Images are vitally important for creating engaging blog content. They can increase credibility, assist in education, drive users to calls to action, present information, you name it! In fact, Jeff Bullas says that articles with images get 94% more total views than those without! That's a pretty big sign that images are a NECESSITY for any blog.
That being said, imagery is a tool. And tools can be used incorrectly. There are several ways bloggers are misusing their imagery... and it's killing their results!
Here are three ways images are actually hurting your content:
1. Having too many. Unfortunately more is not all ways better.
Have you ever found a recipe that looks amazing amazing on Pinterest, went to the blog, and had to scroll through TWENTY images of someone stirring a bowl before finding the actual recipe?! Personally, it drives me crazy - and this is coming from a photographer! The food blogger had an opportunity to use a few images to help describe how the dish was made or make the finished dish look irresistible. Instead they used ALL the images and caused immense user frustration... not to mention increased page load times!
Curating your images so that they reflect the needs of your target audience is KEY. Ask yourself is this image helping support my content? Is this image saying something different than the ones I've already used? Does this image assist the user in any way? In other words, always make sure your images are serving a purpose.
Don't include images because they mean something to YOU, include them because they mean something to your AUDIENCE.
2. Not sizing for retina. This is killing your credibility.
When they are not sized correctly, tac-sharp images are looking out of focus on a retina screen.
Chances are that if you are finding this post, you are engaged in some part of the creative market. And creative entrepreneurs care about aesthetics. The sad truth is that if your imagery is blurry, customers are a lot more likely to see your service or product as inferieor to someone who has their imagery together.
So why not just keep the images as big as they are photographed? Good question.
Keeping the image as small as possible helps with page load speed, and page load speed is a VERY big deal. According to Kissmetrics, 47 percent of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40 percent of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds.
There is a balance that needs to be struck when it comes to image size. Images need to be big enough to support retina screens but not any bigger than that!
Don't fret, it's not too difficult! Here is what you need to do:
- Determine what dimension in pixels your image needs to display as. If it's the same size as your blog, determine the pixel width of your blog. If not, a simple screen shot can tell you the size you ultimately want the image to show up as.
- Upload an image that is double the needed display size. If you want the image to show up as 200px by 200px, then the image you upload will need to be 400px by 400px.
- If your website does not automatically size the images to display correctly (i.e. doubling the image size, doubles the viewing size), you may need to adjust your CSS or add a plugin to do this for you.
- That's it!
3. Not using key word rich naming. Help Google help you.
Google loves images. More specifically, Google loves images that are optimized for quality, page load speed, and that have rich, non-repetitive descriptions.
Ideally you should be adding a unique title, alt text, and description to each of your images. If that is too daunting, at least make sure that you have unique and descriptive alt text. Google cannot see images in the way that we do, so it needs alt text to determine what the photograph is about. Ultimately Google wants to get the right content in front of the right audience and alt text is a very important part of how they determine who should see your page or who should see your image.
A good rule of thumb is to describe your image in the way that you would want it to appear on Pinterest. Use common language, key words, and make it unique!