Writing Challenge: Spice Up Your Content With Images

how to use images in your blog

eveliina-xmas2014Did you know that images – ANY images – make your content more believable?

I didn’t, until I saw this video made by Derek Halpern. Smart guy by the way. I like him even though he’s yelling too much on his videos. Despite that, I’ve even taken one of his courses.

He actually researches his content or has someone to do it for him, unlike many, which is one of the topics of the 2-week free writing challenge, too.

Below is the lesson 2/12 of that course. (No 1/12 is here.)

Use Images to Spice Up Your Content and Bring It To Life

There was a study of 78,000 web pages, which revealed that pages with images got approximately 70% more views than those lacking images.

In another study, it was found that readers were 35% more likely to engage with a website (like, share and comment) when there were images on it. This leads to believe that adding images to your content can make your work seem more professional while they make it more colorful and more interesting to interact with.

However, you rather want the image you use be relevant.

According to KISSMetrics, images that aren’t relevant can in fact depreciate readership. But how do you find relevant, high-quality images for your readers, even with the smallest budget?

Here are some of the best sources.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wikimedia Commons is a global database of images submitted by photographers who’ve given the public the rights to use their images. There are over 22 million media files on Wikimedia Commons, all of which are free to use and can be searched with a keyword.

Just notice that you must give attribution to the image creator, by either crediting them by name or linking back to their site. If you use Commons, always check the specific requirements first, because different images have different kind of distribution rights.

Stock Photography

Stock photography websites pay professional photographers for their work and sell the rights to use those photos. Basically you can expect to pay anything from $0.20 to $10 per image you want to use in the web. Print quality gets even more expensive than that.

With stock photos, there’s no requirement to give credit and you can change or alter the photo in any way you want as well.

Popular stock photography websites include iStockPhoto, Shutterstock and Fotolia. For low-cost images, Fotolia is a good choice and here’s another very affordable alternative.

Free Stock Photo: Pixabay

I use a lot of photos from Pixabay myself. The quality is great, selection is vast, it’s easy to use, completely free and no crediting is required. The downside is that lots of others use the same images as well so they may “wear out”.

Hootsuite blog has curated a long list of other free resources here.

Hiring an Illustrator on Fiverr

If you need original illustrations or infographics and you cannot draw them yourself, Fiverr is an awesome source, with such amazing talents and very affordable prices. It’s a perfect choice also if you’re making a step-by-step tutorial and want to have original illustrations for each step.

Fiverr is an outsourcing website where every basic task available costs just $5.5. Prices go up with more complicated requirements.

If you have a big project, I suggest you don’t just jump in feet first with one illustrator. Hire 2 or 3 to test their turnaround time and work quality before selecting the one you want to continue with and negotiate the price in bulk.

Screenshots

For digital tutorials, screenshots are a spot on to walk your readers through the process. If you use Mac, shift+command+4 allows you to capture anything on the screen, the exact area you want simply by dragging the mouse around it and stores that as png image on your desktop.

Windows has a snapshot tool to do the same, and there’s also free software like Jing available to do the same trick.

Always rename the images with keywords before placing them in a document. That helps your website to be found in the searches.

How about the size?

I’ve learned from Derek Halpern I mentioned earlier also how to strategically place a vertical image at the beginning of a post. The purpose of that image is to naturally shorten the first rows of text, because that encourages the person to actually start reading the post instead of just skimming it. Once she’s past the first few rows and the story has already captured her, she doesn’t mind if they’re longer anymore and keeps reading on.

And what’s with the photo on this post, the face shot?

That’s the most recent photo of me, the only decent shot that was taken on our holiday at Fuereteventura of Canary Islands on Christmas Eve. It reminds me of the Natural Facelift challenge I took last year. I just recently gave an interview to Ines who organized it and you can listen to it here. It’s in her free magazine December issue.
foreveryoung

corrallejo-maisema15Is it actually relevant here?

Not really I suppose. It would help if I was looking at the camera, hence staring at you and sending a message like I’m talking straight to you. But it was the right shape and I’ve been told to add more recent pictures of myself here to appear as a real person, so I figured I might as well do it now.

I’m trying to switch more and more to photos I’ve taken myself (well, technically I didn’t take that one, my Hub did), and it works better than this cactus, doesn’t it?

See what I mean with spicing it up with photography?

What was your takeaway from this article today? Please share it in the comment box!

And sign up for the challenge if you haven’t already! It’s not too late yet!

17 Comments

  • Great tips! But call me crazy…I love that image on forever young…Old cactus seeing itself as a younger version:) LOL

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      Thanks Jacquie 😀

  • Susan Cooper

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    Images and photos make all the difference in the world to me when I’m reading a blog or looking at a website. I too try to either take my own picture or I draw them. If you have the ability it makes more sense financially the purchasing images to use….but sure can get time consuming. :)

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      I love your drawings Susan! I wish I had that talent, too. My niece does, she’s amazing. I’ve always envied her for that.

  • Lenie

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    I do add images whenever possible on my posts. It breaks up the paragraphs and makes for easier reading. I either add my own photos or use FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      Thanks Lenie for the website tip! I should browse more sites for images, but I suppose I’m just lazy…

  • Tim

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    Images most certainly bring life and clarity to a post but it must also be balanced with allowing the reader to use their imagination and create their own images in their mind.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      Very true Tim.

  • Lea Grover

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    Thank you so much for this! I’m always looking for good sources of free images!

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      You’re welcome Lea!

  • Ken Dowell

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    I used to work for PR Newswire and we did several studies that showed the same kind of results that you describe above. At minimum our news relations got a least twice as many views if they had images. The results were even more dramatic for video. One of my favorite sites for free pictures is http://www.publicdomainpictures.net.

  • Andy

    Reply Reply January 16, 2015

    I realize this post is meant to be a brief overview, but let me add the following for my fellow Mac users in the audience:
    (1) To take a screen shot of the entire screen, type Command-Shift-3.
    (2) To take a screen shot of a window or a menubar (File, Edit, etc.) menu,
    (a) type Command-Shift-4 and then the space bar,
    (b) put the mouse cursor over the window/menu, and
    (c) click;
    no mouse dragging is needed.
    (3) Use the Preview application to create a .gif version of a .png screen shot; the .gif file will have a smaller ‘memory footprint’ than the .png file.
    (4) Use the Photo Booth application to take your own photo for free.

    I would say something about floating images to the left or right of the window but I recognize that some people go into shock at the thought of having to learn a bit of Web coding. 😉

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply January 17, 2015

      Awesome Andy! Thank you!

  • Tuhin

    Reply Reply January 25, 2015

    Hello Eveliina

    You are absolutely correct. Images do add an extra flavor to the post.

    However I try to create my own cartoons…I would be grateful to you if you can have a look at my blog and suggest me some ways to improve my images.

    Thank you

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