Are you using images for your website or blog yet? If not, you’re missing out so bad, you better finish reading this article…
Maybe you just focus too much on content and getting every piece of information in your text possible.
Or maybe you’re just unsure how to add images in your posts.
But you might be part of some people who aren’t sure which images are free to use.
No matter which group you fall into, I guarantee you, that soon you’ll improve your site, if you finish reading this post.
Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- Why the use of image is important
- Where you can get your images from
- How to properly upload them
- How to post images for improved SEO
Believe it or not, but it takes me about half a day to create a blog post like this one. Sometimes I even start drafting my posts earlier.
And the use of images takes about 50% of the creation time.
Now when you see the process of how I implement these images and how I create them, it might seem fairly quick.
But it’s all about editing, the right visuals, seeing if it fits with the text etc.
You have to be patient and look at the end result from an outside point of view.
After all, your blog/ website is supposed to please your viewers and you want them to get the most of it.
So instead of rushing things, lets take it nice and slow.
The result of this will boost your traffic and lower your bounce rate!
Why You Should Use Images
The first reason you should use images is simple. The use of imagery makes your text look more appealing.
I mean unless you’re reading a book that isn’t meant for children or something, having a block of text can be really tiring to read.
Especially when you read something that is supposed to teach you a thing or two.
Imagine going through a photoshop tutorial that explains everything in text. Pretty boring right?
Now think of a tutorial that has an image for every step of the process…
It’s just a lot simpler to follow, to stay interested and it makes it a lot easier to understand where you go wrong.
The second reason is, you keep your readers attached. In the introduction, I mentioned that your bounce rate will decrease.
This happens because having an image on your page, automatically captures someones attention for at least a second.
It’s natural human behavior to inspect something visual. By doing so, you gained at least 1 additional second on keeping your viewer on your page.
Now if you multiply this by several images, you have several seconds, minutes or hours that people spend on your site.
If we go back to the example of the tutorials for instance, people will try to imitate what’s shown in the image.
So most likely they will go back and forth from your image to their example, trying to match your every step.
The third reason is support and emphasizing your argument.
When used correctly, you can make your points stick out even stronger by linking images to them.
Have a look at the YouTube suggested videos on the front page:
I’m not even joking, just going on the page, looking at the trending videos made me watch one and caught my attention for the next 45 minutes.
If the snippet image wouldn’t have been there, I probably would have ignored the video.
The same goes for headlines in news related stories. Of course the title is one of the most important things to get people to look at the whole text.
But several images keep people, not only more interested, but also more engaged.
It also makes it easier for us to remember stories when we can associate images to them.
Just like we remember people better if we can put a face to them.
Do note, that you have to make sure you are using royalty free images for websites. If you don’t you may get into a lot of trouble.
I’m not exactly sure what type of penalty you can get but I don’t want to find out by trying my luck. I’m sure it’s a money related fine.
Having said that, make sure to always use free image sources.
The fourth reason is social media and ads.
Whether you are posting an article to…
…you are much more likely to get someone to actually open the link if it’s supported by a strong image.
Usually when you post a link on any social media, it will try to pick out suggested images within that link to give it a visual presence.
If you include certain images on your posts, these will be the images you can use for your social media post.
(Make sure to have the right format for the right social media. More on that below)
As you may know social media plays a huge role in online marketing and generally for any web related activity where you want exposure.
There are millions of people on each media so you’re highly encouraged to share your articles and posts on as many sources as you can.
In order to stand a chance, you should know how to reach people within each media.
If for instance, if you look at Pinterest and Instagram alone, these two are solely image based.
It’s all about how visually appealing your post looks on these two, whereas on Twitter for example, you have to be very descriptive in few words.
To read more about the different accounts and how they could increase your traffic as well as conversions feel free to check out this post.
On a little side note, make sure to use hashtags for every social media, not just Instagram and Twitter for additional reach.
My Preferred Sources
Ok, so you now know that you’re not allowed to use any image that you’d like to use.
But where can you find images that are rich in quality as well as free?
Here’s a small list of the best sources in my opinion. There are thousands of other pages that offer royalty free images for websites.
However I found that most have really amateur looking pictures and others which are just poor in quality.
I like to have neat looking pictures and high resolution. The following pages have a huge library of images and completely for free.
With MorgueFile all you have to do is type in the keyword you’re looking for in the search bar and browse away.
In the below example I was looking for a nice image of an elderly looking kettle. So I simply typed in kettle in the search bar.
These are some of the images I was presented with:
Once you find something that you think would fit in well with your blog or text, simply click on the image and let the menu open.
You can now either choose to use the image link (2) or simply download it to your desktop (1). It’s pretty straight forward really.
You can also resize the desired size but this feature isn’t well structured in my opinion (3).
My personal favorite for all sorts of images however is:
There’s a reason I mention it in my resource page and that reason is because it’s probably got the best library for all kinds of images.
Admittedly it can be tough to find exactly what you’re looking for sometimes and you have to be rather creative with your keywords.
But in the end I’ve always managed to get the pretty much the type of image I was looking for.
For instance if you’re looking for a person looking ‘Stressed’ you may have a lot of unrelated results like shown below:
But if you look for the keyword ‘Depressed’ you get similar results but it looks for images from a different angle.
