Do I Need Images On My Blog?
If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you’ll probably know the upcoming answer to the question…
Unlike many designers, consultants, and web marketing experts… I actively avoid hype and recommendations that aren’t suited for you.
The downside (well, it’s a downside for some people) is that you need to think.
Just like any aspect of your website and other marketing tools, whether or not to use images is a strategic decision that should be made based on the goals of your site.
…especially taking into account what your audience needs, and what you’re willing and able to do.
Below I’ll outline your options and some reasons you might choose them.
You may have already noticed that I have an image on this and all other blog posts on this website. This is my preference in most cases, yours may be different after you’ve considered the following:
A case for images
Remember newspapers and magazines? They’d often use an image near the top of an article to entice a reader’s eye.
Images can do the same thing on your blog. When browsing the various posts on your blog, a reader might be attracted by a particular picture, or at least colors that are very different than the rest of what’s being featured.
Another trick from magazines – by using an image that takes up half the column of text, a reader will move down the page faster. Once someone has started reading, they’re more likely to continue. So an image might help more readers finish your article!
If your blog is just blocks of text, it can look a little plain. A well placed image can make it look more attractive!
(As a side note: don’t write in boring blocks of text. Write your blog for maximum readability, with larger headings, bold, italics, and colors when appropriate)
Images could help your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Google doesn’t just scan text, they can also see images. And if you’ve got original images have ALT tags and descriptions or captions that are relevant, people may be able to find your blog through an image search.
Finally, an image you place in a post is likely to show up as the graphic on Facebook when you share a link. Links with images makes the content more interesting and more likely to be clicked.
Benefits of leaving them out
The best part about not having images:
You don’t need to spend any time finding the perfect one!
If you’re perfectionism or indecisiveness is making you waste hours upon hours looking for the right image for a post, you might as well leave out the image and spend that time promoting your post instead.
A bad image can turn people off, too. So for all the positives of it showing on social media or attracting someone’s eye, having boring images might have the opposite effect.
Are you crazy about fonts? For a blog that features beautify typography (like publishers, authors, or font designers) you may want to leave out images that distract from the words on the screen.
Don’t like clutter? Maybe if you’re really into minimalism, and people will read anyway, then leave out the images. Check out Zen Habits for a great example of this.
Do what is best for you & your audience
Like I said before, the choice depends on the purpose of a blog.
You can choose on a per-post basis. Not every one needs an image if you don’t want to or don’t have time.
The only right answer is what will best serve your visitors and help you accomplish your goals.
If you do choose an image for a post, make sure that
- It’s visually appealing
- It’s elevant to the post
- You have the rights to post it
You can search Flickr for images that have a Creative Commons license, those are usually safe to post on your own site. Even better if you only choose the ones that are available for commercial use.
For more access to high quality photos, you can pay for them at a site like Shutterstock.