A common misconception about blogging is that it’s all writing all the time. The truth, even if you aren’t a Photoblogger, you should still consider using images in your posts. For that matter, I strongly suggest using images in blog posts for these reasons:
- Images are eye catching and can draw someone from browsing/scanning into reading your content
- Certain syndication services, such as Networked Blogs and RSS Graffiti, will often pull an image as a thumbnail when syndicating your content giving it a unique look in your subscribers news feed
- An image can often help effectively communicate your message
- A picture is worth a thousand words, therefore your word count just went way up
- Images are just plain old fun if you do it the right way
Creating Images For Your Blog Posts
It used to be that you needed quite a bit of equipment to create images for your blog posts. You needed a digital camera or a scanner, photo editing software, and a place to host your photo. Most of these issues have been addressed through both innovation and the advancement of technology.
Digital cameras have virtually become standard on all cellphones. While the resolution continues to improve, so does both the lens (which anyone will tell you is actually more important than the resolution) and the applications. The photo in this very post was taken using my first generation Motorola Droid and the Camera 360 photo app. I then sent the photo to my Dropbox so that it would appear near instantly on my laptop and then uploaded it to my blog. Not only did I use something small and simple for capturing and processing the image, but then it was a wire free transfer.
Of course, the chances are slim to none that you’ll have a subject you want for your blog post when you write it unless you plan far ahead. For this reason I’ll often take photos and file them away in a personal “stock” photo folder. I make the photos as general as possible and with a few different angles. This way after I write a post, I have some images I can easily choose from to use. I honestly don’t remember where I originally got that idea from, but it was either Greg Friese or Kyle David Bates who had made the original suggestion.
Finding Images For Your Blog Posts
If image creation isn’t for you, there are a couple different ways for you to find images for use in your blog posts. But first, its important to understand that not all images on the internet are for your use. We’ve already covered both Copyright and Creative Commons when it comes to your content and intellectual property. It’s important that you respect the same rights of those who have created the images you may want to use.
A great way to find Creative Commons licensed imagery is through the photo sharing site Flickr. Using Flickr Advanced Search you are able to filter the search results by images licensed under Creative Commons.
There are some free stock photo sites such as Stock.XCHNG and Freefoto that offer a viable alternative to searching through Flickr. Of course, you can also pay to get stock photos at sites such as iStockPhoto and ShutterStock. While these are generally considered a higher quality than the free photos available, keep in mind that a) you’re paying for them and b) chances are someone else has also paid for them and is using it elsewhere. There have been plenty of times that I’ve paid for a stock image only to then start seeing it in other places as well.
A Few Tips On Using Images In Your Blog Posts
So you’ve decided to start using images in your blog post… great! Here are a few final tips when doing so:
- Make sure you can legally use the image
- Make sure the width of your photo is not wider than your content area
- Pay attention to file size, because that can affect your blog load times adversely. Usually JPEG or PNG are the better graphic formats to use
- Your post should flow as freely as possible. If you are using an image for text to wrap around at the very beginning align it to the left
- If you are using an image for text to wrap around in the middle of your content align it to the right
- If you are using multiple images, follow the above two guidelines for the first image and then alternate alignments, just make sure you are inserting the image at the beginning of a new paragraph and that there are at least 2-3 full width lines of content inbetween images
Thus concludes my pontification on using images in posts.
Previously: Copyright Vs. Creative Commons
Next: Everything I Should Have Mentioned But Possible Didn’t