Go Easy on the Eyes: Use Images in your Posts

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.

b&w tired eye originally uploaded to Flickr by izzie whizzie. Used under a Creative Commons By Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license.

9 thoughts on “Go Easy on the Eyes: Use Images in your Posts

  1. Splicing Images In Your Readers Head

    Fact is that readers will remember strong pictures more than your text desert. Sorry to all the Pulitzer Price worthy text producing bloggers out there. (More…)

  2. There was a server crash, auto-moderation and a broken night’s sleep (all unrelated), but the post has returned complete with picture.

    As matt608 suggested, it was odd to have a post about using pictures which didn’t feature an image itself. Consider the weirdness rectified

  3. What’s the Performancing collective’s view on images within Perfomancing blog posts?

    they should be tasteful (and you’re welcome to edit your entry to add one here)

  4. Recently Yahoo revamped it’s image search and to my mind it actually produces more relevant results than Google’s. It has the added bonus that it includes Flickr photos albeit without the advanced search option for Creative Commons photos. Like all image searches, some of the results are questionable. I did a quick image search for soccer and found a couple of “interesting” football related pictures.

    I still think Creative Commons photos are the way to go. There are so many good and different images out there which the artists want to share with everyone. It’s almost a crime not to use them

  5. I thought about posting an image with it, but I don’t recall ever seeing a Performancing post with one so I decided against it.

    What’s the Performancing collective’s view on images within Perfomancing blog posts?

  6. True, you make some good points in the post, but I’m really surprised you didn’t use an image yourself!.. A post about using images with no image… its just bizzaire. If I find an image via Google images I want to use, I always link at the bottom of the post to the source of the image.

  7. Not to mention that blog posts with images look much cooler than blog posts without images. It’s how we’re wired, I guess

  8. I’ve actually been seeing evidence that the mere presence of an tag has a favorable SEO effect, as it should. But now you’ll see SEOs start to game the system by automatically throwing 1px transparent graphics into their blog posts.

    In any case, I have no question that the presence of an image in your post does the following:

    1. It shows the reader that you’ve put more work into your article than 90% of the other articles out there.
    2. It keeps the reader at your site longer (which may not be good if you’re a CPC hound)
    3. It contributes to the perception of “authority”

    So, it makes perfect sense to me that Google is starting to favor content with inline images.

  9. Good advice.

    I have to admit, I heavily use Google’s Image Search to find relevant and interesting images for my blog posts, and it can be a serious copyright issue at some point in the future.

    Using stock photos (I love iStockPhoto, but sometimes they don’t have enough quality – just sometimes) can be expensive if you’re putting out 3-5 posts per day. If you are working with a (relatively) big company and can afford a license, Getty Images can be a great resource for news and sports-related imagery.

    I’ll be trying Flickr, especially the advanced search as Shane suggested. Thanks again.

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