15 Image Mistakes Bloggers Make And How to Avoid Them

15 Image Mistakes Bloggers Make And How to Avoid Them

15 Image Mistakes Bloggers Make And How to Avoid Them

Images beautify your blog, just like they beautify your living room.

Having a blog without images makes your blog look dull and unattractive. People are more likely to read a blog with images than one without them.

Hey folks, please welcome Raspal Seni for today’s contribution to the Photography for Your Blog series.

Also please note that a few links below may be affiliate links. All that means is that at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link.

In this post, we’ll take a look at fifteen image mistakes bloggers make and how you can avoid them.

1. Using No Images at All

Images are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. Having images in your posts makes them look rich and attractive. Even Twitter (and Buffer) recently proved that by using images you increase the chances of your tweets being retweeted and favorited.

So, how many images should you use in a blog post?
You should have a minimum of 1 to 2 images in each post, but you may have many more if the article supports it. At the very least, there should be one image that relates to the post’s content and is something people would want to Pin to their Pinterest boards.

2. Using Too Many Images

Not having any images is no good, but having too many images can be a mistake as well. An exception would be visual and design blogs which will always use more images than other topics.

Keep in mind that images increase page load time, so make sure that every one you use supports your article’s points in some way.

3. Not Using the Alt-Text Attribute

What’s Alt-Text? In plain English, it is that text which shows up in the web browser, when you can’t see an image. Using Alt-Text is important for three reasons:

  1. Visually impaired visitors or visitors with images turned off in their browser for some reason, can still read (or hear) the context of the image.
  2. Search engines can’t see images, but they can read text.
  3. This is the description that automatically appears when someone Pins your image to Pinterest.

Be as descriptive as you can, and make sure to use one or more of the keywords you have in the title of your post. Think about how you want the description to appear on Pinterest to entice people to click back to your post.

How to Add Alt-Text to Your Images?

Self-hosted WordPress:
Edit the image you want to add alt-text to, by hovering your mouse over it and clicking edit. In the image editing window, you can add a title and Alt-Text. Simple.

How to add Alt-Text in a self-hosted WordPress site.

How to add Alt-Text in a self-hosted WordPress site.

Blogger:
Edit the image you want to add alt-text to, by selecting or clicking on it. When you select it, a menu appears below the image. Click on Properties and you can add an image title and the Alt-Text.

How to add Alt-Text in a Blogger site.

How to add Alt-Text in a Blogger site.

4. Not Properly Aligning Images with Text

If you have a small-sized image in your post which is centered, the screen space is wasted and your visitors will need to scroll a little more to read the text. Both of these problems can be avoided if you wrap text with the images.

If you just insert images into your posts and leave them where they are, you should consider aligning them left or right. Do this only if they are smaller than the post width, in which case you can center them.

Images that are not as wide as your posts should be left or right aligned allowing text to wrap around it.   Images that are at least the width of your posts can be centered above and below text.

Images that are not as wide as your posts should be left or right aligned allowing text to wrap around it. Images that are at least the width of your posts can be centered above and below text.

5. Not Using Featured Images

In WordPress blogs, Featured Images are image thumbnails which show up next to the post excerpts. A visitor to your blog is more likely to click on a blog post if the list of excerpts includes images, because the images draw the eye in before they even read the text excerpt.

Use featured images for your blog post excerpts

Use featured images for your blog post excerpts

Choose an image that best represents your post’s content. This featured image option depends on the WordPress theme you use for your blog/website. Although WordPress natively supports featured images, your theme should have this option enabled.

6. Using Large File Size Images

Do you know, the size of images in your post affects the loading time of your blog? The smaller the image file size, the faster the page loads. At the same time, the larger the image file size, the slower the page loads.

Resize your images, lower their resolution or convert them to a different format to make them smaller in size. Images can be reduced in size by using a simple free tool like Kraken or you can use a plugin like WP-Smush-it to automatically reduce image size during upload.

Learn how to optimize your blog image performance: The Biggest Mistake You’re Probably Making with Your Blog Images + a Cheat Sheet.

