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It’s one thing to create wonderful images for your blog or ads, it’s another to know how to use them to increase engagement and keep people on your blog. Believe it or not, you can learn how to make incredible images for your site but that doesn’t mean that people will actually read your copy.
As a matter of fact, your images may be a huge distraction from your message if not handled properly.
Life or Death – The First Ten Seconds
Extensive research has shown that the first 10 seconds of a person landing on your site is critical. Within that amount of time, the reader decides whether or not it is worth being on your site or not.
The research has also indicated that people are very skeptical of your site to begin with because they have probably gone to other sites and wasted their time looking for information that was irrelevant.
Let’s face it, most of the sites on the Internet suck when it comes to delivering exactly what you’re looking for.
Vital Facts that You Need to Know About Images on Your Blog
Before we explore strategies on what types of images that you’ll need and how they should be placed, you need to know a few key things about the types of pictures you’ll need.
Fact #1 You need images of real people.
Images of people draw more attention to your blog posts. Not just images of anyone, but REAL people.
Detailed studies of eye movement on webpages indicate that images of normal people got much higher recognition than pictures of stock photography. As a matter of fact, readers completely ignored the stock photos no matter how beautiful the images were.
These studies have also revealed that no matter who the person is, whether it is a baby or a supermodel, our eyes are immediately drawn to the eyes in the photograph.
Usually, the faces at the top of a post are looked at the most and if the subject is an attractive female, the fixation is higher.
Believe it or not the only subject that seems to trump images of women’s faces are the faces of babies.
An Easy Way to Increase Engagement Using Pictures
Here’s a tip I got from reading a post on Problogger: If you have some information that you want people to remember, then place that image right at the beginning of your post.
People have a tendency to remember the first thing that they see and if it is an image it will stay in their minds longer. That means if the image has information on it that you’d like them to remember and it’s dynamic enough, they will remember you and your blog.
Fact #2 Stock photos get ignored.
It turns out that images of stock photographs get ignored and skipped over if it does not add value to your content.
So, you need to make sure that your images are highly relevant to your content.
Here are 3 guidelines to creating and using images on your site that will add to the value of the content.
- Using an image of yourself as a way to extend a personal offer or to make your message more real.
- Helping to explain a concept. (Like using images to explain how to do something.)
- Adding visuals like infographpics to make your content more interesting.
- Adding charts and graphs from credible sources to back up your data.
- To help emphasize a point.
Fact #3: Your images need to load quickly.
Ever since the Internet became a household tool, everyone and their mother knows that your images need to load fast as a chased rabbit. I remember back in the early 1990’s online web masters and SEO gurus had the 10 second rule.
If your page didn’t load up in 10 seconds or less. In an age of faster bandwidth speeds and a highly competitive online companies, the 10 second rule has become more like the 5 second rule.
Having said all that, the question of the day is, “How do you Create Images that are optimized for fast delivery.
How to Optimize Your Pictures
If you already have a program like PhotoShop or Paint’Shop Pro, you will have an optimizer, because it’s already built into the program. However, if you don’t have one of those programs, don’t fret, you can use an online optimizer.
One of the site’s that you can use is a site called Imageoptimizer. The thing I like about Imageoptimizer is that it is so easy to use.
All you have to do to use the Imageoptimizer is:
Step 1: After navigating to the site, click on choose file
Step: 2 After you click on your file, click on the picture that you want to optimize.
Step 3: Click “Open”.
Step 4: Choose your file size. There are 6 different sizes ranging from “Best Quality” (Large file) to “Very Small”.
Step 5: Click the optimize button. (Optimize Now!)
Step 6: Once you click the “Optimize Now!” button, a new page will open up and you can click the download button.
Fact #4: Make sure you use the “Alt” tag when you post your images for SEO.
Whenever you add a picture to your blog or website you will see an option to add an “Alt” tag to your image. This is what is known in web design language as an “attribute” (or in this case the “alt attribute”).
The reason why this tag is so important is because most search engine’s programs can’t look at an image and know what it is; there has to be a text representing the image.
Also, if the image on a page fails to load or takes too long to load up, you’ll see the image tag in its place. This will at least let the viewer know what image was supposed to be on the site.
When search engines scan your site they scan it using highly sophisticated programs. Even though these programs are very advanced, they won’t be able to actually see what images are on your site.