Therefore it will show a sad or unhappy person rather than illustrations representing stressful events as you can see in this image:
However if you look around for a while you can find even better results. You just have to be creative.
Another reason why this is one of my favorites, is because you can instantly download the desired size and it’s always brilliant quality.
Unlike MorgueFILE where you have to know beforehand what size you want, it gives you the typical sized range from small to large.
Of course you don’t need to pay a dime to get your hands on any of these images either which is another giant plus of course.
However, neither of the two mentioned sources are particularly good for customization.
If you’re looking to actually create some nice additional features on images, you may be looking for something like the next source.
You can download the image from the above two sources and move onto this one:
Canva is beyond brilliant and ever since I’ve discovered them, I’ve been using them for every single post.
As soon as you log in, you can choose from a variety of dimensions. As I mentioned previously, every social media has a different preference.
This is even more important when it comes to image sizes.
So if we go into the ‘More’ tab for instance, you can see a huge variety for each popular social media and their different posting types:
Once you’ve made a choice, you have a giant list of templates you can use to start your imagery mastery.
(Note: Some of the given templates aren’t free so they will be watermarked)
The great thing about Canva is that they not only let you choose their templates to start off your art, they also constantly update the images.
Since I use them about two times per week, I go through nearly all their free images and I’ve never been disappointed.
If however you want to upload your own images that’s fine as well. For this example I chose a free template though.
I won’t go into too much detail on how to choose and edit your images.
It’s not because I don’t want you to figure it out by yourself, but because there’s a trial training when you first log in.
This guide will make you go through the basics step by step.
What I do want you to see, is that you can change filters and use awesome fonts as well as thousands of great icons.
The filters remind you of Instagram filters, where you can give images a more dramatic or cinematic effect.
Obviously you get better at creating what you want and you’ll be doing it faster, the more you experiment with it.
Do note that I haven’t signed up for any of these resources except Canva, where I signed up with my Google+ account for instance.
I’ve never received any spammy emails or any other annoying things from signing up to them so it’s worth doing so.
Besides, they also store previously created images which is cool because if you want to use similar features for a new image you can re-use them.
It will also store uploaded images you’ve loaded onto your account before. Therefore signing up does have it’s advantages
Last but not least, I occasionally like to use my own photos.
Now I’m not a photographer and I don’t even own a digital camera to be honest. What I do own is an iPhone.
You may think this is obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. No one can forbid you to take your own images and upload them.
I love taking screenshots off my phone and sending it to my laptop when I want to create tutorials for Instagram for example.
Especially for those of you that like to blog about personal stuff, fashion or styling guides, cooking etc.
I’m sure using your own images would be a lot more efficient than trying to find royalty free images that you may use let alone represent what you want to show.
Admittedly you may not get the greatest picture with the wrong lighting and all, but the quality of an average smart phone is good enough.
Plus there are so many apps you can use to add filters and all.
How To Upload And Post Images To Your Blog
Believe it or not, but this part is actually quite important and you may have been uploading your images wrongly for quite some time.
Besides choosing the right image and knowing the technicalities on how to upload the actual image, there are a few things you should bare in mind.
When you upload your image, you don’t just want to throw it in anywhere.
The basic form of uploading is to click on the ‘Add Media’ button on the top of your WordPress image.
Wherever your cursor was last, is where the you are targeting to upload the desired image.
Now it’s time to choose the image you want to post.
Either drag and drop the image from wherever you saved it to the WordPress window or select to upload it from your saved destination.
Here’s where the important bit starts.
If you want to get the highest potential out of your website, you should really try to have SEO in mind whenever you do anything to your blog.
Having said that, you want to position your images nicely.
If your image is a long narrow one, you might want to position it either to the left or the right of your text.
If it’s a panoramic or wide image, centered is a good option.
But besides the positioning, you want to include your keywords. For instance, let’s assume I would blog about gardening and plants.
If my next blog post is about how to grow tomatoes and how to treat your tomato plant, I might have ‘how to water tomato plants’ as my targeted keyword.
As an example I will be using this image of a growing tomato plant that needs careful water measurements.
As it is perfectly squared image I would choose to have a medium-large size and post it in the center of my text.
If however I would choose a smaller size, say 150 x 150, I’d probably go for a sided alignment.
Here’s how you should upload your images:
Note that I wrote the main keyword in the title with a dash or minus, separating every word (1).
You want to do that for every image you upload.
In (2) I wrote the main keyword (how to water tomato plants) in addition with some descriptive text.
It’s pretty much the same process as in the Title but you want to switch it up.
If you do these simple two things, you will make search engines like Google very happy and are more likely to get ranked higher.
Adding images in general increases your SEO by the way.
Also note that you don’t want to link your image to anything unless you want people to be able to enlarge the picture or linking to an affiliate url.
Now that you know which images you can use and how to properly make use of them, you can start letting your Picasso out.
I just wanted to re-emphasize that you should be uploading posts with images in every social media.
It really makes a huge difference in conversions. Don’t forget to use the right dimensions.
Doing these two things can make a difference of 1-2 clicks to 1,000-2,000 clicks, reposts and shares!
I hope you enjoyed this guide and that you can make use of it.