The perfect Images can help illuminate your words to life. Blog posts without images are frankly, boring.
Researchers at Hubspot found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%! Great images can also help your blog’s SEO and social shares. According to data scientist Douglas Masion, tweets with pictures see a 35% increase in retweets.
OK so we agree images are an important compliment to your blog. After pouring your heart and soul into your words, where do you find the perfect image for your post?
The best images are the ones you have created yourself. Your photo or even video will help to illustrate your unique perspective. Most importantly, you own the images rights. If you’re in the moment, simply whip out your phone and go. Problem solved! Consider using a unique angle or perhaps a close, detailed perspective to help punctuate your words. If your images contain any people, make sure you have them sign a model’s release. This will help “CYA” especially if your image happens becomes wildly popular or goes viral.
That said many people are just not great photographers or videographers. Ever ask a stranger to snap a quick pic of you only to be rewarded with a thumb over the lens? For those who are photographically challenged, graphics can help you visualize your blog words creatively…
• Grab a screenshot using https://www.awesomescreenshot.com. This is a chrome extension that will give your blog post some visualization.
If you are not or can’t be a DIY photographer there are billions of existing stock photographs available online. It can be tempting to “borrow” an existing image to use for your own post. Even with the best intentions, you may not have the legal rights to use certain photos. Admittedly, it cost me $1500 to learn this lesson the hard way. I used a Disney photo to promote the same Disney vacations on my website. Unlike other travel companies, Disney only negotiates usage with their photographers for use on Disney’s website only. Even though I was advertising for Disney, I didn’t have the proper rights from the photographer to use that same photo. I share this lesson so that it won’t happen to you.
So how do you avoid costly and time consuming hassles using photos for your blog?
Royalty Free Images – This can be a bit confusing so take a sip of caffeine and focus…Royalty free doesn’t mean “free” photos. It means you pay one small fee to use the image for your blog post only. After that you don’t have be pay recurring “royalties”.
A simple google search for “Royalty Free Images” will give you a plethora of photo options. Surprisingly many of the biggest photo stock houses like Getty, Corbis and Shutterstock now offer royalty free images. The good thing about paying for Royalty Free images is that these images are very high quality professional images. It’s a way to make costly professional photography affordable to the masses. It also allows photographers a way to charge a smaller fee for their images to be used in multiple places. This means you may see your same blog photo used in other places.
Creative Commons – This is where photographers allow others to freely use their work while maintaining copyright and control of how their images are used. Simply search google images for “creative commons images of (your topic)” and voila!
Creative commons images work great for non-commercial blogs. If your blog is generating income or advertising dollars using a free image in this situation could eventually become problematic (better to use Royalty Free Images).
ALWAYS attribute creative commons work to the creator when using any of these images. It’s simply just the right thing to do. By doing the right thing you may be rewarded. Reach out and let the creator know of you liked and used they image. Connect and explain your purpose. In turn they may appreciate the compliment and share your blog in their social circles for additional reach. Win-wins are always a good thing.
Public Domain Images – These are images that have expired copyrights or are otherwise available for public use without any restrictions. Generally these are government or historical images that are available for free. Google Search “Public Domain Images (your topic)” to find these gems.
Google image search – usage rights – This is a great tool to help double check usage rights associated with specific images you may find online. When doing a Google image search, click on Search Tools in the Nav bar top right. In the menu select Usage Rights and select Labeled for Reuse.
So now that you have created or found the perfect pictorial accoutrement for your blog, you’ll want to insure your blog and image gets seen and shared. Social media images are one of those situations where size really does matter. It’s important that your blog image files are the right format and size. No worries, the folks at Omnicore have complied a wonderful infographic “cheat sheet” and image tips useful for bloggers and all social media.
After all this thought, attention and hard work, do you really want to send your blog image out into the world with a name like “IMG_9261”? Your image needs to have a proper file name and title. Ideally your image should have the same title as your blog post to bring you more eyeballs and SEO juice. Don’t forget to give your images proper ALT tags and title tags. How to accomplish this task will depend upon your exact publishing platform. If you’re not sure, check your help files for and get schooled. Auditing and updating older posts ALT tags and title tags will also help increase the number of people who “see” your blog.