Let’s be honest: We don’t just want blog visitors, we want these visitors to consume our blog post, remember it, and understand it. And that is where blog post images can tremendously help improve your blog content.
Plus, blog graphics can increase traffic to your post.
The first thing you must understand about visual content for your blog is that the human brain can learn and retain information much better when presented in images than in written form. This is described as the Picture Superiority Effect.
In numbers, the picture superiority effect means that people who get information as a text remember around 10% after three days. If you add images to the text, people remember 65% of the information. Data source: Researchgate
That is an advantage for blog posts with meaningful images against blog posts without images that add value. Because we want people to remember our blog!
You may also have noticed that blog images are focal points in longer texts. If you have trouble keeping the line with your eyes, images can help with that. This is a similar effect to structuring your text with line breaks, bullet lists, and new paragraphs. That is why it is so essential to structure your blog content. And images can serve as structural elements.
Good blog post images can have another effect: They help keep your audience on your blog for longer. Images are eye-catchers and they can easily be skimmed. One glance and people know what the image says. The average internet user spends 52 seconds on a website. For a blogger that means you have less than a minute to grab a reader’s attention or they are gone.
But before you now hop on free stock image sites like Pixabay or Unsplash and download some random but beautiful photos, let me explain what kind of blog post images I am talking about. Not every stock image will do the trick and you need to know what kind of images can boost your success and what you need to do with them to release their power.
Because there are good and bad images. Or to say it less black and white: there are blog images that have tremendous power and then there are blog visuals that are rather annoying or to say the least not helpful.
Remember the picture superiority effect? It says you can remember more information if it is presented in a combination of text and image. But that only works if the image needs to contain information!
The power of blog post images
There is more to blog post images than simply adding structure to your post.
What you are after are images that help your audience understand and remember your blog post and images that explain some aspects of your blog content. The images have to become part of the presented information.
Benefits of blog images
Blog images have a lot of power. Images can boost your blogging success in many ways. Here are the most important benefits of using images in your blog content:
- Capture and hold readers’ attention: As mentioned earlier in this post, images can help to break up blocks of text and make your content more visually appealing. This can help to draw readers in and keep them engaged. The images add structure to your blog post that makes it easier to consume.
- Enhance learning and retention: Studies around the picture superiority effect show that visuals can help to illustrate complex concepts and ideas. This makes texts with images easier for your audience to understand. Also, readers are more likely to remember information presented with images compared to text alone. And we bloggers want to be remembered!
- Improving SEO: You can optimize your images for search engines by adding alt tags and captions. This will make your blog content more discoverable in search engines. In addition, images can also be discovered in Google image search. Also, some images have the power to attract backlinks from other bloggers who use your blog image and link back to your blog as the image source.
- Get more social media shares: If you provide visuals in the right dimensions, you can earn more shares on social media platforms. This can potentially increase the reach of your blog post beyond your immediate blog audience.
To achieve all of the about and be able to utilize the power of blog post images, there is a lot to understand about useful and useless blog images and the kind of visuals that have the power to increase blogging success. Not every image has this kind of power.
How to get images for your blog
When you are new to the blogging game and browse through blogs, you may wonder where those bloggers get their images. Not everybody has access to a graphic designer. But once you get a little more familiar with the blogging scene, you will learn how you can find, create or utilize visual content for your blog.
I admit that when I started blog post creation, I did not fully understand the concept of adding images to my blog posts. I browsed the web and added random stock images or blog graphics I found with a Google image search. But there is more to images in blog posts that you should consider and what I did at first was not the best way to include images in your blog content.
So, where do bloggers get their images? Here are your options:
Shoot your own photographs:
This depends on your content and niche. In many niches, shooting your own photographs is an option. Recipes, home decor, DIY, travel, pets – many niches not only allow for your photographs but really ask for them. If you are not active in these niches, you can still add some behind-the-scenes photographs. With modern photo editing apps, the results you can produce without deep expert knowledge are impressive.
The advantage of self-made photographs: they are very personal and only you have them.
Hire a graphic designer or illustrator
This asks for money. Businesses will turn to this option more often than new solopreneurs. Professional images are a good investment in your business but you should consider creating your own first if you need a constant stream of visual content for your social media channels.
A disadvantage of using a graphics designer is the time it takes. Creating your own can usually be done as a spur-of-the-moment decision – getting it done by a professional often means more time lost due to communication.
Use stock photos
I think this is the least-desirable way to get blog images. Stock images are impersonal. Most free images are used thousands of times on the web. Stock images do not add information to a post and have no added value. They cannot be used in social media – or if they are they are worthless. Stock photos have basically no marketing power.
Use other bloggers’ images
You can search for other blog content around your topic or do a Google image search. If you want to use an image you find in your blog post, make sure that you comply with copyright rules.
How to cite images in a blog: I personally would not use a photo from another blog – photos are personal images. If you want to refer to the blog I would rather use a screenshot of the blog post including the image. If you still want to use photos that are not your own, you can browse around stock photo sites or contact the blog owner and ask for permission to use a photo.
For blog graphics: Blog images are often created with the option of other bloggers using them. This way, bloggers earn backlinks to their site. Some blogs even put together a library of blog graphics you may want to quote. Here is an example from Orbit Media.