They have to rely on text that you supply them.
When you are using an html editor like Dreamweaver, the program will ask you what name to put into the ALT field.
If you are writing the code yourself, you can add the tag yourself just like the image above.
When I was putting together this post, I used the add media feature to place these pictures into my blog. This makes it super easy for anyone to add an ALT tag to their blog posts.
Step 1: Click add media in your WordPress word processor
Step 2: Upload your image into WordPress
Step 3: In the Alt Text area, type in your Alt attribute.
Step 4: Click the insert into post button.
That’s really all there is to it!
Key tasks to do when optimizing Alt tags:
- Try to use the same keywords for your images as what the pictures actually are. If you can tie other keywords from your post to your images, so much the better, but don’t over do it. (Example: If you’re writing about gold fish in your post and trying to rank for that term, then make your ALT tag=”gold fish” instead of just “fish”. However, don’t over do it with that. You only want to tag that term if it is actually a picture of a goldfish.
- Try to keep the text of your alt tag as short as possible. They are more easily indexed by the search engines, especially Google.
- Don’t use only one search term on all of the Alt tags. If you do too much of that it may seem like keyword stuffing.
Make Sure Your Images Indexed Correctly
It’s always a chore to make sure that your images get indexed properly, but it’s very important.
The reason why it is so important, is because sometimes people are looking for a subject and they can’t find what they’re looking for. Then out of sheer frustration, they start surfing images in the hope they may find the subject they are looking for.
(I know this is possible, because sometimes I do this myself.)
That’s why the Alt tags are so important. If a person is looking for a site that explains how to do a certain thing, it may be far easier to find the image first.
Some people will post online how to fix or make something using more pictures than words and their site may not be on the first 20 pages of the search engine results.
If you have your keyword in the Alt tags, they will usually wind up in search engine image results, especially if they are of a specific nature.
Fact #5 Using Images to Explain Procedures is Important
Most people online don’t like reading a lot of text, so anytime you have a subject that requires an explanation it’s better to use images.
Here are some reasons why it is important for you to use images instead of words.
- Most people don’t read over an 8th grade level. First of all, make sure your writing is simple and if you can reduce the number of words and characters in your explanation, do so.
Total percentage of U.S. adults who are unable to read an 8th grade level book 50%
Source: Statistic Brain Research
- Studies have proven that well made images that are clear and concise can deliver more information using less words – increasing your engagement to almost 67% more on your site or blog.
- Using pictures can make concepts much more memorable and easier to understand
- Pictures cut through confusion and insure that the reader clearly “gets the message” when reading accompanying text.
- Images can be understood by just about everybody. Well presented pictures cross cultural and educational barriers making your audience much wider.
Blogs that Use Images to Explain Concepts
One of the best ways to see what I saying in action is to look at some of the top bloggers on the Internet to see what they are doing.
Neil Patel – An absolute leader in SEO and blogging. Patel knows how to cut through the crap and explain concepts clearly with simple language and great graphics. His step-by-step instructions are spot on. Check out his post on How to Write Blog Posts that Rank With Google
Envatotuts+ – This is a site that has tons of great tutorials and they use pictures and graphics a lot. For example, they have free drawing lessons that show you step-by-step how to draw different subjects like animals. Each step is illustrated clearly with clarity so that you can learn how to draw. Envatoututs+ has tons of lessons on a wide variety of graphic design subjects.
Smashing Magazine – This is a site that uses a lot of clear pictures that show you how to complete a task, like design a beautiful website. Each part of their tutorial is accompanied by crystal clear photographs and illustrations that make learning the material interesting and understandable.
Recap and Conclusion
If you want to use images in a way that will help you increase engagement and retain readers you should:
- Use good, relevant pictures of people in your posts
- If you have information that you really want people to remember place it in an image at the beginning of your post. (An infographic works great!)
- Try to make your own pictures or use pictures that don’t look like stock photos
- A picture of a woman’s face or a baby’s face gets much more attention
- Optimize your pictures for SEO and fast loading
- Make sure you use the Alt tag so that you can get your picture indexed by the search engines
- Use step-by-step images to make your message or instructions clear
If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep readers engaged and on your site longer. Don’;t forget to check out some of the sites I have listed above.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section below.
If you want to get a free copy of my book Blog Profiting Secrets and 2 free reports, please click the link: Free Book and Reports HERE.