7. Just Changing the Height and Width Attribute to Resize an Image

Some people upload a high resolution image then edit its height and width in WordPress. You should know that doing this doesn’t decrease the file’s size. Such images will display just fine, but they will increase your overall page load time.

You should resize your images before uploading them to decrease their file size as much as possible, without losing too much quality. This can be done in any image editing program like Photoshop, Pixlr or PicMonkey.

8. Enlarging Low Resolution Images

Each digital image is made up of pixels, known as the image resolution. The height and width of the image is directly proportional to this resolution.

If an image with a higher resolution is resized to a lower resolution, that’s fine. But if a low resolution image is resized to a higher one, the quality degrades.

An image that is stretched past it's original resolution will appear blurry

An image that is stretched past it’s original resolution will appear blurry, like the one on the right.

If the image size you want isn’t available for a particular image, search for another image. Don’t stretch a low resolution image to a higher one.

9. Using Poor Quality Photographs

Better to use no image than a bad image in your blog posts

Better to use no image than a bad image. Image Credit: Erin Feisler

The best blogs are visual and have beautiful images to support their posts and attract readers’ eyes. It’s almost always best to use no image at all than to use a poor quality image with bad lighting like this one.

Emma Davies gives some wonderful advice here on how to take better blog photos if you wish to use your own photographs in your blog posts.

You might also consider taking Emma’s 28-Day Blog Photo Bootcamp and learn how to take your own gorgeous photos for your blog posts!

10. Linking to Images on Other Websites

Some people link to images on other websites instead of uploading them to their own posts. This is a bad idea because if the other website goes down, or they remove the image, your blog visitors won’t see those images on your site. That’s why it’s always better to host images yourself.

11. Using Copyrighted Images

Many people use images they search using Google, but if you use images from other websites, just think – didn’t you steal them from someone else’s website? You can be sued for stealing images even if you later remove such copied images.

Now go back to your blog and check your blog posts one by one. See where you obtained those images from. If you’re unsure about an image’s source, remove it. Use an image from the list of free Public Domain sites, the list of free Creative Commons sites or the 23 Sites for Free + Affordable Feminine Styled Stock Photography Marianne has compiled. Remember, delay is danger so don’t postpone this!

12. Not Attributing Images

When using free images with a Creative Commons license, it’s important to remember that they must be attributed to avoid copyright infringement.

Include a clickable link back to the page on the image’s source. For example, if you use a Flickr Creative Commons image, include a link in the caption to the photographer’s original image. You should also have the actual image link directly to its source.

13. Not Watermarking Images

If you use your own images on your blog posts, you might consider watermarking them to avoid having them stolen by other blogs. You can use any image editing program to do this or find a WordPress plugin which can watermark images automatically.

14. Spending Too Much Time Searching for the Perfect Image

Free image sites are wonderful because they are free, but sometimes you end up spending far too much time searching for that perfect image. I have been guilty of this myself.

I’d advise you try a paid image search site like Shutterstock. You can also check out Marianne’s BIG 2 Part Guide to Free Stock Photos.

15. Using Stock Images that are Too Popular

This isn’t really a mistake but if you use the same images many other blogs use, your blog posts won’t have a unique look. When people start to see the same image used over and over, it gets boring. If you really want to use one of these images, try using it in a different way:

  1. By cropping it
  2. As part of a collage
  3. With text over it
  4. With a filter or texture overlaid on top, etc.

Here are some good ways to select and edit some shockingly good photos to represent your articles.

Do you know or have experience of another image mistake related to blogging I may have missed above? Let me know in the comments below.

Raspal Seni of iWriteAboutBlogging.comAbout Raspal Seni
Raspal is a freelance writer and blogger at iWriteAboutBlogging. He enjoys helping people, is interested in technical writing and technical aspects of blogging, and available for hire. Grab a free preview copy of “50 Beginner Blog Blunders and How to Avoid Them” or connect with him on Twitter.

