What if I told you that by adding just one image to your blog post or web page, you could significantly increase the time and attention that people pay to that post or web page?
You’re already spending plenty of time writing blog posts and useful content for Social Media. Why spend time on visual content as well?
Turns out there’s some pretty powerful reasons to do so…
Caroline’s contribution is also part of the Photography for your Blog series here on DYOB.
Why Sparkling Images are More Important than Ever
Great images are so important because images are a powerful way to communicate your message, and in some cases you can save some time if you use them. More of that in a moment.
1. Just take a look at Social Media – from the Facebook Timeline cover image to the image-based Pinterest or Instagram sites. Images are consistently the top type of post shared on Social Media.
In fact reading Forbes Magazine a few weeks ago, I read that visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid content strategy in 2014.
2. Eye-catching images are shared more often, which means that your Blog post, web page or slide presentation (yes, that definitely includes Slideshare) will be spread more easily and come to the attention of more people. And that could result in you getting more customers.
3. Images help to communicate more than words alone. This is particularly true in today’s short attention spans. I mean – take a look at the image to the right.
Could you convey the sort of curiosity and cuteness as easily in your writing as this image does? I don’t think I could.
Oh, and choosing an image over writing lots of text can actually save you time.
4. If you can combine a striking image with a magnetic headline, this will stop people in their tracks.
So How Do You Select Images that Fizz and Sizzle?
Well, there’s no doubt that it takes a little bit of thought, but here are some pointers to help.
1. AS A GENERAL RULE OF THUMB…
Literal images – use these when you need to get specific about what something is or does. A good example of this is a shot of your product or a screenshot when you’re demonstrating something.
Abstract images – use these when you want to evoke an emotion. Here’s an example of what I mean.
In the original image on the left, you can see a fairly ordinary street scene.
However, by tightly cropping the image (see 2nd image) and focusing on one person in that scene (who looks a bit worried?) you could use this image for a financial planning/retirement service, for example, by adding the caption:
“Thinking about retirement and don’t know what the future holds?”
2. BRAINSTORM WORDS AND IMAGES
Let’s take the example of a Conflict Resolution Service.
Note down the names of ideas associated with the main theme of your post or sections of it.
What is a visual object or feeling that comes to mind when you think of this content? Write down the name of it.
In our example, this could include things like a key, people talking, people listening, an ear, soothing, calm, peace, concord, agreement, shaking hands, candle lit peace. This is me just brainstorming as I write, but hopefully you get the idea.
Go to some image sources and search on the words you’ve come up with.
3. TRY USING EMOTION
This can create confusion and be at odds with your post title.
To give you an example here: Let’s say you’ve written a post about being organised and your headline shouts ‘organisation’, but your image screams chaos. That’s likely to attract attention.
Use images with a play on words
Another example. A six pack – instead of an image of abs, put an image of a 6 pack of beer/CD’s/you put your own products here.
Here’s another example: Say you want to convey trust. You could just select an image that has the word trust on it. Or you could try some of the ideas above and come up with an image of a baton being passed in a Relay race. You definitely need trust in that situation!
Quite often it’s about thinking about the subject matter in a slightly different way and actually nothing to do with being artistic! Hurrah, I hear you cry…
Resources for Free Stock Photos!
23 Sites for Free + Affordable Feminine Styled Stock Photography
50+ Sites for Free Feminine Styled Stock Photography
The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 1: Public Domain
The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 2: Creative Commons
Don’t think you have the time for all this? Read on…
There’s no denying that images are going to be used more and more online and original images are the most powerful ones.
If you don’t think that you have time to create your own visual content, or you think you have to be artistic, then think again!
There are more free image creation/editing software programmes than ever before. But if you’d like some help with making your marketing images together with a lot of guidance (through our private Facebook group) then you might like to take a look at our DIY Marketing Graphics programme.
We use the free programme – iPiccy – and as well as showing you how to create images for all the main Social Media platforms, blogs and websites, we also include guidance on things like optimising your images, design tips and much more.
PS. Did you know that over 80% of pins are re-pins – [Source: RJMetrics] ( and I suspect that the same is true of the other Social Media platforms).
So the great news is that if you learn how to create valuable original images yourself, then you’ll dazzle your readers who will want to share them.
Do you successfully use photos on your blog? Do you share them on Social Media? Share with us below!
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Marianne – I’ve enjoyed guest posting on your site and I hope your readers find the post helpful!
So great having you contribute Caroline, thank you!
