Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Chris
Images used on your blog can add value to your blog by making the information more palatable and enjoyable for readers, enticing them to return to your blog time and time again. As such, if you want to use images to engage your audience on a blog, keep the following tips in mind:
Following these 8 guidelines can help you how to use images on your blog like a pro and set you up for success in your blogging endeavors. The rest of this article will go into depth on these points so that you know when, how, and where to incorporate images into your blog posts.
1. Source Your Images
The first and most important step in putting pictures in your blog is sourcing them properly. You need to be able to find images that are relevant to your niche and make sure that you’re using them legally. The last thing you want to do is use an image you aren’t allowed to or forget to give credit where credit is due.
The best places to get legal images are from sites that expressly offer free images, subscription-based stock photography sites, or pay-per-image stock photography sites.
Pay Per Image Stock Photos
Your first option for getting images is to use a stock photo agency. A lot of stock photo libraries have millions of images you can use royalty-free to cover lots of different projects.
With blogging especially, you’re bound to cover a range of topics that require you to use associated images. A stock photo agency certainly has the volume of images to cover your needs, although the system can be a little clunky to work with at times. Prices range from $1 to $15 per image, so keep that in mind when you’re considering your options.
Free Stock Photos
If you don’t have money in your budget for images, then you might be considering Pixabay or Pexels for free images, but there are a number of security and legality issues that make these two resources dubious at best.
Always make sure you’re using legally verified images in your blog and do your research if you’re planning on taking advantage of free resources like Pixabay or Pexels.
Subscription-Based Stock Photos
There are a number of subscription-based services that allow you to download and use a certain number of images a month (more for higher tier memberships) and are a viable option to source your images.
Whatever route you choose, just make sure that you’re legally allowed to use the image—negligence regarding the use of the image can cause your blog a massive headache you don’t want to deal with.
In most cases, once the image owner gets wind that someone is using their image with permission, they’ll often send a courtesy email asking for the image to be taken down. In some cases, however, you may face fines for using these images without permission.
With free images, you don’t need to provide attribution, while images with a Creative Commons license will require you to credit the original source.
2. Select Several Options
After selecting a service you want to use, it can be tempting to just pick the first image that looks good and go from there; however, to get the best image that matches your content and engages readers, you need to put a little more time and effort into it.
Pick out 3-5 of the best images and consider how they pair with your blog. In particular, if you’re finding images for a client, they will certainly appreciate your commitment to finding the most suitable image for the blog.
3. Choose Content-Related Images
Stock photos can have a reputation for being lazy, which is why you should always try to rein in your use of stock photos and keep them highly relevant to your subject material.
Aim for stock photos that reflect or reinforce the subject material. In particular, photos of real people in real situations tend to be better received than photos that are clearly staged.
There’s no need to add images where you don’t need them; instead, keep your target audience in mind and select only a handful of images that match the tone of your blog post.
A couple of images that add value are much more valuable than multiple images that are only for aesthetics. In general, incorporate images into your blog to break up long walls of text, about every 500 words or so. That way, you’ve got a relevant visual indicator to retain your readers.
You want to focus on the type of media you choose—stock photos, graphs, charts—based on the purpose of the blog. Are you promoting and selling a product? Attach some pictures of the product for reference and provide data showcasing the upsides of the product.
Supporting images are much more helpful than seemingly random ones and can help engage your target audience.
A lot of stock photos can feel cheesy, so make sure you dig a little deeper to find the right one that will resonate with your demographic, and make sure you offer some consideration for the color palette of your blog to find a suitable image.
4. Customize Your Images
It’s always worth going the extra mile to make sure your chosen images look their best. One example would be adjusting an image from landscape to portrait to match the text of your blog.
You can also adjust the brightness and crop the photo where needed using extremely simple (and free) editing software. The placement of your images is also a relevant factor in reader engagement.
Blog experts suggest a mid-sized image aligned right or left with your first paragraph of text is a great way to engage readers by drawing their focus and making the above text seem shorter and thus more palatable.
