How To Use Images In Articles
The Importance Of Using Images
With over 160 Million blogs in the world, if you want to get your message across and build a loyal following you have to really stand out from the very vast crowd.
Pictures are very powerful and ideally should be used for any writing online to add quality and interest. They make an instant impression and break up text into more manageable sections.
If you are a faced with a long post with no pictures you will be staring at two colours (background and text) and relying on the author to be particularly good at communicating their point. Images add interest and avoid eyes getting tired and bored.
Use photos and images to emphasise and explain your writing. They are nothing to be afraid of and are in fact your allies. With the rise of Social Networking site Pinterest, pictures have never been more powerful and are great for marketing if used correctly. Google love images and many readers will actually find you through image searches, if you have something that will catch their eye!
Images Don't Have To Be Photos
Most people, especially when new to writing online, automatically presume that adding images to a post means adding photos. While this is true, you are not limited to just photos...
Photos. While there are many form of images you can use, if it is your aim to be a professional online writer of any kind then your camera will have to become your best friend. Photos give wonderful insights into your life, work and adventures. We are not all born photographers, but learn as much as you can about taking high quality photos. Digital cameras are relatively cheap now as well as small enough to keep in your bag or pocket.
Quotes. Search online for famous quotes that confirm what you are saying and turn them into pictures using photo editing software. The instant visual impact of putting the text into the image adds colour and emphasises the words.
Highlight Phrases. Another way to use text in your pictures is to highlight key phrases from your article. This is particularly powerful. It shows you have something important to say and yet being in picture format stop Google accusing you of repeating yourself if you are to type the key phrase instead.
Dividers. The perfect way to separate your text into sections. You can design your divider to fit in with the overall message of your writing, adding to a professional look.
Diagrams & Charts. Help your readers visualise your words by giving them examples in picture form. Particularly useful for tutorials, statistics and leading people through step-by-step processes to aid understanding.
Using Photo Editing Software
Whatever types of images you choose to use, you will need access to some form of graphics software.
Thankfully you don't have to pay out hundreds of pounds for the latest version of Photoshop to create professional and effective pictures. There's a growing number of affordable and free photo editing software available online.
Which one you choose will depend on the computer you are using, your budget and to a lesser extent your ability, so before choosing spend a bit of time researching, particularly reading reviews and forums.
This blog post is a great list of low-to-no-cost software.
Using Text In Images
Get creative with the text to make them more interesting. Playing with fonts, colours and patterns adds even more clarity to your writing if used correctly. For example, if you are writing a children's drawing tutorial, try using a rounded font like Comic Sans and if you are writing about history using something like Old English Text would look really cool!
Finding Fonts.There are thousands, possibly millions of fonts available online. Many are free, but like with other people's images check the license for use first. I'm a bit of a font-hog and currently have over 1100, many of which I got from Font Squirrel. They feature fonts that are free to use~ even for commercial use!
Choosing a font. Fonts are great fun, but keep in mind they still need to be legible. Don't choose anything too complicated and keep the colours simple. This goes for the background as well.
Blog Layout: Where To Place Your Images
So you've written your article and created your images, now you need to put them together.
Try to keep your pictures close to the part of your post that it relates to. If an image is of particular importance and readers need to see the details, make it full sized across the width of the post, parting the text. If it is more for emphasis or is part of a step-by-step tutorial, consider making it smaller and line it up alongside the text (the right side is normally preferred as this is where most people look first).
What Are Stock Photos?
Stock Images or Photos are pictures that other people have created for you to use. They can typically be found on Stock Image websites such as iStock Photo, which have thousands of images for practically every topic you can think of. On most stock sites you will need to pay a small fee to use each picture, though sites like SXC are free.
Some More Tips On Using Images Online
Don't overdo it. Particularly if you are linking to the same site for each one.
Use Original Images. Considered an easy option, many people rely on Stock Images to add more depth to their blog articles. The fact that they are so easy to get hold of is exactly why you should try not to use them. An original image should only be found where you decide to upload it and maybe on social networks if people share it. A stock photo is already likely to be on tens, hundreds or even thousands of other sites already. This lessens the impact, makes you look like a follower not a leader and if used incorrectly, with the wrong license, could even lead to legal issues (see following point). Sometimes it will be necessary to use stock photos but try and keep them to a minimum.
Have Permission. I cannot stress this enough! If you find you do need to use images created by someone else, make sure you can use them legally. Check the license for each individual image if using a stock photo site and stick to the terms. If you want to use a photo from any other source get written permission (email or letter) and again stick to the image author's conditions. If you don't follow the rules, the owner could sue for illegal use, which can run end up costing you thousands of pounds.
Attribute each image. Whether you own the picture or not, tagging every image is good practice. It helps your search engine ranking, adds more depth to your post, gives your readers more information and when using other people's photos, gives them the recognition deserved. Every image should include:
- Author name
- Source URL
- License type