It’s very much a cliché, same as the old saying ‘Content Is King’, but unfortunately, they still ring very true in the ears of SEO gurus.
When you write online, there is more to think about than just the words on the page. Whether you like it or not, people get bored, and they get bored quickly. With the instant-gratification world we now live in, people (especially internet users) don’t have the patience to give anything a chance without some visual stimulation.
With the rise of the finger-fast technology that supports all super-dooper games, images and other visually appealing programs, it is easy to see why people need flashing images and pretty fonts to grab their attention; anything less than this is not worth their time.
The success of many blogs lies in how they present themselves. First impressions are everything (another cliché I know) and it is worthwhile thinking about how people perceive your blog before they add another notch on your bounce rate statistic. How colorful is it? What is the navigation like? And most importantly, what images can they look at?
In some respects, images are what draw anybody to anything. Visual appeal should not be underestimated, and the different images used attract a variety of audiences; but how does this work?
Well firstly, let’s establish what type of images there are…
Graphs & Diagrams:
Perfect for supporting any statistical posts, as well as making an initial impression of what readers can get from a blog post, graphs tend to go hand in hand with serious and factual content. Ideally they should include some sort of findings to do with technology data or advancements in the industry, if your post doesn’t reflect this, chances are you won’t get the response you were hoping for.
Call To Actions:
By these images I mean a great, big Stop sign or a big button that says Push. Call to action images belong with posts that also portray the same thing; maybe something entitled, ‘Top Tips..’ or ‘Why Not To…’As with any writing, a warning or call to action sign gives the impression of guidance and advice, if you are rambling about your latest feelings towards the new Harry Potter movie, this won’t go down too well with your readers.
Obviously risky, but if you feel that your post is relevant and deserves to be associated with a certain brand, you need make sure of a couple of things; 1. You have permission to use that image 2. It is relevant. Sticking the logo of the infamous Apple, won’t win favors with your readers if this brand is not mentioned or your post has nothing to do with recent technology. Anything associated with brands and icons can work wonders for your popularity (and SEO) if done properly. But be careful, I’m sure you won’t want a law suit from Steve Jobs on your hands.
As to be expected, using cartoons (or LOLcats) as your image is not likely to brand that post as serious news. However for many readers, a lighthearted post relevant to their industry always goes down a treat and can become the talking point of the office. However, if stuffy writing accompanies that image, you will be seen as being as big as the joke in your picture. Keep posts associated with these sort of images fun and more personal, it not only makes a change from all the other millions of blogs out there, but they are also enjoyable to write.
Whether these are A list or Z list, celebrities have a lot of power and can also be used as a backbone for a post. Many top blogs use the rich and famous for inspiration for their blogs and what better way to support this than highlighting that person in a prime spot in the post. It not only generates interest, but analogies (as long as they make sense) often make very interesting reads.
So now we know what, but what about why?
Whatever images you use, there are still reasons as to why they are essential accessories to your writing. Eye catching images do what they say on the tin, (yes, I’m still continuing with the clichés) and in a mound of black and white, a bright, bold, image is often second to the title at grabbing a reader’s attention.
Think of the broader picture, if your blog aggregates to your social media sites, chances are people will want to read it. If they then browse your site, they remember the page they were on due to the memorable image that bought them there. Though not normally associated with navigation, images do act as return points for people that get lost within a website.
Of course, not everyone that has a blog is a world class writer. Images can take up word space but still continue to keep readers interested. It’s an old-school trick, a little bit like increasing the font size in an essay to create more pages, but the internet acts as the perfect optical illusion and in some respects the longer the post seems the more expertise you appear to have.
But ultimately, the aim for any blogger is to achieve a reaction or emotion from their readers. This is why many people use the images they do because it either pulls at heart strings or creates raucous laughter.
Whatever images you use, just make them relevant. There are no set rules, but it’s true what they say, no matter how often it’s said, a picture really does say a thousand words, and often that can save you a lot of time and decrease the chances of repetitive strain.
Jenny Pilley is the Senior Content Writer at Creare; specialists in SEO, web design, ecommerce, internet marketing, email marketing and video production.