While many marketing writers understand the value of including images in a blog post, choosing the right ones can be challenging. Using photos that are irrelevant, stocky, or low-quality can reflect poorly on the article and make your brand appear unprofessional. Here’s an overview of why images are so important and how to pick the best ones for a post.
Why Are Images Crucial for Your Blog?
Attractive & Engaging
Humans are wired to prioritize visual stimuli. In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than written text. That’s why it isn’t surprising that images make a blog post more visually appealing and engaging to readers. Plus, pictures can tell a powerful visual story in ways that text can’t. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about kitchen remodeling, including photos of granite countertops will be more compelling than describing the different colors, textures, and patterns in words.
Image search engines, such as Google Images, pull photos from websites across the internet. Including images in your post will help you get traffic from these sources. However, you’ll need to optimize the pictures for SEO, which will be explained later in this post.
Additionally, blog posts with images have a higher chance of showing up on the first page of Google results, as Google’s algorithm prioritizes longer posts with videos and photos.
When readers come across your blog, they’ll be impressed by how you combine text, images, and graphics tastefully. This will show that your brand is interested in delivering value. Plus, posts with images look far more professional than ones with bare text.
How to Pick Images for Blog Articles
1. Choose High-Quality Images
First, make sure the subject is in sharp focus, easily identifiable, and clear. There should be good exposure; too much or too little light can make a photo look unprofessional, foggy, or blurred. Also, make sure the subject is either centered or slightly off-centered, keeping the rule of thirds composition in mind. This will make the composition more visually appealing and engaging.
2. Follow SEO Best Practices
Before adding an image to your blog, customize the file name. It should include a relevant keyword for the page. For example, for a photo showing countertops, name the file brandname_countertops.jpg. While most users will never see the file, this gives the search engine more data about what’s in the blog post and which keywords to associate with it. For hyperlocal SEO, include the location you want to be associated with rather than your brand name. For example, write chicago_countertops.jpg.
Be careful when choosing a file type. JPG is a common format, as it’s widely supported and utilizes small file sizes, allowing the image to load faster. However, the quality isn’t as good as PNG, and it won’t work for transparent backgrounds. PNG, on the other hand, offers a high resolution. However, it also requires larger file sizes, which can slow down a webpage and hurt SEO. Use this format for more complex, detailed images, such as an infographic.
Next, size the images properly, making sure they’re big enough to look good but not so large that they’ll slow down the webpage. Again, site speed is a crucial SEO ranking factor, and you don’t want readers waiting for a blog post to load. This will increase the bounce rate and hurt the user experience. Simply resize the pictures before loading them to your CMS, using the smallest file sizes that allow for a good resolution. After resizing, compress the images; this will decrease the file sizes without lowering the quality.
Some bloggers host images on third-party sites to save space. However, this is a mistake, as these sites can get overloaded with user traffic, causing your images to load slowly or not at all. In turn, your brand will look unprofessional, and the site’s user experience will suffer. Instead, host the images on your site, using the above advice to ensure they load quickly.
Finally, fill out the alt text for each blog post image. This is another element that readers won’t see but is important for search engine crawlers. Include the primary keyword you’re trying to rank for with the blog article. As an added benefit, if an image doesn’t show up because a browser has trouble loading it, your website will display the alt tag to readers.
3. Optimize the Images for Social Sharing
There are several factors to consider when deciding on a blog post image for social media. Your goals should be to generate curiosity and entice readers to click on the article. To do that, the picture must resonate with users. For example, what image colors and patterns have generated engagement in the past? Also, use pictures with people in them, making sure to avoid stock photo poses; readers will find images of real people most compelling, driving users to the article. If you’re struggling to find engaging photos that will resonate with your target market, look at successful posts from your competitors.
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