This article has been contributed by Jon Torres.
When most people think of the factors that make an excellent blog, great writing is the first thing that comes to mind. But whether you realize it or not, images are also a key determinant of the success of your blog.
Why exactly are images so important for your blog? Simply put, strategically placed images have the ability to increase traffic, boost audience engagement and help your articles rank higher on Google. Images play a key role in any solid SEO strategy.
When done correctly, images can add important context to your posts, and help break up your copy. Most importantly, compelling images will help you to retain audience attention.
So, with all of that in mind, let’s find out how to design and incorporate images into your blog posts for maximum success. In this article, you’ll discover the types of images you should use for your blog, where you can find ready-to-go images and what the best tools for designing images are. Let’s get started.
The Best Types of Images for Your Blog
Now that you know the upsides of using images in your blog, let’s look at how to get the most out of them. Here are the types of images that will generate the most success for your blog posts.
Interactive images are a great way to boost audience engagement. You can turn passive images into interactive images by adding interactive elements to photos.
For example, if you’re writing about a product, you can include an image of said product. When the reader hovers over different areas of the picture, important details pop up to help the reader learn more about the product. Alternatively, a 3D version of the image may rotate as the user moves their mouse, enabling them to see the product from every angle.
When in doubt, photography is always a great choice to upgrade your blog. Unless you’re a photographer yourself, look into the stock image sites outlined later in this article. Remember to include context in your blog to help tie in any images you’ve chosen.
Infographics are not only a great way to improve your blog posts, that can also be an excellent way of earning backlinks to your site.
When you create a great infographic, other blogs are likely to want to include it in their own content. If that’s the case, be sure to require a source link back to your site so you get credit for your work and potentially, an increase in traffic.
Graphs and Charts
Graphs and charts are similar to infographics in that they encourage backlinks and increase traffic to your blog. Keep in mind, if you do decide to create a graph, you’ll need to make it very clear where your data is coming from. Include a mention of the source and generally a link to the data too.
Much like photography, illustrations are a great way to highlight the topic of your blog. Illustrations can often be found on stock image sites. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also use a tool like Adobe Illustrator to create your own digital illustrations.
One type of image that is very easy to create yourself is the quote image. Inserting a simple quote image can highlight important points in your article and add a pop of color to your post.
You can quickly create quote images in a tool like Canva. Keep the quote fairly short, and pick a section of your text that really highlights the topic of the post.
Quick Tips for Choosing Compelling Images for Your Blog
So you’ve decided what type of images you’ll include in your next post. Now it’s time to choose them from a library or to create your own. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.
1. Choose the Right Colors
You’ve probably already picked a color scheme for your blog. If that’s the case, you’ll want to try to pick images that fit in or complement that color scheme.
2. Pick Images That Match Your Brand
You also need to make sure your images resonate with your target audience. If you’re writing a blog that’s about street fashion, your images should appeal to that audience rather than suits or glitterati.
3. Only Choose Relevant Images
The topic of your blog post should dictate the images you choose or design. Every image you incorporate into your post should add to the overall message of your article.
4. Make Sure Your Images Load Correctly
One of the biggest factors that can affect visitor retention is load times. If your images are loading slowly, you risk losing traffic to your site. If you find your images are loading slowly, you will need to optimize them.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Crop Images
Remember, you want to choose images that are relevant to your article. If you’ve found an image that is almost perfect, don’t be afraid to crop it so that it’s focused on what you want.
Where Can You Find Images for Your Blog?
If you’re not interested in creating your own images, or if you’re looking to diversify your images, a stock image site is a great way to go.
Stock image websites provide images that you can use without worrying about legal issues. Stock images are also incredibly convenient because the images are already edited and ready to go.
Now, a lot of people think that stock images are just generic photographs that don’t add any real value to your content. The truth is, when chosen and used correctly, stock images can take your written content to the next level.
As long as you’re adding images to enhance and support your content, you’re on the right track. Here’s a small list of trusted websites where you can find stock images for your blog.
Shutterstock is one of the more popular options when it comes to stock images. The site offers a massive selection of high-quality photographs and vector images. With over 300 million images to choose from, it’s not hard to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Now, all that being said, this website does come at a pretty steep price point. For a monthly subscription that includes 10 photographs per month, you’re looking at about $49.
Adobe Stock is another excellent option for finding quality stock images. Aside from photography, you can also find vector images, illustrations, and videos on Adobe Stock. You’ll find several image categories to choose from including technology, entertainment, architecture, fashion, sports, and seasons, just to name a few.
