No doubt, the right photos can complement your blog posts. As a homepage or related-post thumbnail, a great image can encourage visitors to click articles. This post talks about ways to roundup media sources so you can find the best images.
Importance of Images in Posts
Here are three quotes. The first was published in 2007 while the others are from recent posts by our readers:
Images enhance posts in any number of ways including by giving posts a visual point of interest, grabbing attention (great for making your RSS feed readers stop and read), drawing people’s eye down a post beyond the first few lines, illustrating examples, giving your blog a more personal touch, engaging the emotions and senses of readers and giving posts more authority. – Darren Rowse
Reading on a screen is harder for your brain and slows down the speed of reading big time. It is nice for the eyes and brain to see an image once in a while on a site. That is why I use at least 1 image in every post. – ChatBusiness, Use images in your posts
Images, photos, screenshots, video, charts, graphs or software that can be manipulated by the reader are great for giving your blog an edge over those that use only one medium: writing.- ICantInternet, 8 Elements for Grabbing & Keeping Attention
Great Sources for Photos and Images
Finding an image for your blog post is easy. But you want readers to say “ah, that’s aperfect graphic.” A couple of my favorites teasers are:
How Tall is Your Blog’s Success?
photo by Pinkevich
How to Spot Clueless Idiotic Human Spam Comments
photo from iStock.com
Let’s look at three sources for free photos and images that can make your posts and teasers pop off the page.
One of my favorite places is Flickr, where I search everyone’s photos using the creative commons tag. A general search turns up perfect images that are usually NOT available for your article. Look for photos with attrition license, meaning we can use as long as there is a link to the member’s page for credit.
To search, type keywords based on the post or post title. Sometimes I put in unrelated or quirky words to see if the image strikes the right chord. If I see a great photo I immediately put it in my Favorites page on Flickr. I look there first before doing a new search for my latest draft.
Suppose my search was for an image in the recent post about creating a facebook page for your blog. I found a nice button-type image for FaceBook. To credit the image I usually put the member’s name as caption and his photo stream as the image link.
Go to this page to see the possible selections to download. There are 5 preset sizes:
|(75 x 75)
||(100 x 100)
||(240 x 240)
||(500 x 500)
||(512 x 512)
If you want to use the photo’s url and not download, then right click the image in the selected size to copy the link location! Don’t forget the image credit information.
Zemanta makes photo suggestions based on the post content. Although it’s installed here, I haven”t used Zemanta much lately. Probably because our theme requires hosted thumbnails on the homepage. The software can be downloaded as a browser add-on, so you don’t need a plugin. Your platform editor will pick up the functions automatically when you edit a draft. Mr. I wrote a review last year about using Zemanta to find content and pictures as you write. The functionality has grown quite a bit since then.
Because Zemanta generates a media list based on the post content, so it’s best to wait until the article is fully drafted. You can also key search words to refine the query. The search results are added to Zemanta’s image list.
For even more choices you can specify your Flickr account —- click ‘my sources’ and your photostream will be one searched for recommended images.
Tip: Demo one of your finished posts for Zemanta suggetions.
It you have a published post you want to spice up with an image, use the demo page to find the right photo. Copy the full text and use it to run the Zemanta demo and see what it generates. I did that with Mr. I’s recent post about creating a facebook fan page. The first two are from Zemanta’s default recommendations of things like logos for Twitter, WP and StumbleUpon — which weren’t appropriate for his post. I selected the second two images by keying the words ‘fan’ and ‘fan of facebook’ — Zemanta gave some more interesting images to play up the fan club aspect.
See our review about using the Apture toolbar to engage readers. Bloggers can install it using the sidebar html gadget. We use the WP plugin. One of Apture’s features allows you to search for images while editing your post or page. I think I love it! Not only does it search my favorite Flickr albums, but also you get lots of image (or video) choices from Fotopedia, Google Image Search, Yahoo Image Search, Wikimedia Commons, and Bing Image Search. The icon for inserting images appears above the WP edit window:
Clicking the icon gives this pop-up window for the photo search. Scroll arrows allow you to peruse lots and lots of images. Apparently other sites’ images are included — you can press options to check the license. e.g. I used this one from Bing. It was listed as ‘unknown’, found on a few sites like www.helphive.com :
This Fotopedia image (text over a photo background) might be a great image for a post titled “Cutting thru the FaceBook forest …”. Apture shows the license & owner info are shown with the image. This makes it easier to give the proper photo credit:
“Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial by pshab”
As you can see, depending on your post title and content you can find just the right image to spark reader interest. If you don’t use images on a regular basis, I urge you to try a few of these sources. Your reader will be pleased and hopefully click to read more!
What’s your experience with selecting and using images?