A well placed image can make or break your latest blog post. I’m sure it has been mentioned on Performancing many times in the past but I feel this is worth mentioning again as a reader, I continue to be confronted with screen after screen of unrelenting text.
Although many of us read for leisure, reading is not necessarily an easy thing to do, particularly if it is screen based reading. Screeds of text can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Images within a blog post help to break up the flow of the text which, strange as it might sound, actually helps to improve the flow of your blog.
That’s enough of the why you should use images. Now it’s on to where you can find them.
It is preferable you don’t just yank photos from any old site, just because you like the image. Apart from the copyright issues, it is also tad rude. Having said that, it can sometimes be surprisingly difficult to get images from a corporate source. It is amazing how many places release press releases without an image or do not have have some images available for reporting purposes. Apple’s PR is a good example of how to do this well. Use PR images where you can. The quality is almost always excellent and formatted with online use in mind.
Another good source of cheap, good quality images are stock photo places like iStockPhoto. This gives you easy and quick access to a wide range of photos at an accessible price. Just be sure to check the licensing agreements as these change from service to service.
If you are like me and either too cheap or can’t afford to pay for blog fodder, Flickr is your friend. The default license for Flickr photos is a Creative Commons one. Remember that this is only the default license and many uploaders choose to reserve their rights so check the status before you use any pictures. The best option (and my own little secret weapon) is the Flickr advanced search. The advanced search lets you select only Creative Commons pictures. As an advanced tip, sort by “interesting” rather than “relevant” for some images you might not have ever thought to use but once you’ve seen them, you can’t imagine ever not using them.
As always with images, please be sure to attribute appropriately (and in the case of Flickr, please also respect the Community Guidelines).
With those tips above, there is no reason not to regularly use images to spice up your valuable written content on your blogs. Remaining easy on your readers’ eyes improves the chances that they will come back for more.