Most Bloggers Forget This Simple Rule. Do You?

By Daniel Scocco

cameraWhen I wrote “most bloggers” in the title, I was including myself. In fact I forget this rule 80% of the time probably. Want to know what rule I am taking about? It is this one:

Include one image on each blog post you publish.

This rule is important for a couple of reasons. First of all adding images to your blog posts will help you capture the attention of distracted readers and encourage them to read your post.

Second, having images around will improve the design of your blog and make it more appealing.

Third, images can be a good source of search engine traffic, especially every post you publish has one (i.e., over time the combined traffic you’ll get for your images will add up).

So why do most bloggers forget this simple rule? Probably because they get lazy over time. That is my case at least. The solution is to force yourself to add those images initially, until you develop the habit.

Check out this post if you don’t know where to find images for your blog. I mention one paid and two free sources there, so money is not an excuse.

Monetize Your Site




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28 Responses to “Most Bloggers Forget This Simple Rule. Do You?”

  • Mary Hunter

    Does video count?

    Or if you post video, should you still stick an image in there too?

    Sometimes I’ll post a video clip and several hundred words of text and not include an image.

    Usually, though, I try to include at least one image in every post. I find this can really help break up the text on longer posts and make them more readable.

    Mary

  • Daniel Scocco

    I think if you are using video then having an image too is not necessary.

  • Gary Arndt

    Actually, putting an image for the sake of an image can do more harm than good. Studies have shown that only image which convey some sort of information actually draw the users attention.

    The photo of the camera you use in this post is just filler. It does nothing. It wasn’t taken by you and is just a random stock image.

    Check out this study of the use of generic images: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/study-shows-people-ignore-generic-photos-online/

    • Dieter

      Yeah, I had the same idea. “What’s this camera doing here? Oh, it’s Daniel telling us to include pictures but then in another way”. You only understand the picture by reading the text. Without the text, maybe Daniel is selling his camera or wants to write about photography. It makes a worse impression than no picture.

      Also, Daniel, I believe in your case there is already so much space consumed by your blog periphery that an included picture leaves hardly any space for the article. Look at the bold case instruction: it spans about 15% of the screen breadth.

      Pictures work in two senses:
      – when adding part of the story in an image
      – when relieving from too much reading

      I do include video or pictures in my blog, whenever they provide added value.

  • mohsin

    Well said Daniel, but adding images hinders my Adsense CTR 😉
    Atleast this is what I think, what’s your opinion?

    • Daniel Scocco

      I think you just need to position the image effectively to make sure it will not affect the CTR on ads.

  • Alexandra

    Sound advice Daniel. Right from the start of my blog – one year ago – I have made it a rule to always include at least one selfmade photo or drawing relating to the post subject.

    Just like Mary above I do think images make a (long) text more readable. I also think that they may entice people to start reading a longer text in the first place 😉

  • Ishan

    I always make sure to include images in blog posts. In fact, I look for a related image first and then write complete post.
    And maybe that’s the reason Google Images sends a lot of traffic to me.
    Another thing that many bloggers forget is:

    Adding alt tags to images

    A good alt tag can help increase traffic from Google Images a bit. For example, my one post got lot of traffic in 2009 because it had an image of a pillar in it that had alt tag “Pillar”. It remained on first page for search “pillar” and got good traffic.

    • GrimCris

      Alt tag can be auto-completed by the SEO Friendly Images plugin. Just try it! 😀

      Of course, this plugin will put the title of the article on the alt tag. But is better than nothing.

  • HP van Duuren

    Thanks for your post,

    I frequently write about Photography on my Digital Camera Ideas Blog, I am also currently working on a Stock Photo Catalogue so I might use some of my own Stock Photo’s in the future.

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
    HP

  • Samir@Indihow

    Excellent advice! I personally make it a point to include an image for each of my posts. In fact Image Searches have been sending me over 50% of my total traffic in under 7 months of starting the blog!

  • Phil

    Awesome post, I always make sure my articles have at least one image. But if i’m trying to demonstrate something with step by step instructions I usually use a lot of screen shotted images to make life easier for the reader.

  • Scott Hampton

    I don’t forget the simple rule, I just break it.

    There are several reasons why I don’t. One is that it I can’t always find a suitable image for my posts. Another is that the time doing a thorough photo search isn’t realistic. I’m not talking about searching by keyword (Thanksgiving, hot chick, money…) and going through 38,000 shots, but a real, targeted search where the hero shot wins (I come from a design, advertising, and photography background). Yet another reason is stylistic. I prefer to have a consistent theme throughout.