It should also be mentioned that the images on Adobe Stock are pretty stunning. They certainly don’t look like the corny images that spring to mind when you think of stock images. Even better, Adobe Stock is significantly cheaper than Shutterstock. Plans start at $29.99 per month for 10 images.
Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are not exactly cheap, so it’s useful to know about free options, One such option is Pixabay, which offers over a million stock images that are completely free to use. Obviously, you won’t find as large of a selection as a paid option, but it’s not bad considering you don’t pay a dime.
Pixabay also offers free videos and music that you can use for your content. To take advantage of Pixabay, all you’ll need to do is create your free account.
Negative Space is another free option for stock images. The site is nicely organized so that you can easily find images in several categories. All of the images found on Negative Space are totally free to use whether it be for personal or commercial use.
You can also search for images according to color scheme which comes in handy for creating visually pleasing blog posts. You can head to Negative Space and download images without even creating an account.
What Are the Best Tools for Creating Original Images for Your Blog?
Some people prefer to create their own original images, that won’t be used anywhere else. But creating your own images can be an intimidating prospect, especially if you’re new to blogging.
Here are a few options that are ideal for beginners, as well as some more robust graphic design tools for creating images.
Canva has quickly become a favorite among bloggers and influencers alike. The reason behind its popularity is its user-friendly nature. Canva is available as a desktop website, but you can also download it on your phone as an app, which is extremely convenient.
If you’re worried about the skills required for mastering graphic design software, Canva is an excellent option. Canva provides premade templates, fonts, and vector images so that you can easily create beautiful images with little experience.
Canva has a free option that includes plenty of features to get you started. The free plan comes with a pretty impressive selection of tools:
- More than 200,000 pre-made templates
- Over 100 design types
- Thousands of free vector images and photos
- Team collaboration tools
- Cloud storage is included
Aside from the free plan, Canva offers premium plans starting at $12.95 per month.
PicMonkey is another good option for beginners or if you need to make images quickly and easily. Much like Canva, PicMonkey offers affordable options for those on a budget.
PicMonkey comes through with a serious set of tools to help you create beautiful images. Here are some of the features you’ll find on PicMonkey:
- 9,000 customizable graphics and vector images
- Hundreds of unique fonts
- Thousands of pre-made templates
- Large selection of stock images
PicMonkey offers a free trial and you can upgrade to a paid plan for $7.99 per month.
Adobe Illustrator remains on the cutting edge of design software. This option is ideal for those who are confident in their design skills. That being said, it’s fairly intuitive software, so if you consider yourself a beginner, you can still do a lot with this option.
Adobe Illustrator allows users to create vector graphics from scratch. Obviously, this means you’ll need to have some illustration skills to get started. People also use this software to create typography and logos.
If you’re looking for a way to create your own infographics, this is the way to go. Adobe Illustrator has an entire selection of tools dedicated just to infographics.
Here are some of the tools you’ll get with Adobe Illustrator:
- Enhance and align text
- Precisely position objects and text
- Auto-extract colors
- Cloud storage
- Customizable lettering
- Infographic design
Because Adobe Illustrator is known as the industry standard for graphic design, it does come at a price. The standard package starts at $20.99 per month, but take a look to see if you can get 40-70% off Adobe Creative Cloud. New users can check out the free trial to see if it’s a good fit.
The above options are really geared towards illustration, so I wanted to give you an option for photography.
Affinity Photo is a photo-editing app with an extremely comprehensive list of features. Many users find that Affinity Photo is a little bit easier to learn than Photoshop, which is why I chose it for this list.
The features you’ll find on Affinity Photo are as follows:
- Unlimited layers
- 360-degree image editing
- Real-time photo editing
- Super-accurate selection tools
- Panorama stitching
- Digital painting
- Merge multiple images with different focuses
Aside from the excellent feature set, Affinity Photo also offers options for multiple devices. Affinity Photo is optimized for Windows, Mac, and iPad.
Depending on which device you’re working from, packages range from $19-$49. These are one-time payments so you don’t have to worry about monthly fees.
Final Words About Featured Blog Images
There’s no question that images are an essential part of any successful blog. Depending on your skillset, you can create digital illustrations from scratch with a tool like Adobe Illustrator, or put together beautiful images in Canva or PicMonkey.
If you’re short on time, stock images can add value to your posts and make your blog far more visually appealing.
Lastly, remember to incorporate images that are highly relevant to your blog topic for the best results.
Stick to the tools in this guide and you’ll be on your way to creating more effective blog posts in no time.
About the author: Jon Torres is the CEO and founder of JonTorres.com where he provides expert advice on SEO, affiliate marketing, and website development.