Pictures have power. Harness that power by learning how to use images to achieve maximum effect on your blog.
We all know how valuable a really good image can be. It conveys information, emotions and implications more efficiently than mere words can ever hope to – thus the old but accurate adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” With that in mind, here are a collection of strategies to help you choose and use images for the best effect when you add them to your blog posts or other content.
You want your images to look good on the page, and not grainy or blurry. Before selecting a graphic to share, make sure it’s going to be pleasing to the eye by checking for:
- Clarity – no blurry, fuzzy images, please
- Lighting – is your subject well lit and clearly visible?
- Composition – you don’t have to be an artist to tell what’s awkward or unappealing
- Good color that shows up brightly and isn’t muddy
It also helps to use fresh images each time, so you’re sharing something new.
What size should you make the image? You want people to see and enjoy it, but you don’t want the image to overwhelm the rest of the page or make it seem unbalanced. Another thing to consider is how the resolution of your image affects page load time. Many site owners don’t realize that high resolution images (measured in pixel density) create a significant increase in the time it takes to load the page. When this happens, visitors often lose patience and simply leave the site without ever enjoying the benefit of your pearls of wisdom. You don’t want that!
- A good rule of thumb is to size images for general use at 500px x 500px. You might want to go larger or smaller in certain cases, but that’s a reasonable standard for where to start when you’re thinking about images to accompany text on your blog.
- Shoot for a resolution between 72 pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi) and 96 ppi/dpi. If quality is a serious concern on a particular image, you may want to compress it to keep the detail while minimizing the size of the file.
These figures are likely to make purists begin long, boring rants about how the numbers are irrelevant and outmoded, based on obsolete technology, and point out that image quality will be controlled by the hardware used to display it, etc. That’s all true. But you have to start somewhere, right? And those guidelines are a reasonable way to make sure your picture looks okay without taking a million years to load.
Where should you put the image on the page? Anywhere you like, really. The whole point is to visually enhance your content and that can be done in a variety of ways. The look that appeals to you will be unique to a degree, and will also be affected by the color and design of the page as well as the qualities of the image itself, the other page content, the size of the screen and myriad other factors. That said, here are a few tips to keep in mind. But do remember, they’re only guidelines – you may disagree.
- Place large images in the center of the page
- When aligning left or right, make sure the image isn’t so large it dominates the text beside it
- Use an image that will be visible to visitors without scrolling down. This portion of the page is described as “above the fold,” as with newspapers. You can engage viewers and pique their interest by showing them an image, or a partial image, as soon as they arrive on the page.
Images give you access to vast resources to complement and enrich your printed content. Have fun selecting and using all sorts of photos, drawings and other graphics as you communicate your message!
Do be sure to give proper attribution to the image creators as you share their work. We’ll delve into the proper way to do that in another post.