Why images on your blog are important

So, you’ve written a cracking blog post. It says everything you want it to, the highs, the lows, emotions shared and you know it’s one of your better posts.

Excellent. So now you can go and post it. Then share it for all to see.
But stop.
Is there a way you can make your already brilliant blog post even better?

Well, the simple answer is yes.

I’d like you to consider images. There are plenty of blogs out there who just use words, or just images, but there are a number of reasons why images are becoming important on wordy blogs. We all want our blogged shared so as to attract new and keep existing readers, and if you think about the ways we do that – via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even Pinterest, more and more often we see images attached to the posts that have been shared.

A striking image can be the difference between a reader clicking your blog or the one above it.

You might know that The Adoption Social is on Pinterest. We have a pinboard for each themed week of the Weekly Adoption Shout, and we pin the blogs of those who take part. To do this, there must be an image on those blogs that can be pinned. You’ll be able to tell from our pinboards that some of our bloggers don’t use many images, because the only image we’ve able to pin is our Weekly Adoption Shout Out badge on several sites. This is great advertising for The Adoption Social, but it doesn’t make those blogs stand out.Images 1

Another reason to consider images is to break up your site a little bit. Many of us use the same themes on our blogs, and even with some personalisation, they do still look pretty samey. Photos will make your blog stand apart from others with the same theme.

And do you know what? They just add a bit more interest and bring your writing to life.

If you use your images on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ too, hopefully you’ll be able to develop something of a style, and people will be able to look at any of those tools and know whether any given post is yours or not.

HandsAmongst the adoption blogging community, particularly amongst adoptive parent bloggers, there is concern over safety. That’s natural, some of our children are at risk of being found, some, well, you just want to protect their identities. This is why it’s important to think creatively about your images. They don’t have to be of your children’s faces…I’d discourage anyone from doing that unless you know exactly who is looking at those photos. But start thinking about taking pictures that show what your child is doing without showing them. Focus and zoom in on busy hands, backs of heads as they look out at something or scuffed trainers next to your own feet. There are many ways you can do this. Photograph what they’re doing or playing with, not them doing it or playing with it.

If you’re writing about school, what about taking a photo of their book bag and school shoes? If it’s a post about their favourite pastime – what about a photo of their drawings, favourite books, or their cycle helmet hanging off their bike?Big Ben

If you’re writing about a holiday, or a day out – how about a some nice landscapes, a funky sign, your clotted cream tea or even a landmark – holiday landmarks show where you’ve been, not where you live so aren’t as risky as local places.

Sometimes, the only appropriate photo you can find will feature your children or a local landmark. Don’t automatically dismiss it as unsuitable, because there are ways of disguising and obscuring their faces and other objects. See our post about pixelating and distorting images here.

I appreciate that we’re not all designers. We have something to say and we want to get it out there, but there’s no reason that we can’t develop our blogs to become more pleasing to the eye, as well as interesting to read.

Don’t worry if your photography skills aren’t top notch, or you don’t have a professional camera. A camera-phone works just as well for small images on your blog, and there is free software out there to improve your photos. See our post about Instagram here, and consider checking out the free online editing tool Pic Monkey at www.picmonkey.com.

Just have some fun playing with images and see what works on your own blog – enjoy!

A quick word on copyright:
We’ll touch on copyright at a later date, but if this is something you are worried about you can very easily add your blog name over your image as a watermark in Pic Monkey – similar to the top image in this post, but in more subtle colours and perhaps smaller. My suggestion would be to put the watermark over the middle of the image so it can’t be cropped off and used without your consent. And be sure that if you use someone else’s images on YOUR blog, get their express written permission first, unless you are buying that image and permission from a stock photography website and have proof you can use the image.

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