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72 Comments

  • Jenni Gate says:

    Great tips! I try to be fairly careful, but hadn’t realized too many photos could detract. I’ve also been resizing from within WordPress. Time to break that bad habit!

    Thanks so much for posting this.
    Jenni Gate recently posted…Is Chiang Mai the Place?My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Not always Jenni. You have a travel blog so in your case lots of photos is probably a good thing. I think that Raspal was mostly talking about images that don’t have much relevance to the post or even bad images (poor lighting, etc) that might be better left out.

      Thanks for your comment today!

      • Jenni Gate says:

        Phew. I sometimes take literally thousands of photos when I travel, and I put a lot of Pinnable photos up on the blog, usually agonizing over each one and whether it’s really the best shot. I need to do better about lighting and that sort of thing. I’m not a professional photographer, but hopefully people realize that and still get something out of the shots.

        I got so much out of the article, but also the comments today. Thanks!
        Jenni Gate recently posted…Identity Crisis Or Education Opportunity?My Profile

    • Raspal Seni says:

      Yes, I meant this is a mistake for general blogs. You can see Marianne’s blog posts also have quite many images, but her blog can’t be without images, a design blog. 🙂

      Just try to use some tools to lower the image file sizes without compromising quality and you’re good to go. I don’t use the WordPress’s in-built image resizing tool now, but had problems when I used it in the past.

      You may try using the WordPress plugin Image Pro or Imsanity for doing this automatically if you don’t like to use Kraken or WP Smush-it.
      Raspal Seni recently posted…Five WordPress Theme Mistakes You Want to AvoidMy Profile

      • Jenni Gate says:

        Thank you so, so much. I would have floundered around forever trying to figure out why my site was taking so long to load. I am checking out the plugins you recommended, and I can see my site is already loading faster since I made most of my posts excerpts.

        I think WordPress upgraded the image resizing function, but you are probably right that it’s best to do that before uploading, and I will spend some time doing that and working with the photos I’ve already uploaded to bring them down in size.

        I can’t thank you enough!
        Jenni Gate recently posted…Tandoori ChickenMy Profile

        • Marianne says:

          That was a great suggestion from Raspal to change your posts to excerpts, I totally agree with this, it also makes your posts easily scrollable to readers.

        • Raspal Seni says:

          Surely better than the previous loading time, with excerpts enabled now, Jenni.

          I checked your site using Pingdom Tools and it still shows it is slow. Maybe you can see the reason – 500+ requests (means your blog front page has to load 500+ tiny things before the loading is complete, including codes, snippets and images from other websites/blogs). This is another thing which slows down your blog.

          I guess you’re using a lot of plugins. I’d advise to disable those sharing icons on the front page, and enable them on individual posts only. They are mostly zero byte requests but in hundreds.

          You can also use the P3 plugin (Plugin Performance Profiler) to analyze which of your plugins slow down your blog, and remove the ones which you can do without (like the FB and Twitter widgets).

          You can check my blog loading time is less than one second, and the number of requests is only 36. Okay, I worked to optimize my home page load speed, but do something about yours because it’s showing 88% slower than all tested sites whereas min e says 96% faster than all tested sites. Huge difference.

          Make your blog load within 3 seconds and everything is fine. I’ll help if you need more help, don’t worry.
          Raspal Seni recently posted…Five WordPress Theme Mistakes You Want to AvoidMy Profile

    • Morgan says:

      Thank you! I just found your blog and it has so many helpful tips for new bloggers (like me!)
      I think photos are so important in blogging and it is defiantly something I will be improving on in my blog 🙂

  • Chris Haught says:

    Great tips, love Smushit!

  • Great article!! I need to start incorporating the alt-text more frequently.
    Sophie @ life’s philosophie recently posted…Headphone HeadacheMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Yes Sophie! Alt-text is super important for SEO and so simple! PLUS you get to basically decide what description goes with any image someone wants to Pin!

      • Raspal Seni says:

        There are some WordPress plugins available which add the ALT-text automatically to any image we upload, but I prefer doing it manually.

