Blog Images 101: When, Where, How to Use Images for your BlogBy: Guest Author
Remember when you were young how you would want to see the illustrations before reading the story? OK who are you kidding? You still do that! We all do. Blog images support content and create a better understanding of your message. It’s best to include plenty of images in your blog posts but when, where, and how?
Blog Images When?
As a general rule, try to use at least one introductory image to set the tone of a post, then as many as necessary to illustrate your points.
But if you’ve got to stick to certain space or layout restrictions, you will need to think it about when you need to include images in your blog post. Try this technique: read your blog post as a reader and consider where would you like to see an image? Think of the places where you feel a bit of illustration would really help create a better understanding of your content. While you may need images in certain places try to stick to just one image for each idea or concept that might need a better understanding. Images are also useful when you need to support blog content that otherwise might be dull to read.
Blog Images Where?
Apart from simply knowing when you need to use an image for your blog, you also need to know where to place it. As a rule, try to place put images closest to the text they represent. The physical placement depends on the layout of your blog. Think about how you would want your readers to view your finished post. Would you like them to see the blog image first and then the text, or do you wants them to see the text first, and then the image? You might also want to put captions in places where they are needed. But ideally, images should be self explanatory and should not need captions.
Captions do however serve a useful purpose for SEO, helping your blog images to bring traffic to your posts (hint: sometimes people search for images!) Therefore you probably should fill in every available caption field with keywords and good descriptions for every blog image you use.
Blog Images How?
You’ll find a lot of great websites with plenty of stock photographs for a price. In the early stages of your blog you may want to use a free stock photography website. Although you may not get a very wide collection of images, you will get a fair number and at zero cost. You could use an external website such Flickr, Picassa or PhotoBucket for hosting images in case you have space constraints on your blogging platform. Don’t forget to shrink and also compress your blog images with image resizing software to get them to load faster. Another thing to consider is your inline advertising when you put images in your posts. The images shouldn’t distract a reader from the advertising and neither should it make the text look cramped up.
Most bloggers use images on their blogs. But you should give it some thought before you post. Think of every blog post as a product that needs to be sold. You want to try to be able to sell your article without actually selling it. Blog images support your content and provide the perfect packaging for your blog post.
Blog Image Sources
Here is a short list of some places where you can find images for your blog, either for free, or for a charge.
Note: Always read the license terms carefully, not just for the site, but for each individual image.
- http://shx.hu (free)
- http://www.123rf.com (great selection, CHEAP in web sizes. Best bet overall.)
- http://www.photos.com (limited selection, but cheap)
- http://flickr.com (free if search for creative commons right granted, otherwise not usable)
- http://www.freedigitalphotos.net (limited selection, but free)
- http://www.dreamstime.com (good selection, less cheap, worth checking out if you don’t find what you need above)
- http://www.kozzi.com (still new, limited selection, but free / cheap)
- http://www.photo-wizard.net (limited selection, but sometimes you get lucky)
- http://morguefile.com (interesting, moderate selection, free, but you’re required to credit, and also to modify / transform the image creatively)
- http://istockphoto.com (sometimes affordable, but usually not)
- http://www.shutterstock.com (not cheap. have subscription model, good for heavy users)
- http://www.jupiterimages.com (Getty Images. comically overpriced. but sometimes you need what you need so you pay)