Images are also useful tools to emphasize links or condense a call to action into a bite-sized phrase or button, so make sure to utilize them well as part of your blogging strategy.
You may also find that you have to resize an image, and you’ll want to do so before you upload them to your blogging platform.
If you don’t, the images will be resized automatically and may end up looking blurry or having longer load times. Resize the photos manually to match the size of your content area—no bigger and certainly no smaller.
Somewhere between 500px and 800px is suitable for most blogs, and the golden rule is that images should never be larger than the content area.
If they are, your content may look messy and unorganized. In addition, larger files can slow down the loading speed of the website, harming your reader retention.
Choose High-Quality Images
Another important factor regarding customization is the resolution of your images. Always strive for the highest-quality images you can manage to convey a sense of professionalism to your audience.
In addition, choosing the right formatting is a good way to set the standard for your website load times and the quality of your images:
- JPEG – Ideal for large photos or illustrations since it can load quickly at high quality.
- PNG – Best for drawings and illustrations overlaid on a transparent background since it preserves transparency and offers swift load times.
- SVG – Useful for images that may need to be resized without losing quality, such as a logo.
- WebP – A format that maximizes compression, WebP allows for bulk images to load quickly without delay.
5. Compress Images
One little life hack when it comes to incorporating images into your website blog is compression. Not compressing your images can cause slower load times, which could cause users to click off the website before they’ve had a chance to see the amazing content you’ve created.
Compressing images allows for faster load times and cuts back on reader frustration. Pair the ease of access with Google’s tendency to favor faster-loading websites, and you’ve got a recipe for success when you compress your images. To do so, compress the images before uploading them using online resources such as TinyPNG and Compress JPEG.
Use the .jpg format for photographs and the .png format for images that only have a few colors, such as screenshots and logos.
6. Label Your Images
Another quick tip to help you get a boost in your SEO ranking as well as help you stay organized is to label your images. When you download them, images will save as a random assortment of letters and numbers—not too helpful for staying organized for your blog.
Simply right-click on the image and rename it to something more relevant and keyword-rich. Doing so serves two purposes.
First, it helps you organize, use, and archive images as they’re needed. Whenever you need to reference an image, you’ve got the keywords you need to find at your disposal.
Second, it actually plays a small role in your SEO competitiveness, since search engines can read the file names of images on your blog post.
When a user searches a keyword-rich term in your niche, it increases your chance of showing up on their search results. Of course, this alone isn’t going to rank you higher on Google, but it’s a small part of a larger strategy to help you succeed in the long run.
7. Add Alt Text to Your Blog Images
In addition, adding alt text to all your images makes your blog accessible for people who are vision-impaired or blind. This text won’t show up on your website but is useful for search engines and screen readers to explain the image and its relevance.
Alternative text, shortened to alt text, is a sentence or two below your image that describes it. Not only does alt text have some merit in SEO strategies
8. Use Other Graphic Tools
Words aren’t enough to sway your audience, and whenever you incorporate an image into your blog, make sure to consider the merit of other graphic tools as well.
If you’re looking to up your graphic design game, Canva is a great tool to check out. With its easy-to-use interface and wide range of features, it’s perfect for creating stunning visuals for your blog posts.
Depending on the type of blog content you’re creating, however, visual elements are crucial to explaining things simply to your reader.
These could include other infographics you put together from scratch, screenshots with highlighted text or emphasized sections, arrows, or other graphic resources you can rely on to make your blog more appealing and accessible to readers.
Infographics, too, can present information in an appealing way to communicate something in a different or simpler format for your readers.
If you have the capability and the time to make your own visual illustrations, then go for it! Not only does it help your blog stand out with creative visuals, but it also gives you autonomy over its use.
Final Thoughts on How to use Images on your blog
Putting images into your blog is the easy part. The challenge is finding the right images, ensuring you have permission to use them, and formatting them correctly to look good on your blog.
All of these steps can feel overwhelming, but if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort, then adding helpful images to your blog is a good step to take to break up long walls of text.
It can also help keep readers on your site longer, improving your SEO standing in search engines and helping you take your blog to the next level!