Blogging with pictures – it’s like icing on the cake!
Mistakes to avoid when adding pictures to your blog posts
Thanks to the ease of word processing programs over the past couple of decades, adding photos to any document is about the process as adding a photo to a blog post. Just because the process is easy, doesn’t mean it’s okay to post any old picture. Follow these guidelines to avoid making some common mistakes when adding photos to your blog posts.
Not using an image
Some would argue that it’s better to use a generic image than none at all. I don’t buy into this argument. While an image has the power to visually pull someone into your article, it can also be a huge turn-off when the reader figures out the photo isn’t connected in any way to the gist of the post. In the instance where you absolutely cannot find the right image, or it’s out of your budget, then concentrate on your headline and the other supporting messages you will create to drive traffic to this post (Tweets, Facebook posts, etc.). It’s better to have a well-written post with no image, than a meaningless photo which can create distrust with your audience.
Using goofy clip art
I’m old enough to remember the fascination over the free clip-art that was included in so many software packages – and how they were overused in PowerPoint presentations, corporate newsletters and even memos! I’m here to tell you that the retro-look of 1990’s-something artwork is not retro, it’s outdated. Step up and use high-quality illustrations, unless your topic is directly related to the 1990’s.
Not resizing the image
You’d never wear a pair of pants 3 size to big, so why are you posting an image in your post that is clearly over sized? It’s sloppy and and not doing you any favors. There’s plenty of software programs online, or some built right into computers, that allow you to preview, re size, swap axis’s and tweak the graphic to fit the right proportions of your blog. Depending on the intent of your blog, you may purposely decide the image should take precedent – for example, a photographers blog where the intent is usually about the image anyway. But if you’re an accountant, keep the image in a supportive role, not the main role.
Using others images without permission (Stealing)
Just don’t do it. First, there are so many great sources for non-copyrighted images, or low-cost royalty free images that there’s simply no excuse for taking something that isn’t yours. Besides being wrong, there’s the whole karma side of it. Show some respect for the photographers and illustrators that rely on their work for their livelihood. You can try Flickr.com and search for items using the Creative Commons license, or the source I tend to visit quite often is istockphoto.com
Knowing that less is more
Besides the fact that multiple graphics can break up the flow of your message, it can be a huge distraction to comprehension of your message. Evaluate each graphic and consider if it is truly adding to the quality or detracting from it. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and go light.
Missing the mark
Knowing and understanding your audience is critical to selecting the right graphic element. If you’re a family photographer, then it makes sense to show cute kids. If you’re a real-estate professional, and you show a picture of food – that may take some extra leaps of faith by the readers to associate how food connects to real estate. Know your audience, know what they want and deliver it.
Don’t forget SEO is for graphics too
Whatever your post is about, make the title of the graphic element descriptive with a few of your keywords, but don’t go overboard with a fifteen-word title. Use these same keywords in the graphic (Image Title) and in the Alternative Text field. This is just additional information that search engines will look for when scanning your blog. So don’t leave them empty.
You might find it helpful to play with photos on some unpublished blog posts to get a feel for the process and learning how to re size. Practice placing into the post so they’re not breaking up the flow of your message. But most of all, have fun with it!