When it comes to posts, what kind of images and/or graphics do you find most appealing? What makes you want to share a post across your social networks? Take a minute to think about it. For me, not only does the topic have to interest me but the images and/or graphics have to grab my attention! There are many things that contribute to a great image/graphic including: subject, size, proportions, the inclusion of text (when appropriate), exposure, clarity, perspective, vibrance, and color palette. I try to keep all of these things in mind when drafting my own posts. Writing comes naturally to me and while photographs and graphic design may too, they still take me longer to prepare and finalize. It's definitely worth it but let me tell you why.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE IMAGES/GRAPHICS IN YOUR BLOG POSTS
- Have you ever heard the saying "putting a face to the voice"? In my late teen years, I spent time behind a desk as a receptionist answering phone calls. I would talk with our sales team over the phone on a frequent basis. It wasn't until I met them in person that I felt comfortable. It was more personal and from then on it was easier to build individual relationships with each sales person. In no time at all, we were making jokes, shooting the sh#@, and having more productive conversations. And all because I got the chance to put a face to the voice! Now, try to think of an image/graphic in relation to that saying. It's easier to feel closer to the author when they provide a photograph or graphic that relates to their topic. Their post becomes more relatable, interesting, and personal. It can even make you feel good that they trust you as a reader. It's putting an image to the text!
- Have you ever seen a picture and it instantly changed your mood? Yes? That's because images evoke emotions. Whether they are good or bad, you'll never forget that image right? This is not a good thing; it's a GREAT thing! You've just become memorable to someone! This is also one of the biggest reasons why I decide to share a post with someone.
- People often look for an image or graphic on a website before they decide to read a post. I am one of these people. What can I say, I like to be visually stimulated! It gets me excited to read!
- We are only so good at imagining things. Without an image or graphic, are we ever really seeing the whole picture (pun intended)? Images and graphics bring clarity to text. For example, a post starts off with: I bought my toddler the cutest vintage navy blue and white romper… How much more interesting would it be to see a picture of an adorable tot modeling her new outfit? Accessories and a BIG smile included.
- If you are interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you'll be pleased to know that images and graphics can help your page rank. In online searches, images and graphics with relative text can be found easier than ones that contain no text at all. Something to think about. A great post on this subject is: How to Optimize Images for better Search Engine Rankings.
- Images and graphics are a great way to separate text, use up space, give your reader's eyes a break, and keep your post from looking repetitive. Word after word after word after word gets old fast! Try to avoid giving your readers reason to blow their brains out. Just an idea; I'm just sayin'!
BENEFITS OF USING BUTTONS IN YOUR BLOG POSTS
Now that we've covered the importance of images/graphics in a post, let's talk buttons! A button is a small image or graphic usually square in shape and can be either a clickable link or a fixed object (like the one at the top of this post). They are often confused with thumbnails. The definition of a thumbnail according to Wikipedia:
A reduced-size version of a picture. Thumbnails are ideally implemented on web pages as separate, smaller copies of the original image, in part because one purpose of a thumbnail image on a web page is to reduce bandwidth and download time.
The main difference between thumbnails and buttons is that buttons can be customized (designed using software such as Adobe Photoshop, Elements, and Illustrator or online editing programs like PicMonkey) where as thumbnails are usually generated without the option to modify.
Getting back to buttons now. In my opinion buttons should be no larger than 300 x 300 px wide. They should contain crisp, clear, and contrasting elements (light text on dark backgrounds and dark text on light backgrounds), properly exposed images (if you decide to use any) and, most importantly, include your url address. Some great benefits of using buttons in your posts are:
- They make excellent pins (for those of you on Pinterest)
- They can be used as an introduction to your posts
- They are perfect for link ups, blog hops, photo challenges, etc.
- They don't take up a lot of space so people may be more apt to display them on their websites (great exposure for you)
- They are a wonderful representation of your personal design style, writing, and photography (sort of an alternative to a digital signature)
Some examples of buttons I've used in the past are below:
Now before I can leave you to mull these tips over, the answer to my post title is “MOST DEFINITELY”! Yes, images/graphics are extremely important when it comes to blog posts!
If you missed my previous post, Simple and Inexpensive Toys are sometimes the Best Kind, I hope you’ll check it out! Also, I just published a post on The Blog Hangout, Communities on Google+ (are you reading the guidelines). If you are unfamiliar with communities on Google+, than this is definitely a must read!