        Most of the times, I add the blog post title as the ALT-text. This surely helps with SEO. If you have multiple images per post, do you see how this would help? 🙂
        Raspal Seni recently posted…Five WordPress Theme Mistakes You Want to AvoidMy Profile

        • Jenni Gate says:

          “Most of the times, I add the blog post title as the ALT-text. This surely helps with SEO. If you have multiple images per post, do you see how this would help? ”

          Such a simple thing, but I would not have thought of that in a million years.
          Jenni Gate recently posted…Sleuthsayers Guest PostMy Profile

  • Razwana says:

    This is awesome!

    As someone who hasn’t used images in any blog posts, this is very relevant to me. I’ve started creating infographics (published my first recently) and shareable images in the last few posts. Even though, as a copywriter, I prefer to focus on my words, images definitely make posts far more visually appealing.
    Razwana recently posted…(Build your coaching biz) How the F@!K did they do it (and was there wine?)My Profile

    • Raspal Seni says:

      Hi Razwana,

      We bloggers surely can’t ignore images. Take the example of these gravatars. I saw your comment, but before reading it, I saw your headshot for a split second, and then started reading the comment.

      This is natural. We first tend to view images and then read the text. So, see how important the images we use can be. If there were no images on blogs and websites, they would be so boring.

      Images are processed by the intellect and words are processed by the mind first, though I don’t have any scientific evidence to prove this.

      Try remembering where you kept your keys – the image comes first, and if you forgot where you kept them, what you forgot is the image of you keeping them somewhere. At such a time, words can’t help you.

      BTW, thanks for dropping by and nice to see you here 🙂
      Raspal Seni recently posted…Seven Free, Downloadable Headline Resources (e-Books)My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you Razwana! I loved your first infographic! Hope you do more 🙂

  • Helpful stuff, and glad to see the point about why using Alt text is important to make images accessible to people who are visually impaired!
    Emily @ Words I Wheel By recently posted…July Disability News and Blog Post Round-UpMy Profile

  • Trisha says:

    This is such an informative and helpful post, Marianne and Raphal. Thank you so much for sharing these great tips and explaining the ALT-text tags so well, too! I’ve not heard of the WP Smush-it plug in before, and will make sure to check it out. I’ve been resizing my photos before uploading into WP also. I still consider myself a newbie blogger, growing my blog slowly, and wonder if I have too many images per post sometimes. I’m trying to stay within a range between 10-15 images maximum and no less than 3-5. Do you think that’s a good rule-of-thumb to use? Or, rather use 8-10 images maximum? I don’t want to over-saturate or bore my readers either.. Thank you again for sharing these tips! 🙂

    • Trisha says:

      oops! Please accept my apology, Raspal, for typo and misspelling your name above.
      Trisha recently posted…Indoor Bike Storage Solutions for the Cycling EnthusiastMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Trisha, it’s hard to say there is a good rule of thumb because it really depends on the subject of the article. Plus some blogs are just visual/image heavy blogs with beautiful pictures and readers LOVE that. However, I would do as Raspal suggested in an earlier comment and that was to have your home/blog page only show excerpts instead of full posts so that your home page at least loads faster. Otherwise, you are not just loading the images from ONE post, but many posts and that could take a long time for some people. Especially on a phone!

      • Trisha says:

        Hey Marianne! Thanks so much for your suggestion about only showing excerpts on my home/blog page. That’s definitely on my to-do list. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that, but if you’re aware of a setting that I should change, I’d appreciate any advice. Speaking of reading blog posts on a phone, I’m also wondering about whether or not I should add a WP Plugin for a Pinterest pinit button that hovers over an image. Do you think that’s necessary? I try to not have too many plugins.
        Trisha recently posted…Indoor Bike Storage Solutions for the Cycling EnthusiastMy Profile

        • Raspal Seni says:

          I agree with Marianne that you should enable post excerpts. It depends on your theme too, even though WordPress supports it natively.

          Once logged into your dashboard as an admin, go to Settings > Reading > For each article in a feed, show … and select the Summary option.

