Using Images to Sex Up Your Blog Post
Got your attention? Like this heady blend of spices which will (apparently) make you more attractive to the ladies, you can sex up your posts just by adding photos.
In a world where we are bombarded with information, images can help us understand what a post is about, decide if it’s worth our time to read, provoke emotions. It’s the one blogging rule that I try to stick too. The ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ saying is cheesy but true. Images can help put your view across in an instant. Think of the front pages of newspapers. The picture (along with the headline) is there to capture your attention and entice you to read on. Plus – let’s be honest – photos are more interesting to look at than a block of text.
They are also good for search engine optimisation (SEO), which is often overlooked when it comes to images. Search engines like Google value posts with a variety of media over pure text. As they can’t see pictures, only words, you will need to fill out the alt text, description and the other bits of information required. This is how they read the image. (I use WordPress which asks for the attachment details on the right hand side of your media gallery). I don’t deny that it isn’t a pain, but it’s worth it.
So, how many pictures?
That’s up to you. Sometimes I just use a featured image which sits on my homepage. If I use a gallery, I try and tell a story with it. Try and be ruthless though, we don’t want to see the same image taken from different places. However, if that is what your post is about, then, go ahead… Just remember that your images need to relate to your post.
It gets a bit hairy when using someone else’s pictures. When you are using someone else’s images without their consent it’s akin to stealing. Every photo that you take belongs to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or if it’s taken on a crappy cameraphone. That’s your photo. Copyright exists to protect the original owner who created the work; be it photos, art or music.
If you are going to, ahem, steal (hey, I know it happens) then at least credit the photographer, and if possible, link back to their website. Of course it would be better to ask them – you might get some blog lovin’ back.
It’s worth knowing about the Creative Commons licence which offers ‘an alternative to full copyright’. In essence it allows people to use and share images under certain restrictions. Flickr has a dedicated page to those photographers who use creative commons. You can also use royalty free stock images. Here you pay the once and can use the image again and again.
Of course, you can avoid the copyright issues altogether by using your own photos. With the rise of smartphotos and tablets, it’s never been easier – you don’t even need Photoshop. I’m a massive fan of the iPad app, Snapseed and have also used Pixlr for my editing needs.
I can’t guarantee that your photos will make you more attractive to the opposite sex, but it may just boost your blogging traffic.
Sarah Rajabalee has been writing on the interwebs since the painful days of dial-up and admits to dabbling with blogs on MSN and MySpace when the sites were popular. She recently started yet another blog on photography after realising her images should be out in the public domain and not just living on her hard drive. She can also be found musing about life, books and other things on teacup and cake.