easily. Not to mention that you'll have a unitary image of your blog.
Moving on, some other reason is that adding images to your blog isn't about looking for stock photos and scattering them throughout the article. It's about finding the perfect design, capturing the best photos, editing them etc.
All these emphasize that you're really putting an effort into creating beautiful articles. Adding these beautiful created photos will show people your work; they will know that you're really trying to present your work in a beautiful way. And they will (most of the time) appreciate this.
Last, but not least, sometimes you'll have to add screenshots because they are easier to understand. Even with screenshots, you can juggle: add your brand's/article's name, edit them in a fun way and so on. It will be easier for your readers to understand that particular process you're trying to describe with your words. We know it, longer articles are better but don't sabotage your time and resources by writing ten sentences that could've been covered by a screenshot.
A tip to remember is that you should not over clutter your blog article with images. You're blogging aka writing; you're not presenting photo albums. Minimal is the best way to go; it will help you have the perfect balance between useful images and text.
Let's dive deeper into this essential guide for using blog images
That is why you should buy a camera that will be decent enough to help you take sharp, clear and vivid photos. Nowadays most smartphones take great pictures; if you like the way your smartphone takes photos, then why not use it? At least for the beginning.
Of course, using the right environment and light applies to both cameras and smartphone cameras.
Real photos can be used in your blog if you are in these blogging niches:
- fashion and beauty;
- and many others.
So, if you want to use real photos in your blog, then try to find the perfect neutral/white light. In case you want to showcase a product, then use a simple background, preferably in a white or pastel tone. Flat lays are also a popular way to arrange objects in a photo.
If you are trying to present a makeup, be sure to take the picture in a light that doesn't alter the colors. Preferably, white. Take both full-face photos, as well as close-ups on lips and eyes.
In case you're reviewing a product, then try to take a few photos of it: stand-alone and/or someone using it.
Travel photos are the most fun to take. That golden hour should be your best-friend in taking photos. Try to capture as much as you can of the place you're presenting. Help people understand why are you writing about that place, not only by writing but also with photos. Make them imagine themselves there.
For technology blogging, but also for fashion and beauty blogging, you can use gifs. Imagine that you're writing an article about how to use a gadget. Wouldn't it be best to use a gif than to insert multiple pictures, when you're trying to describe how to use it?
Gifs gained popularity, and they are really fun to watch, They are also convenient, as it is like a video, but they don't have the same enormous size. Don't be afraid to use them! One simple gif maker is this one.
To have a more professional look, try to capture the photos in the same way. For example, if you're a flat lay fan, that try to stick with that. Of course, it doesn't apply to travel blogging (unless you're writing about travel kits or something similar).
Also, find a filter or a preset that suits you the most, and stick with it. It is just like Instagram, where this strategy has gained a lot of popularity. If you'll use the same filter everywhere, then it will be easier for you to quickly make your blog images “sparkle”.
In case you're using photos with text added, try to stick with a design and a color scheme. In case you didn't already choose your blog color scheme, now it's the best moment. Pinterest is a tremendous source of inspiration when it comes to colors. Also, use Coolors or Colormind.
Regarding the image size, try to not add images that are over 1.5MB (even this can be too much). Big images will not help you in any way; they will just slow down your blog, and you don't want that. WordPress lets you choose the size of your image: small, medium and large. In most cases, Small is way too tiny, thus try to use the Medium size.
TipȘ try to insert Pinterest friendly photos, as it will be easier for you and your readers to share them on that platform. The right size for a Pinterest feed photo is 735 x 1102 pixels. Pinterest is a great traffic source for your blog, and it also focuses on visuals. This is why, if you'll want to use this platform to promote your articles, you'd better insert this images sizes, too.
Let's not forget about the fact that you can also search Google for images. This is why you should add a title and an attribute (containing at least one keyword) to every photo you've inserted in your blog article. It can happen that your images will rank higher in Google Images than your article in Google Search.
Regarding the way of arranging your blog images, this depends on the platform or on the theme you're using. Most of the articles have the images placed like this:
Also, try to emphasize the images that you consider the most important. Either style them a bit differently than the others or just place them alone, a bit bigger than the rest.
Important! Try not to use stock photos as they are. Edit them a bit: add some text, use them as a background for something; basically, customize them for your own needs.
Tip: If you don't have that many photos or images to use, replace the headlines with photos. It will certainly catch your reader's attention; he will be able to see the article's outline more easily, thus he will not get lost in all of that text.
Let's start with a simple one. In case you need to take quick screenshots, you don't have to press the PrintScreen button and then go in the Screenshots folder. There's an easier way; it's called LightShot. I've discovered it about a year ago, and it's been awesome!
Screenshots are a quick and easy way to show your readers examples of what you're talking about. Exactly how I did above when I showed you examples of placing blog images in the articles.
LightShot is a useful desktop app that doesn't take much space. Just start the app at the beginning of the day; then, whenever you need a screenshot, press the PrintScreen button on your keyboard. You can now capture the exact area of the window that you need.
After you've selected it, you'll see that you can do the following:
- highlight areas of the screenshot;
- use a box to frame something;
- write text;
- draw on the screenshot;
- copy the screenshot;
- save as a jpeg;
- share it on social media;
- upload it to prntscrn.com.
Doesn't it sound easy-peasy? I tell you, it's a life-savior because it saves you a lot of time.
