Are you a blogger in a niche that isn’t naturally photo-friendly? Do you struggle with whether you should add an image to every post? Why isn’t text enough?
Well, you’ve heard the cliché: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, it’s true. People are drawn to visual images faster than they are drawn to text.
When I was in journalism, I learned that readers look at the photo first, then the caption, then the headline, then they finally get to the story. We were encouraged to have a photo, graphic, pulled quote or bulleted list with every story. It not only broke up the text, but it also gave the story a visual anchor.
In the same way, you want to give your blog posts a visual anchor. A photo, graphic or quote related to your story or post can bring it to life for the readers. It can frame your central point in a visual way that is easy for your readers to see. Think about sports stories: The NCAA championship game story means a whole lot more to a reader when it has a picture of the winning shot, showing the effort and emotion of the players.
In online communication, visuals are also highly shareable. All of the major social networks emphasize visual content. Pinterest is the most obvious one, because it is based on pinning and repinning visual content. But Facebook, Twitter and Google+ posts with visuals also show increased traffic. They get a lot more shares and retweets than posts without visuals.
I’ve also seen the rule that you should add at least one visual to every blog post. I try to follow this myself, but my topic of online communication isn’t very photo-friendly. I’ve searched for related photos through the PhotoDropper plug-in in WordPress. But I don’t often like what I find, or I feel like I would be posting it just to have a picture with my post. I don’t want to post a photo just to be following a rule; I want to give my audience something truly related to my posts. So I have been creating my own visuals.
Creating my own visuals not only ensures they are directly related to the post, they also avoid another problem: copyright. When you use photos you’ve found online, you have to be careful of copyright restrictions. PhotoDropper finds copyright-free photos, but if you find photos through a search engine, you have to be careful. For example, most of the photos found on Google images are not copyright-free.
Readers, do you think images are important? What types of images do you add to your blog posts? Let us know in the comments!