Image is Everything: 4 Tips to Choosing the Best Blog Images

In our last blog, we mentioned that 2 million blog posts are published to different websites every single day. Could just be me… But does anyone else find that number overwhelming?

Find your Hook

If you are reading this article and find that number overwhelming, congratulations, you are a living human being. And, the fact is, if you’re a blog author and want your fresh content to cut through the noise, you have to find ways to hook people in.

So what’s your hook?

This specific blog post is dedicated to a hook that oft goes forgotten. Or, rather, a hook that is rarely fully taken advantage of. A hook that’s usually an afterthought and is considered, briefly, only before publishing. A hook that, many times, ends up doing more harm than good.

Hook in your audience… By finding the perfect images.

And, if a picture is truly worth 1,000 words, shouldn’t you spend the time to find the right picture to come before your 1,000 word blog post?

The answer is yes.

(Blog) Image is Everything

HOT TAKE ALERT!

Okay, so maybe image isn’t everything in your blogs, but don’t discredit the impact of a good set of images to complement your content. Having compelling rich media — images, infographics, video, GIFs — incorporated into your blog posts can go a long way to ensure that your blog post is gaining eyeballs.
Just look around. Instagram and Snapchat often dominate our phone use — especially for younger generations. For all of the oldies out there, even Facebook now prioritizes video- and image-based posts in News Feeds. We send pictures and video to our families and friends. We binge watch.

BOTTOM LINE: Our eyes like images.

So how do you find those perfect images for your blog post? Specifically, how do you find the right Featured Image that will be displayed any time you post your blog link to a social network?

Here are 4 useful tips.

1. Beware the Stock Market

No, I’m not talking about Wall Street here. I’m talking about the stock photography market.

Now, I don’t mean to throw the entire stock photography business under the bus, but I’m simply telling you to use caution. The large majority of stock photography on the Internet is pretty terrible and selecting cheesy images for your blog can truly harm your content — even if the content is fantastic.

Don’t believe me that there’s lots of terrible stock photography out there?

What about this image?
Don’t these fine looking employees know it’s impolite to point?

Or maybe this image.
Perhaps most disturbing about this one is that, I believe, it was featured on a website about funerals.
But, you get the picture (no pun intended). This is merely a snapshot of what’s out there (okay… pun intended). In fact, there have been entire blog posts and even entire blog sites dedicated to pointing out terrible stock photography. And the worst part of it is — these photos cost money. And are often really expensive.

Save yourself the money (and embarrassment), and check out some free AND non-cheesy photography websites like Unsplash. Or, maybe hit up 99Designs, which is basically a hub for freelance design professionals. 99Designs is best known for its logo design work but can also commission freelancers to take quality photography for your blog post.

Or, here’s a novel idea — maybe take the pictures yourself. I heard a rumor that the iPhone 8 can literally transform into a hovercraft, so if that’s the case, I can assure you that it’s also got a quality camera that can shoot professional grade pictures. Then, slap a filter on your pics and voila! — visual gold.

2. Watch your Tone

This one is pretty basic but can go a long way. When choosing an image or set of images for your blog, find images that match the tone of your blog post. Is this an inspiring blog post? Find bright and uplifting pictures. Is this blog post intended to stir up the emotions of your audience to help them buy into a cause that you are passionate about? Find some images that complement — not detract from — your arguments.

This is where the old mantra — a picture is worth 1,000 words — can really ring true. Choose an image that captures a thought or idea that’s simply impossible to describe with words, and your content will be all the more enticing — and persuasive — for readers.

3. A Resolution for Resolution

One of the worst mistakes you can make when finding an image or set of images for your killer blog post is settling for lower resolution. There is nothing less-enticing to readers than seeing a link to a blog post, whose Featured Image is a grainy mess.

The main perpetrator of low quality images — Google Images.

*Side Note* Here's another reason to be wary of using Google Images to find images for your blog posts. Many of the images on Google Images are most likely rights-reserved, meaning you don’t technically have the rights to use those images. Many surfaced images in Google Images are low resolution, so think twice before immediately choosing the first images that surface in your search feed.

Again, a website like Unsplash features high resolution images for free that are not rights-reserved; however, if you find the ole Google machine easiest for surfacing your images, here’s a quick way to filter out those low resolution duds.

From the Google Images homepage, perform your search. Then, once your results arrive, click on “Settings” to the bottom right of the search pane and click on “Advanced Search” from the dropdown menu. Then, on that new page, click on the dropdown menu to the right of “image size:” and choose one of the listed sizes. Typically, for a blog post, choosing the “Medium” option is sufficient, as it only includes medium- to large-sized images and weeds out any smaller, low resolution images.

4. Don’t Slow Down your Blog

Finally, as a follow up to number 3, although you should look for quality, high resolution images for your blog posts, you should also beware of including an image whose file size is HUGE. If your image is too big, you can slow down your blog post’s webpage or, even worse, your entire blog site.

By using tools like Adobe Photoshop or online tools like Dynamic Drive, you can compress your images to sizes that are ideal for websites. OR through using SnapPages to build your website, your images will be automatically optimized as you upload them.


So, before pushing the “Publish” button on your next blog, consider if the images that you have chosen are going to be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental to the content that you have written.
Taking an extra 15 minutes to find the right image, as opposed to settling for second-best (or third- or fourth-best), could take your blog posts from “good” to “fantastic.”

Got any extra tips or websites with great, free photography? Hit us up in the Comments!
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