Creative Spotlight: 7 Tips for Selecting Awesome Blog Images

Jeremy Rivera

on

October 19, 2016 (Updated: October 11, 2023)

When it comes to developing blog content, selecting good images to accompany your text is one of the best practices of modern content management. The reason? Images make blog posts look better, improve readability, increase search engine traffic, and in many cases, help reduce website bounce rates. If you regularly write blog posts, here are six tips to help you ensure that your content always features awesome visuals.

1. Use Relevant Keywords to Find Images

When searching for images, get in the habit of using keywords that relate to the content of your post. Are you writing about black and white photography? If so, some relevant keywords might be “photography camera,” “photography equipment,” or “photographer.”

How about hot air ballooning in New Mexico? In that case, try your search using keywords like “hot air balloon,” “hot air balloon New Mexico,” or “hot air balloon festival New Mexico.” Whatever your topic, make sure your keywords are specific enough to target the best images, but not too specific that they overly narrow your search results.

If you ever have trouble identifying appropriate keywords, try using a keyword search tool like Google Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool.

Only Select Images Related to Your Post

As you consider potential images, make sure they relate to your content. It’s not imperative that the images be literal representations, but the connection between them, the blog text, and the headline should be clear. If you’re ever struggling to find blog images, you can gain some inspiration by doing a Google Image search to see how others have illustrated the idea.

You can also tweak your posts’ headlines to include words that have distinct imagery associated with them, like “slice,” “shatter,” and “ignite.”  It’s sometimes easier to find illustrations that relate to these words even if they don’t literally relate to your blog content.

Generate Relevant Images For Marketing With Midjourney

With the proliferation of AI assisted image creation through platforms like Midjourney, Dall-e, Adobe and more every day, it’s VERY likely you can input a creative “prompt” and create a relevant image for your post even faster than searching through “non-stock” sites and resources.

Here’s some tips to help you choose a “prompt” that will help you create a stunning instead of a stunningly stupid image from an AI image generator.

  • Define your aspect ratio so your image will fit on your post, and be sharable on socials. –ar 3:2 should work just fine
  • Choose a consistent “style” for your images, such as “flat cartoon”, “claymation” so you have some sort of theme connecting your images Check out libraries of previous prompts to get ideas
  • Aim for some sort of “concept” that’s relevant to that section of text. If it’s implying that an idea is “stupid” then perhaps a dumpster fire would support the idea.
  • You can ask for “flat cartoon style” images similar to adobe stock images
  • If you do prompt for “infographics” don’t expect the data elements to be accurate, and all of the text will be gibberish. But it may look like a graphic REPRESENTING an infographic.
  • NEVER rely on Midjourney to EFFECTIVELY generate text. It’s terrible at text, and will give you gibberish. If you REALLY want text, add part of the prompt to use “sign” or “text” or “comic” and remove the text with an editing program.

Only Select High-Quality Images

This may seem like an obvious tip, but with the abundance of low-quality images floating around the web, it’s easy to select a visual that fails to illustrate the topic of your blog post optimally. Avoid this by choosing images that are crisp, clear, authentic, and interesting. Your chosen illustrations should always be high-resolution (though not too high) and never have plain white backgrounds, poor lighting, or clashing color schemes.

Keep in mind: If your blog images aren’t high-quality, you will risk losing the blog’s credibility and your own authority as an online writer, so choose carefully.

Make Sure Images Are Sized Correctly

Although you can usually adjust the size and aspect ratio of images using a photo editor, it’s always better to select illustrations that are close to your desired proportions. Will your blog post look best with a large picture that’s in portrait orientation? Or maybe a small picture with equal dimensions?

Or maybe even an image with a width that’s much larger than its height? Try to find a great image that already fits these size specifications, if possible, so you won’t have to do lots of editing later.

Another important consideration: Image size directly relates to the speed at which your webpage loads. The average webpage visitor will abandon a page if it doesn’t load in three seconds so steer clear of very large images unless you know how to properly optimize them for the web.

Make Sure Your Images Are Visible Across Devices

These days, an increasing number of Internet users are accessing the web from mobile devices. According to The International Data Organization, an estimated two billion people worldwide will use a mobile device to surf the Internet in 2016. Even more shocking? That number will likely rise by two percent every year through 2020. For this reason, you must choose images that aren’t just clearly visible on computer screens, but also on smartphones, tablets, and more.

Cross device capability is divine
Cross device capability is divine

Ensure that you’re using the right images by selecting ones that are at least 200 pixels x 200 pixels, but not too large that they affect webpage load times, as mentioned above. Be especially careful when inserting screenshots or images with text overlays, as these are not always visible across devices. If your blogging platform lets you preview your posts on different screen sizes, take advantage of this feature before submitting your work.

Be Aware of Image Copyrights

When you’re on the hunt for illustrations, it’s tempting to pull them directly from a Google Image search. Don’t do this. Many images found on Google are copyrighted and if used illegally could land you in serious trouble. Instead, you can pay for photos through sites like Shutterstock or get them completely free (but provide attribution) through sites like Flickr Creative Commons.

If you absolutely must use Google, you can filter the search results to only display those that are “Labeled for reuse.”

You can also avoid potential copyright issues by hiring a photographer to take your photos, by taking them yourself, or by creating your own custom blog images online.

If you’re using Dall-e or Midjourney, make sure you generated the image from a Commercial level of subscription which technically give you full copyright/use of the image.

Optimizing Images for Search Engines

Once you’ve chosen awesome blog images, you still need to optimize them for search engine rankings. After all, what good are stellar visuals if they don’t help you attract readers? Start this process by giving your illustrations accurate and keyword-rich file names. This means that the default “some number.jpeg” name won’t cut it. Always rename your images based on what you want them to rank for and use hyphens between words.

Once you’ve uploaded your image to a blogging platform, there are a few more SEO optimization steps to take:

  • Add Alt text: The Alt text, or alternate text, is what appears in place of your image if it doesn’t load. The Alt text should accurately describe your image and be keyword-rich.
  • Use captions: Captions appear directly below images and are a great place to describe the picture or give credit.
  • Place images strategically: To improve readability, place images appropriately throughout the text. They don’t just have to appear at the top.

Choosing the best blog images is crucial for the success of your blog. By following these six tips you’ll not only select images that look awesome, but also ones that will help your blog posts perform better from a reader and search engine perspective.

Author Image - Jeremy Rivera
Jeremy Rivera

With over 17+ years in SEO, Jeremy Rivera has worked with enterprise level companies and literally hundreds of small businesses in dozens of industries. His skills have been used at nationally recognized SEO SaaS companies, SEO agencies and multiple years of running his own freelance consulting business. He specializes in building SEO forecasting models, understanding how data and software can augment SEO campaigns and how to help overcome technical SEO challenges to supercharge SEO outcomes.

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