How to use your blog images to drive traffic
marianne

Today’s guest post is brought to us by the lovely Marianne of Design Your Own Blog

Marianne is the blogger behind DesignYourOwnBlog.com, where she helps women entrepreneurs and bloggers learn how to beautify and tweak their blogs’ designs DIY-style. Her site is full of resources, tutorials and inspiration. You can purchase her new book, Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow or download her free ebook here.

What motivates you to click on a Pin, Tweet or Post?

I’m willing to bet that most of the time your biggest motivator is an attractive image, am I right?

Ok, so we all know already that images play a significant role in getting traffic to our blogs.

So why isn’t it working for you then?

Because you probably don’t have an image strategy.

How do you create an image strategy? I’m so glad you asked because today I’m going to outline 5 ways you can kill it on your blog with images.

1. Use Images

Duh. Rule #1 is that you should have at least one image in each of your blog posts.

A post title image is ideal. That’s an image that has your blog post’s title in it. Even if you don’t use Pinterest yourself (and who doesn’t???) make it easy for others to Pin your content for later if they don’t have time to read it now.

Speaking of Pinning, make it SUPER easy for others to Pin your content with a custom Pin It button.

How to Make a Post Title image

Find a visually interesting, eye-catching photo (see #2 below) then add your title over it using Photoshop, PicMonkey or Canva.

See the title image above for a good example. Margo has done a great job in keeping her post title images consistent so they’re easily recognizable on Pinterest (a lesson I’m still working on myself!)

2. Where to Find Beautiful Stock Images

Take the time to find a beautiful photograph that has colors and a look that fits the aesthetic of your blog.

You should know by now that using images from a Google search and without permission or credit is a no-no. If you’re a photographer, you know this and can use your own photos. But where does a non-photographer blogger on a budget find free images to use?

How about these two resources for starters? You’ll find way more than you need here.

The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 1: Public Domain

The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 2: Creative Commons

3. Alternatives to Photography

Sometimes a photograph just isn’t fitting for what you want to portray. Here are some good alternatives:

  • A Collage

PicMonkey, Fotor or Canva are perfect for putting together quick collages. The functionality is built right in.

  • An Illustration

If you can’t create your own, you can find really lovely and affordable (sometimes they’re free!) ones at Creative Market, Luvly or Ink Nest.

  • A Video

Create a video tutorial or tip on YouTube or Vimeo.

  • A Slideshow

Easily create slideshows on SlideShare

  • A Chart

If your post is making a comparison or you’ve got numbers to show, here’s a great infographic that shows when to use a certain chart or graph.

  • An Infographic

These are great for displaying large amounts of information in a clear way. You can use one that’s already been made if it supports your point, but just be sure to link it back to it’s original source and show the credit below it.

Otherwise you can create your own using one of these websites: http://www.easel.ly/, http://infogr.am/ or http://visual.ly/   

 

4. Keep Your Image Sizes Consistent

Don’t use tiny images in your posts. They usually look awkward and they’re hard to see. If you’re going to use images at all, use big beautiful images! Make sure they are high quality and have good lighting. For more photo tips, check out these 15 image mistakes bloggers make.

Try to keep a consistent width to your images. If possible, it’s preferable to keep images the same width as your content column. Some blog layouts are too wide for this so if that’s the case, then try to make them as large as you can and center them.

If you are using a vertical image, it might help to left or right align it so that the paragraph it supports wraps around it.

5. The Secret to Getting People to Read More of Your Content

Did you know that image captions are worth their weight in gold? Studies show that up to twice as many people read captions compared to the body copy. That’s because we’re skimmers.

Think about it, when you read a magazine, don’t you automatically read the captions below each image? I know I do.

Make sure that your captions contain useful and intriguing descriptions and apparently 2-3 sentences is the magic number to entice readers to read more.

Want More Tips on How to Beautify Your Blog?

Then you’ll want to check out my book, Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow, where you’ll find 45 more of these types of tips on all aspects of your blog’s design. Each tip also includes a tutorial on exactly how to fix it in both Blogger and WordPress.

So do you currently use images on your blog? What kinds are you currently using? I’d love to know what’s working for you and what tips you’ll try next on your own blog. Leave a comment below.