Ok, so you’ve written an amazing blog post. 🎉
It’s relevant, it’s creative, you know your audience is going to love it, and you’ve been killing your blog content calendar strategy lately! But then you start to think about your featured image.
Sometimes it’s easy – as you can just use one of your photos, but other times you might want to spice it up with a cool and edgy graphic. You might feel like it’s a hassle, but your blog images are as important as the written content they accompany. You can’t get away with including less than top quality visual content.
According to WordPress, 76.3 million posts are published on WordPress each month, and more than 409 million people view 22.3 billion blog pages each month. Now that’s a stat!
So how do you give your blog content the best chance at being seen? Images are powerful attention-grabbers and a clever way to reinforce the messaging in your blog posts. They’re also shareable. 💯
Blogs are as visual as they are literary. And so are your distribution channels. Social media, marketing emails, ads… they all need optimized image content.
In this blog post, we’re going to break down what professional and optimized image content really means. Plus, we’ll give you our top tips for blog images to make a photographer proud and you’ll get a foolproof checklist to make sure your blog images are SEO approved.
How to Achieve Professional Blog Images.
When we talk about blog images being professional and “optimized”, we don’t just mean better ones. In today’s noisy digital landscape, it’s more important than ever to make sure your images are search engine friendly.
Search engines like Google have complicated algorithms that get updated regularly, so the rules for search engine optimization do tend to change.
However, one thing’s for sure: when someone searches for a term in Google, it doesn’t just trawl the written content of a page in order to return relevant results. It also looks at visual content.
There are several things you can do to make sure Google (and the rest) like what they see in terms of your blog images. We provide a checklist of these in point number four below.
But first, here’s a few more general tips for attention-grabbing, professional blog imagery.
1. Picture quality
Rule number one of professional blog imagery is to use good quality pictures.
Unsplash is a fantastic source of professional photography that’s free to use. Search by category, or type in a query to get slick blog images that are downloadable and ready to use, or turn into eye-catching graphics.
If you’re using your own images, make sure you follow basic rules of photographic composition, such as the rule of thirds. And you must ensure your pictures are taken at high enough resolution so that they don’t appear blurry or “pixelated”. Check out also Makerbook for a huge collection of other free stock websites.
The visual elements of your blog should be consistent in terms of look and feel.
What is the personality of your brand? How does that translate into a visual identity or signature? This is about much more than your logo.
If you’re creating blog graphics, be sure to use the same font, color palette and styling. We recommend creating some templates so you can easily swap out the words and visuals while retaining the sizing and layout. Be consistent about the filters you use. Canva is a great place to create image templates and save them for later use, but you can also do these in Photoshop.
No longer are eye-catching blog graphics just for graphic designers! An image with some overlaid text and your logo is a quick and easy graphic to make.
If you can’t face the complexity of Photoshop, we don’t blame you. There are now a raft of DIY design tools out there that are affordable or even free. PicMonkey is a great alternative and they offer a free trial to get you started.
We already mentioned Canva, but how about Easil? It has ready to use templates built in and there’s nothing extra to pay if you use the standard images or graphics.
Page Ruler is a browser extension that allows you to measure graphic elements on any web page.
4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
As we said, it’s essential that both your blog posts and your blog images are search engine friendly. Read more about how to optimize your blog posts for search.
Each blog post you write should have a target keyword for which you want it to rank. Make sure this keyword is included in image file names or “alt descriptions”.
“Alt descriptions” are shown in instances where the images don’t appear. They’re also how Google (and the rest) know whether your visual content is relevant to the written content it accompanies.
If you’re using WordPress to write your blog, Yoast is a great free plugin that will help you with your on-page optimisation.
And finally: Google will actually penalize a website for images that are too large (and therefore take too long to download).
Images from digital cameras or stock photo libraries can be very large, both in dimensions and file size. So always reduce the picture to the maximum dimensions your platform allows for a post or cover image (for instance, if the maximum size is 1080px width, make it that).
Tools for preparing image files for upload:
- Pagespeed Insights: enter your URL and see which images need resizing
- Canva is a free design tool that allows you to upload, resize, then download your images easily
- Mac: use Preview (use Tools, Adjust Size and then Export to save as a JPG)
- Windows: FastStone or PIXresizer (both free)
We hope these tips will come in handy for optimizing your blog images! Stay tuned for more resources on how to be a better blogger.