Another powerful tool I came across is PikTab. It's a Chrome extension that's basically a search engine for images, graphics, videos and all that. Their resources include almost every website that has free images, icons, vectors, designs, tutorials:
- and other 31 Sources.
Why is it helpful? Think of how much time you would've spent on searching for inspiration or for photos. I wasn't even aware that there were so many websites for free designs. Were you? It will be effortless to have just 1 tab open, rather than 38, right?
Think of what your images you need for your article. Use PikTab just as a search engine, but try to use 1-2 words. If you get too specific, it may say that it doesn't find anything. Filter your search based on your needs; if you need just photos, then select the specific checkbox; in case you need vectors, select that.
Browse through the results, and open the images that suit you the most. PikTab will automatically send you to the website from where the image is. You can even create an account, in order to create Collections and save what you like for later.
Most of the graphics and photos are free, but most of them ask you to specify the author. Don't worry, each website tells you the exact rules when you download the image/graphic design.
As soon as you found what you need, get to your editing tools and start working! There are two main tools that we like: Venngage and Canva.
Venngage is a website where you can create beautiful infographics. It's free, but it also has some Premium account, perfect if you want to have access to all of their resources. They give you templates both for inspiration, but also to modify them for your needs. You can add images, maps, excels and chart of all kinds.
Just let your mind wander and think of what would you like to see in an infographic. They also have a resource of stock photos that you can use. The thing is that in the free version, you can't download your project; you can only have it online and public and share it from there.
The fun part is that the paid account offers you the possibility to download the infographic as a Smart PDF. That means that people will be able to click on the links you added there, right in the pdf. Nice, right?
Another infographic tool that I know about is Infogram. It has also a free account and a premium one. In the Free account, you have to have your infographic public, and you'll be able to share it through an URL.
It has a different style compared to Venngage, as the whole working area is grey-black. As for the features it offers, they are kind of cool: the whole editing is based on blocks (inserting 1 block for the heading, one for the paragraph, some for the images); you can even insert a Gantt chart (super useful for project-timing).
There are also animations that you can add to each type of block, so that is a really nice way to create and to entertain and inform people with an infographic. And I also want to mention that you'll be able to track and analyze your infographics, as you can connect your Google Analytics account. You should definitely test it out.
Infographics gained a lot of popularity in the recent years. They are ideal for Pinterest, where everything is visual. They are great for sharing information in an efficient way.
Not only people will remember what they read easier and for a longer time, but they will also want to read the whole infographic. Which is a big thing, as most of the time, people only read parts of blog articles.
You need infographics because with them you can present difficult information, statistics, and facts in a friendlier way; people will actually understand what you're saying. Part because it's presented in a colorful way (icons, big numbers, color highlights), part because it's easier to understand a situation when you're seeing it, too. Exactly what I was writing about in the first part of the article.
Infographics can be used for different blogging niches, such as:
- Travel blogging;
- Digital Marketing;
- even in Fashion and Beauty if you get creative enough.
As long as you have information that can be presented using icons, drawings and maybe statistics then I encourage you to use infographics in your blog article.
Let's move to the simple blog images. I told you that if you don't need real photos, then you can use some interesting graphic designs. But what design should you use? Where can you edit your photos and where can you create a design?
There are a number of tools that we mentioned before, but this is the simplest and most popular one: Canva.
Canva is a free online tool, where you can create beautiful designs. Whether you need a social media design, or you need a blog header, and many other designs, this is the place for you.
It even has the option for a Premium account, where the best part is re-dimensioning designs. This means that once you create one, you can easily transform its size to suit dimensions. For example, you just created a design for a Facebook post; you'll be able to re-dimension this for Twitter, Pinterest, Blog, and many others. Of course, you'll need to re-arrange the shapes a bit, but it's certainly a time-saving operation.
As I said above, try to stick with a single design and adapt it to each of your articles.
Tip: If you already created one design, just hit the “Add Pages” button (see below)
Create a template and use it for each design (maybe alternating the colors), or use the same filter for your photos and images; it will help your blog look more professional. The same design will be everywhere – on Twitter, on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and whatever social media platform you use for promotion.
Another benefit of using a template is that you'll save time. You'll not be stressed every time because you don't know what design to use next. Try to eliminate every stress possible; make your work easier.
Canva offers you a vast variety of designs to use, thus be sure that you'll find something to use for your blog. Be careful, though! Some of the photos included in the design are not free! In this case or if you didn't find the perfect photo, Canva lets you upload your own photos.
Tip: if you use real photos and you want to edit them in a certain way, use VSCO, the smartphone app. It's the easiest and most convenient way. In case you want a desktop version, a great recommendation is Pixlr.
Of course, there's always Lightroom or Photoshop, for those that have them.
So for you to remember what you read today, these are the main ideas for this essential guide to blog images:
- Remember that visual memory is the most common one; make use of this and start creating designs that will make your blog articles memorable (help people remember your article, but also what they read);
- In case you have a blog that needs real photos, even your smartphone can be good enough. Just make sure you have the proper, natural light, plus a neutral background;
- If you want to use designs, then save yourself some time and create a template. Use it for everything, maybe alternating the colors;
- Try to find a color scheme to stick to;
- Inspire yourself from PikTab;
- Use infographics and create them with Venngage or Infogram;
- Create graphic designs with Canva;
- Edit your photos with VSCO or Pixlr.
If you want to find other tips, ideas and information about blogging, check our category right here.