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6 Tips for Adding Images to Online Articles

Updated on June 24, 2013


Many times, you'll see online articles which are just stack of words, going endlessly, paragraph after paragraph. Compare these with the rich looking articles containing high quality images. Off course, the latter look far more appealing. But unless you're writing some kind of illustration or "how to" online article, it's tough to get an apt image.

Consider as an example, an article giving some relationship advice, or suggestions for improving management skills. Off course, there are a lot of stock images available online, but they may be heavy on your budget, or you might not find the apt one. Worse still, you just can't think of an image.

Here are some tips for those who are facing a hard time with Image Hunt for their online articles.

Symbolic Sketch for my hub


Tip #1 - Out of the box thinking - symbolic representation

Add some good looking symbolic representation, just think out of the box. For instance, in my hub Facade of Simplicity, I discussed some people whom I've seen trying to fake their weaknesses as Simplicity. After all I couldn't ask one of the simplicity fakers to pose for the camera. Okay, I know that was a bad joke.

It's just that I didn't know what to do with the photo capsule. Finally, I decided to give a symbolic representation of such people, who simply close their eyes and refuse to see - let alone accept - their faults. Thus, I used a sketch by mom - an abstract of a woman with closed eyes.

You could search for your symbol's image at Pixabay / wikipedia commons.

Word of advice - If you think you symbol is too vaguely related, or you're doubtful whether people will relate to the association you've thought of, use the captions to highlight the link between the image and your words.

An Apt Illustration


RSS Logo as an apt Graphic


Tip #2 - Try some Related/Representing logo

If you write about technology, things become more difficult. Once I chose to write about RSS feed. Now I really didn't want to take a screenshot of xml fileā€¦ so I thought, how about the RSS logo? I pasted some text on the illustration of the logo and the result was satisfactory - it gave the reader a perfect glimpse of the content.

Word of caution - such a perfect glimpse can often shoo away people who are not interested in the topic - but honesty is the best practice - 'Perfect Glimpse' in form of image and good summary will help to lower your bounce rate. So don't get carried away by the short term benefits of dishonestly unrelated but attractive hub images.

Title Stylised by Inkscape


Tip #3 - Stylish Title of Online Article

Okay, so this is when everything else has failed. Your hub is not a part of series, it's not technical and hell, there is no relative thing which can be graphically expressed. Planning to leave the photo capsule empty? Wait, I still have a solution. Just use the title of your hub - only, make it a little stylish. Attach a tag line - some punch line from your hub if you can think of one, and choose a bright eye catching background.

Word of Resourcefulness If you don't have a lot of time, use word art by powerpoint, or something similar to simply stylise your text. If you want to kill some time on quality text styling, then go ahead and download Inkscape - the free vector drawing program. There are lot of tutorials on how to stylise text using Inkscape.

Unique for Your Column


Tip #4 - Common Column Image

If your online article is part of a series or a column - then a common image for consistent representation is the way to go. These common image's thumbnail really help to make your hubs look organised on your profile page or on the latest/best/hot links.

HubPages Specific - Word of Information (FYI) Not all your hubs are displayed on the profile page. You can choose 4-5 hubs as featured hubs, and rest of the displayed hubs have to survive the label of "Idle hubs". So use the latest/best/hot links, if you want your friends/family etc to take a look at all your work.

3d Typography - Right Balance of Lights & Shadows


Tip #5 - Bring on some 3d Typography

If you think your great work deserves more than just little styling, go ahead - get the great shadows and lighting, bring on the textures - welcome to the world of 3d Typography. Text could be your title, or something related - any representation you want to give your hub - and do it in 3d.

These days even XY co-ordinates want to be displayed in 3d. Okay, I know that line could be a potential bouncer for many.

The point is, adding this extra dimension of attractiveness with 3d Typography would mean a lot to the overall presentation of the hub. And who knows, the extra dimension in typography might add extra dimension to your imagination - you could think of some relative objects apart from your 3d text to be added to your 3d scene.

Word of Third Dimension I'm a great fan of open source. And as far as 3d is concerned - Blender is the word. Download it for free - there are numerous free tutorials too. Actually I made a few myself, but they were for an old version, I'm planning to update them. I'll share when I'm done, but that could be a long while, and you don't have to wait - the stuff available right now is pretty good.

One over the other

The background image was original work - The story title acts like a watermark.
The background image was original work - The story title acts like a watermark. | Source
Clip-arts from Wikipedia. 3d Text was created by me
Clip-arts from Wikipedia. 3d Text was created by me | Source
Shining text with a shining Arrow
Shining text with a shining Arrow | Source

Tip #6 - Merge and Rule - Protect without Watermarks

Divide and rule is a caveman technique - modern world is all about mergers. My sense of humour is hopeless.

Just merge the above two sections - title and symbolic images - to create great looking representative graphics.

Word of Bonus The additional advantage is, any original image you use becomes automatically protected because of your text insertion - watermark is not required.

Word of Conclusion

As writers on HubPages, we're committed to good writing, but these graphics with their potential of thousand words - and the incalculable loss their absence can cause - can really be a headache. So whenever you're frustrated with the empty photo capsule, don't forget that you're not alone. And don't forget the subscription* given by this hub. (Read the section Some Non Graphical below for better understanding of this subscription)

Happy Graphical Hubbing.

Happy Graphical Hubbing - Keep Smiling

Some Nongraphical Humor

The HubPages weekly of the week prior to original composition of this article was quite graphical. Okay, that's the incorrect word. Not syntactically incorrect, but yeah semantically it's not a graphic of clarity. Enough of this beating around the graphic. It wasn't exactly graphical - didn't include more graphics than other mails, but it talked a lot about graphics. They suggested great ideas for non-artists - doodles, graphs and hey, the stick figures were cool. After all a picture is worth a thousand words.

But as writers, we know that 1000 words are sometimes easier to write than searching for an apt image. It's quite possible that, you can't think of an appropriate stick figure, let alone drawing without breaking the pencil (in frustration off course, all of us can draw a circle without breaking a pencil - at least the symbol of the circle ;) ) And then there are graphs. May be your online article is not about progress or comparison (Or worse, may be you don't want to show the correct picture in first glimpse!)

So you can't find a related image. And you are stuck. And the article is all nicely complete with all the modules arranged. And the photo capsule is actually mocking you. And you don't know what to do. And this is what has happened to me alas, so many times.

Obviously, one would not want to miss this opportunity the photo capsule offers. A good image in the feed of hubbers drawing their attention, a good thumbnail stopping your profile viewers in their tracks, a more attractive looking link when shared in Social Networks and so on. (Hey, Facebook is all about faces, a link without a face (thumbnail) looks like a spoilt case of spam posting hacked account)

For all of my fellow hubbers suffering from graphobia (symptoms listed above), I've some great doses of my new medicine GraphiCure. The medicine is to be taken, or rather read all at once, and stored in the upper most floor - your head - not necessarily cool place. Then you may summon it as desired, in bits and pieces - re-intake of the medicine a.k.a reading this hub again is also perfectly allowed. There are no side effects.


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