Hi Caroline ,
Thank you for this informative post.
I was wondering what program is used for editing the images in a way that results in attractive images like the ones I see on this post?
Things like adding text and shapes to images.
Hi Dima, I know that Caroline mentioned iPiccy in the post. I’ve used both PicMonkey and Canva (both free tools) in addition to Photoshop.
I have just took a look at it, and it is what I am looking for. I am looking for a way to design my own images for more pinning.
Thank you very much 🙂
Hi there Dima! sorry for the late reply – I’ve just moved house!!
As Marianne mentioned, we use ipiccy, but there are plenty of others.
The choice sometimes can be a little overwhelming so if you’re just getting started pick one, get to know it and experiment and then you can add others to it.
This is a great post! I’m currently working on making all my posts pinnable and shareable and finding the right image is key to this. I like the idea of brainstorming the feeling/theme you want to convey and then finding images to match.
So glad it was helpful to you Nell! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to let us know how useful this was for you!
Hi Nell – sorry for the late reply – I’ve just moved house!
Using/creating the right post can make a big difference and to be honest, images are going to be used even more so spending a little time thinking about this will hold you in good stead, I think 🙂
I do my best to find good images 🙂 I usually find mine on Morguefile, StockExchange, or through a CreativeCommons search.
Those are all great sources Linda, I use those too. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting a series soon on all the other places to find free and great images. 🙂
Hi Linda – great to see you on Marianne’s Blog. Have you tried Pixabay.com? there are some really lovely images on there..
This is great! I always have an image or two and some type of quote that goes along with my content. I use Morguefile and pics I have taken myself.
HI Deanna. Using your own images is always a best bet but Morguefile is also a wonderful option. Next week I’ll be publishing a list of wonderful free resources for photos if you’re looking for more. 🙂
I love this post! 90% of the pictures I post are mine, I sometimes feel a fool because I spend a lot of time preparing them, but your words comfort me, thanks!
Clara, I’m actually glad to hear I’m not the only one either! Good for you for spending a good amount of time on your images. It will definitely pay off on Pinterest too!
Thanks for posting this on the blog formatting thread so that I would see it and be able to get your newsletters! Very helpful!
She’s a canny Blogger is that Marianne! Hope you find this useful.
Thanks so much for this, so true and so helpful. I leave a significant chunk of time in my article-writing to find or to create an image. To find an existing image, I have a couple of stock photo houses I use, and I also will look at free images, and sometimes I ask permission to use someone else’s image when it’s dead-on appropriate. Nine times out of ten, people are very generous. Of course I give a credit to the source.
Sue – like you, I use a variety of sources for my images. Taking your own photos is probably the best (and quickest) way and they don’t have to be ‘perfect’. I think you’re wise factoring in a reasonable amount of time for your photos.
Carolyn, I love this article! Every time I read one of your posts, I am inspired anew. Creating our own images is definitely a key to those shares. Thank you for sharing the examples. Yes, you have definitely inspired me!!
Hello Robin – that is such a great compliment. Thank You.
These are such great points, Caroline! I actually went back onto some of my old blog posts and added better images than originally done.
The ones I had were too bland and making a disservice to the great content of the post 🙂
That’s awesome Delia! And so great that you took the time to do that!
Delia – I’m so pleased that you’ve found these tips helpful and this is exactly the sort of feedback that makes all this worthwhile.
Great post… I will definitely consider the course when my current workload lightens up… what is the gorgeous typeface you used in the word “to illustrate” please? Thank you!! Love your blogs!
Hi Stephanie, that font is Salamander Script. http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/fenotype/salamander/
As Caroline says, Clipper Script is pretty close and a good free alternative. Glad you like it!
Hi Stephanie – Marianne made the first image – I’m not sure if the font she used is Clipper Script Fat or not. If it isn’t, then it looks very like the one above so you could try that.
Another great series here! Really great advice on using images properly (and legally). Thanks!
Hi Gary, thanks for coming by again! I’m so glad you appreciate this series. This one by Caroline really struck a chord with a lot of people 🙂
This is a great post Marianne and Carolyn, lots of advice and useful tips to visually improve our blogs. I mainly use my own photographs on my blog but I have also used PicMonkey and ipiccy as suggested by Carolyn. I have recently discovered Canva and just finished making a new Timeline cover for my Facebook page – it was so easy!
You ladies inspire me, thanks for all you do.
Fabulous Barb! The tools we have available to us now are amazing aren’t they??