4 Tips for Adding Top-Notch Images to Your Blog

You’re putting together a great blog post—you’ve done lots of research, pulled in shocking stats and insights from experts, and wrote a compelling piece of content that keeps readers hooked from headline to CTA.

Good for you. You’re ahead of most.

But then you grab a few photos from a quick Google Images search and throw them in your article to break up the text.

You just sabotaged your blog post.

You were on the right track—you need images. That’s because humans are highly visual, able to process images 60,000 times faster than text. 

In fact, blog posts that use images get 94% more views than those that don’t.

But visual elements need to be high-quality and appropriate in the context of your blog post. A last-second Google search for stock photos won’t suffice.

Here are four tips for adding top-notch images to your blog post.

Public domain

Use public domain or paid images.

You can get plenty of quality images for free, but you have to know where to look.

Chances are, if you grab an image off the World Wide Web, it’s protected under some type of copyright. Don’t risk it. Either pay for a stock photo or find one in the public domain.

What does public domain mean? It means a creative piece, like a photograph or graphic, isn’t protected by any intellectual property law, such as copyright. Anyone can use and reuse a public domain image without getting the creator’s permission.

My tip: Always check the usage rights of an image before you use it. There may be restrictions for how you can use, modify, or commercialize the image.

Creative Commons displays the image’s license. You can click on the license to see what rights and restrictions come with the image.

Here are a few ways to find high-quality public domain photos: 

Go to Google Images, search for the type of image you want, and select Tools from the options menu.

Screenshot of Google Images

Some options appear. Click Usage Rights and choose the option that best fits your intent with the image: 

  • Will you use it commercially (to sell a product) or non commercially? 
  • Will you use the image as is, or will you modify it?

If you just want to use the image as-is, you can select “Labeled for reuse.”

Screenshot of usage rights options in Google Images
You can filter Google images by usage rights, depending on how you plan to use the image.

Besides Google Images, there are plenty of places you can get high-quality, free public domain images, like Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, Creative Commons, StockSnap.io, and countless more.

With so many great options, there’s no excuse to steal. 

Relevance

Use contextually-relevant images.

Use contextually-relevant images that add value to your writing.

Is your article about how to make cat toys from scratch? Take a series of photos showing the steps as you make the cat toys. Better yet, make a video showing how you make the toys and embed it in your text.

You get the idea.

Another great way to add context through images is to include graphs and charts that back up a point you make in your blog post. 

Check out the chart below from Orbit Media Studios. The first data point backs up my claim that images improve blog performance.

Orbit Media Studios graphic: The least common blogging tactics are most effective

In short, images should always add value to your writing. As writers, we know when a paragraph doesn’t add value to a piece of content, and we delete it. 

We need to think the same way about images. 

  • Does this image give context, such as a screenshot of a process? 
  • Does it enhance the readability of the writing, such as a stylized pull-quote?
  • Does it supply additional information, such as a chart or graph? 

No? Delete.

Homemade images

Make your own images.

Making your own images allows you to establish a consistent style on your blog.

  • If you want a pull-quote to stand out, make a visually striking image of the quote. 
  • If you want to diffuse your brand colors and personality, make a series of color-synched images with your unique style.
  • If you want to highlight data, create a simple graph, table, or infographic.

There are countless online tools (paid and free) you can use to quickly whip up an image. My favorite is Canva. You can be design-impaired and still put together a top-notch graphic with Canva.

I used it to make the headers for this post. See?

Screenshot of my blog graphic being edited in Canva.

Other graphics-creating tools include Adobe Spark, Pablo by Buffer (great for quotes and social sharing), Piktochart for infographics, and PicMonkey.

You don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard to make an impactful graphic.

Optimization

Optimize your images.

Once you found or made the perfect image, optimize it for speed and search.

Using large file sizes slows your web page down and causes readers to click away. Instead, compress your images with a tool like Optimizilla to shrink the file size while maintaining quality.

You also need to add “alt” text to your images so search engines can find them. Screen readers also use alt text to read images.

Alt text should briefly describe the contents of the image. You don’t need alt text on purely decorative images.

To add alt text in WordPress (the new block editor), insert the image and add the alt text from the image settings panel to the right.

Screenshot of adding alt text to an image in the WordPress block editor.

Now you’re ready to add some top-notch images to your blog! 

I’m curious: Do you have a favorite stock photo source, graphic maker, or other content-enhancing hacks? Share them below!


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