          I’d also advise you to add some more text under the images. Or, you can add a transparent text in the middle of the images which seems to be the trend these days. Makes them interesting. Marianne, what do you say?

          You can add that Pinterest like Marianne’s blog has it here. Don’t worry about adding one plugin unless you already have 25+ plugins which already slow down your blog. But, use one which is popular and has a good rating by users.
          Raspal Seni recently posted…Five WordPress Theme Mistakes You Want to AvoidMy Profile

        • Marianne says:

          I think it’s pretty important to have Pin it button on your images because people sure love to Pin and why not have their pins bring traffic back to your blog? However, one caveat is this: you should put the “nopin” tag on images that are not yours (unless you have permission), only because it’s not really fair to have someone else’s images link back to your article instead of theirs. Or another solution would be to include the original image credit in the alt tag so that it appears in the Pin description when someone pins the image.
          Here is my tutorial on how to add a Pin It button: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design-resources/tutorials/tutorial-showcase-add-a-custom-pin-it-button-to-your-blog

          I’m not sure about having text over the images as Raspal thought because that’s a lot of work. Better to leave that just to the first image or the post title image (like the images at the top of each of my posts).

          But you might consider including captions under your images. That is done by adding the caption text in the upload image window. It’s been proven that captions draw people’s eyes to read so including keywords from the article into your captions is always a good idea.

  • Sarah says:

    Great post! It’s frustrating to see so many people stealing images from others. Although, with Istock’s recent change in pricing structure, I’ve found myself struggling to find decent images at a reasonable price. I’m thinking about giving Fotolia a try. You’re absolutely right about the free image sites – you can waste a lot of precious time trying to find something worth using!
    Sarah recently posted…How to Increase Productivity in Just FIVE SecondsMy Profile

  • This is a lot of great information! I’ve only been blogging for a couple months and I’m still just trying to wrap my head around everything. There’s a lot to learn! I don’t know if it’s a naive goal or not but I’m trying to make sure every image on my site is one that I took myself. I need to work on getting the watermark plug-in though!
    Thanks for the great info!

    Jo
    Jo @ Working On Happy recently posted…How to Have a Health MakeoverMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Jo! It’s a lot to learn, but it’s all one step at a time. We all started out just the same 🙂
      I think it’s great you want to use all your own images. If you enjoy taking photographs, then by all means! The only thing I’d recommend is to use larger images because they’re kind of small on your site at the moment.

  • Sandy says:

    Thanks for the great tips from Raspal and Marianne. There are so much value in this post. I have been doing the resizing in wordpress and that could possibly explain the ‘mystery’ why my my space used is 400mb but each download file is only 200mb… I have been trying to find out where the excess came from but no idea how. Any suggestions?

    Currently using wp-smush it. Not so hapoy with it but thought good to have. Shall try out Raspal’s suggested above.

    If it’s ok, wonder if Raspal can help take a look at my site please? http://abundanceinbiz.com Thank you so much in advance.
    Sandy recently posted…Perfectionist vs Micro-Manager, any Diff?My Profile

    • Raspal Seni says:

      Hi Sandy,

      Resizing within WordPress shouldn’t take more space. It could be some other issue. I’m not sure what you meant by the 200 MB and 400 MB. Can you please explain in more detail?

      This could be something related to your cpanel, and not images. I’ll be able to help once I get some more detail from you. I did take a look at your site. You’re an artist. 🙂

      If you wish, you can contact me by clicking my name above which will take you to my blog’s contact form.

  • I am so blessed to come across this website. I so needed this post. I am going to correct some items on my website – today! I’m new to blogging, and my image mistake is trying to use round images, but they still appear to have a box around them. Does anyone have a clue on how to remedy this? Thank you
    Kristine Manley recently posted…5 Things Could Keep a Child Out of PovertyMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Kristine, I’m so glad you are enjoying the content here! I went to your site to have a look at the borders around your images but didn’t see any. Let me know if you’ve fixed the issue or if not, let me know where it’s happening exactly and i’ll be happy to take a look.