If you’re using blog graphics or screenshots from other blogs in a blog post or on your website, you always have to link back to the original source. The format should be something like this: “Photo by name with their website hyperlinked” or “Image by [name] via [website hyperlinked].” or in short “Image Source: BLOG Name with link”
Make sure you link to the original image source and not to a blog post that already links back to another blog as the source!
Use an app – create your own
I would prefer this option. If you don’t have an idea what you want to put on the image, you can perform a Google image search for a related keyword and browse the search results for inspiration and create something similar. You can put statistics or quotes on images. You can create Infographics flow charts or even Memes or Gifs.
The only thing you need is an idea for the image and an app like Canva.
From a marketing standpoint, your own images have several advantages. Other bloggers searching for images may like your image and use it with a backlink to your blog as a source. You can use your images on your social media channels. You can repurpose your images for other blog posts.
Created vs found blog post images
There are basically two ways to come up with images for your blog post. You can create them or you can find them on the web. If you find them, always comply with copyright rules and never forget to link to the source.
What are the advantages or disadvantages of creating blog images or using other people’s images?
Finding images on the web is often quicker than creating them. You can use Google’s image search with relevant keywords. This will provide you with hundreds of suggestions and scroll through them and choose images that best tell what you want them to.
Creating images means you need a design app and invest some time in creating your image – or you may be in the lucky position to have access to a graphics designer, who can create images for you. With today’s apps, you don’t need to be a designer to create blog images.
The advantage of your own images is that you can brand them, use recognizable templates, use your brand colors and have them display exactly what you want to say – and if you do it right these images can add SEO power to your post as other people may use them in their blog posts and link back to your post as the source.
You can also use your own images in your social media channels. You should not use images on your social media channels that you did not create.
Using other people’s images mainly does not have much marketing power. You can add to that if you ask the image owner for a quick quote around the topic to publish with the image.
This means more work. But it will add significant power to the post, as you often get social media shares from the quote provider if you let them know when your post is published.
Types of blog images
We have now considered how you can come up with images for your blog post. We have not yet talked about the various types of visual content that you can use. There are many different types of blog visuals. They have different purposes when you use them in your post – and they have varying complexity in creating the visual. Not every topic or situation will provide great photos, illustrations may need some more design skills than the average blogger brings to the table. Not every blog post includes statistics and numbers for charts and diagrams.
Choose the types of blog visuals that fit best your content and your creative skills:
- Quote images
Blog image size
When you create your blog images, you need to consider what you want to do with them. Sure, you want to include them in your blog post. But what else can you do with them?
Social media images
Social networks ask for content all the time. All social networks ask for images in specific image dimensions. If you want to share your blog post on social media or use some graphics from the blog post to create social media posts, you have to consider the social media image size requirements. Better consider this before image creation or you need to adjust your images for social media later.
Large image files can slow down your page load times which again will affect how Google ranks your website in the Google search results.
If you plan on using images in your blog posts, you need to make sure that your blog content still loads fast.
I strongly recommend using images with a small file size – I aim for less than 50KB.
However, there are other ways to make sure that your image loads fast (see image) or you can use lazy load images which is a technique in web development that delays loading images below the fold to later when they are actually needed.
Image source: Web.dev
The importance of Image ALT Tags
Head over to Google search and type in some keywords. Now, look at the search results. The chances are high that somewhere on your results page, you will find a block of images.
I did this for the term “image Alt tags” – you can see the results in the image. Plus, there is also the Google image search.
A large number of searches are for images. You do well to consider image search for your blog and blog images.
If you want your images to show up in Google search results, you need to think about image ALT tags.
What are image alt tags?
Image alt tags are the alternative text that will be displayed if for whatever reason your image cannot be shown. Image ALT tags help screen reading tools to identify and describe what the images are about.
Search engine crawlers use image alt tags to understand the context of the image and use them to index and rank images properly in image search.
For you as a blogger that means, you can help Google understand what your image is about and rank it in the search by providing a keyword-rich but descriptive image alt tag without keyword stuffing.
To illustrate what you should do with your image alt tags, I included an example from the MOZ blog.
If you don’t fill out the image alt tags you miss out on the opportunity of free traffic from Google search – plus, the chance to earn backlinks when someone finds your image and uses it on their blog.
What else to consider for blog image SEO
To give your blog post images a chance to rank in image search, you need a little more than Image alt tags:
The image format: Use .png or .jpeg images. .png will often have huge file sizes while .jpeg can be adjusted according to your need.
Keywords in file names: Keywords are important to show search engines what the image is about. A great place for using keywords is the file name. Don’t go for generic file names like image01, image02 – instead, use keywords in the file name.
Consider the image file structure: If you have many images on your blog or are running a webshop you may want to sort your images into folders. Keep in mind that Google will use the folder structure to get more context for the images. A folder structure like this /media/womensclothes/dresses/summer/ can tell a lot about the image.
Don’t miss out on the power of blog post images
Using images in your blog posts has many advantages. From catching and holding readers’ attention to driving more traffic to your blog content: Not adding images to your blog content means you are missing some big opportunities.
But there is a lot more to finding success with blog images than adding stock images. You need to be willing to create your own to unlock the full power of blog visuals. You also need to consider image alt tags, image dimensions, and file sizes.
With all the optimizing of images for search, keep in mind: you create these images for your audience. Blog post visuals need to add information or entertainment to your blog post and bring something of value to your blog audience.