    Images are important (and I’m a photographer that takes many of my own shots), but I don’t want to just jam a photo in there for the sake of having one.

    Sure, I’m the oddball here, but it’s OK.

  • Melyssa

    Thanks for the tip. I enjoy seeing pictures on blogs I read, so I try to incorporate them. But now I know to do it on ALL blog posts.

  • Carolee a.ka. Blogging Biz Mom

    And I believe I read somewhere that if you use keywords when you name your images they are picked up better by the Search engines than non keyword names.

    Anyone know if this a fact?

  • Adam Mello

    I agree Daniel, with so many blogs out there it is not enough to have just a great content, you need to attract your visitors to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Of course the content is always the most important reason why visitors reading your posts, but to make your blog more attractive through great template, wonderful pictures and outstanding videos is surely a great way how to make your blog a place to return again and again.

  • zaki alakhdar

    No, for me I nearly never forget it although I usually suffer of oblivion!!, but I some times can`t find a suitable image for some posts, so you will find some posts without images.

    however, your blog posts is very very attractive and don`t need images to be good, unlike my blog posts.

  • zaki alakhdar

    I have an important quastion please, are you (or any one) need to add images for all old posts that have not images? or correct any other mistakes such as text format? what you advice me? for I have review all my posts for several times.

  • Davina K. Brewer

    I know this rule, really believe in using pictures in blog posts. Pictures tell a story. They break up the monotony of all text. People read headlines, captions, pictures as they scan an article. It’s become sort of a thing for me to try to find a photo, comic or video that’s 1) on point to my post and 2) funny or amusing. Think it adds something extra, plus says something about me as a blogger. FWIW.

  • Marc

    @Ishan makes a great point above about using the ALT tag to drive search engine traffic.

    Two related rules for images are:

    1) Be sure you have permission to use the image. It’s a good assumption that any photo on the web is covered by copyright, i.e., you need permission from the creator to use them (which is often easy to get, especially from other bloggers). However, there are plenty of free and inexpensive sources, such as the massive collection of photos covered by Creative Commons licenses in Flickr (note that some of the photos are not licensed for commercial use, so a for-profit blog would be an unacceptable use of such photos).

    2) Always give proper credit for photos. For example, if you are using a photo from the Creative Commons’ licensed photos on Flickr, give proper credit by attaching a caption to the photo or putting a footnote in the blog post. I always put a footnote saying something like “Photo of [subject] from Flickr user [user], used subject to a Creative Commons license”, with links to the photo page, the user page, and the CC license. In addition, it’s good practice to send an e-mail to the photographer, as some people like to know when their photos are used.

  • Dean Saliba

    Oooooh I very rarely put images into my posts. But this is a decision I have made, rather than me merely forgetting.

  • jason

    I think that images are great, but many blogs also do well without them, so I really do think they are more of an artistic embellishment than something extremely necessary for a blog.

  • Winning Ideas

    I couldn’t agree more with Daniel.
    Pictures speak thousands words. What’s important is pick a picture which beautifully integrates with your blog post. It shouldn’t stand apart as an image but should sink in the post.
    I assume that most of the bloggers are bit artistic as well 🙂

  • Avdi Grimm

    I chose a blog template where the posts just don’t look quite right without an image. For better or for worse, this has forced me to find an image for each post. It’s a mixed blessing: On the one hand, it has definitely served to make the blog more attractive. On the other, the search for an appropriate, good-looking, acceptably-licensed image for each post is usually my least favorite part of the publishing process.

  • Manuel Ignacio López Quintero

    I know it is essential to use an image in a post. But for those who are using Blogger is dangerous because we only have 1GB limit.

    Still, I’ll take your warning and will place the image in the middle of text.

  • Christian Guico

    If I can find a right and the most suiting image for a short blog post then I leave it as it is but I make sure its good for skimming so readers will still get the essence of the blog post even without an image.

    I’ve known some of these free sources and the most famous one which is the iStockphoto before I start blogging and I browse of the images they got and yes they are really high quality. But of-course there was a price. 😀

  • zoop

    I could not agree more with this!

    I nearly always forget to insert an image – now I tend to focus on websites or products so I just take a snapshot of the site and insert it

    it makes the page look nicer and allows everything to flow smoother!

  • Alan @ Work From Home

    Good points here, Daniel. I’m not sure where I stand on using an image for every single blog post. I guess it depends on what message I’m trying to convey, or how relevant the image is to the post content.

    I’m probably averaging at about 25% for using images in posts. Most of the time they’re images I took myself, and I reference the photo in my post introduction.

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