  • Miss P says:

    Thanks so much for the great article! I can’t believe I didn’t think to wrap my images with text–ah! Duh! Soooo thankful that you pointed that out. 🙂

  • Robyn Petrik says:

    Number 14 is my kryptonite! I end up spending so much time looking for the ‘perfect’ images, and usually end up going with one of the first ones I found anyways. I’m starting to notice number 15 more and more too, as certain stock photo sites pick up in popularity. Getting creative with stock photos and putting your own twist on them is a smart idea.
    Robyn Petrik recently posted…4 Essentials to Know Before Writing Your Website CopyMy Profile

  • Carole says:

    Excellent article! While I do complete the Alt-Text Attribute section for each of my images, I didn’t realize until today that it was the one linked to Pinterest! Now I’ll be even more succinct in the information placed there because Pinterest is the #2 source of traffic to my site! Thanks for the great information and even the comments have been valuable. Pinning to Pinterest (of course!)…
    Carole recently posted…Mickey’s Garlic Parmesan Cheese BreadMy Profile

  • Matija says:

    Hm… really educational post. Thank you. After viewing your blog I would also say one need to have a taste for design. I really wonder what theme are you having since your blog is truly amazing. And even if I had the same one, I am pretty sure it wouldn ‘t look so nice like yours. Thanks again for your tips. Will follow. Matija, Slovenia

  • Great tips, thank you for posting this! Now I need to go back through a year of posts and fix all the Alt-text and watermark the pictures.
    Ashley Tukiainen recently posted…Spring Cleaning and FREE PrintableMy Profile

  • Jaymee says:

    I have been uploading full size images on WordPress and then using the resize option on WordPress same time I edit the Alt-text on my photos. Does this work the same as resizing an image on a different software and THEN uploading it onto WordPress?

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Jaymee, great question! Actually you DO want to resize it before uploading to WordPress. All resizing does when adding it to a post is show it in a smaller size. It doesn’t actually reduce the file size of the image, so even though you are showing a smaller image, the page is still loading a large file and that could slow your page load times, especially if you use a lot of them.

  • These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. Definitely need to utilize the plugins!
    Xx
    Lauren Jade
    Lauren Jade Lately
    Lauren Jade Martin recently posted…Lately I’m Thankful For…My Profile

  • Sara Stone says:

    Hi! I really enjoyed your post! I am a blogging novice so I had a question regarding the copywriting photo issue. My Instagram is linked to my blog, so when i share a photo of anything on Instagram, it posts to my website/blog. Should I be concerned about copywriting? Reposting from Instagram is pretty common place, I was just wondering.
    Thank you,
    Sara Stone

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Sara,
      Do you mean that your photos post to the Instagram widget on your blog? Or do they post to your blog as blog posts? If it’s the former, then I would think you’d be fine because it’s really just showing your feed. But I am not a copyright lawyer so you may want to do a little research on that to be sure.

  • Hello Raspal, you had done a great job with this blog post. Can you guide me a bit that what should be the exact resolution while uploading images for a blog post? Means which particular resolution would be referenced as the high quality image?

  • Karine says:

    Thanks good text!

  • I’m glad I read this. I launched my teacher blog last Wednesday. As a newbie, my mistake was not attributing images. I did use free images using Creative Commons, so at least I got that part correct. It makes sense to do this. Just as you must cite the written work of others’ words you use, you must also cite images. I plan to fix that mistake today. Thank you for writing this!

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Krystal, so glad you found this post too! Yes, attribution is very important depending on the license of the image you are using. The only images that don’t need it are public domain images.

  • I use Smushit too but will try the other recommendations here. Thanks for the tips Raspal!

    Nisha

  • Hi Marianne,

    Def need those image crunchers – and a CDN to boot – to keep your blog quick loaded. I have an image crunching plug in and bought a CDN through my host a few months back. Night-day difference with my speed. Or, my blog’s speed. Awesome read.

    Ryan

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