While quality content and solid writing are integral to blog success, effectively using images and videos in your blog entries is a fantastic way to create memorable entries. If you are after “likes” and increased blog traffic, then read on for savvy ways to maximize the visual and interactive impact of your site.
1. Stay On Message
A well-chosen image that directly references the text in which it is anchored helps to drive home a point, leave the reader with a visual memory to connect to your blog (since we don’t tend to recall long blocks of text), and illustrate your content. Humans are visual creatures, after all, and an interface that provides colors and even a sense of texture sparks our interest and curiosity.
2. Visual Punctuation
A simple way to offset the central point of your blog post is to pair it directly with an image, isolating them together. This creates a one-two punch for readers to get directly to your point, and stop to engage further with that point. When readers scan a long series of paragraphs, especially on a computer screen, they usually itch for a distraction every six to ten paragraphs. Make that “distraction” an opportunity to enrich your content with a photograph. This way, readers stop, take in the image, and return to the post without growing bored and clicking on to the next site.
3. Nuts & Bolts
The best place to embed your photograph is early in the blog post, and then to space others out evenly afterwards. Remember that less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers with too much visual stimulation and downplay the importance of what you have to say. Watch your image sizes, too. A good rule of thumb is to keep your image to about a third of the width of your paragraphs.
Of course, the quality and topical relevance of the photographs you use is paramount. If you dabble in photography yourself, or create your own concept illustrations, your readers will likely appreciate this personalized touch. Another great idea is to use screen shots, especially if you blog about tech issues. Lastly, the internet is rife with places to find memorable (and free!) images. Browse stock footage or check out the thousands of open source images available at Flickr. Since images also assist with search engine optimization, you might want to familiarize yourself with these helpful tips before you post.
Lastly, be polite and give credit where credit is due. Even if you obtain an image for free, attribution to the original site or creator is standard web etiquette.
Embedded videos can provide even more user engagement with your blog. Because videos stimulate multiple senses, they connect with readers even more than images. However, you must do your homework beforehand and be sure to create a video that is highly relevant to your target niche. A how-to, situational illustration, or animated demonstration will help to highlight your written content and provide an opportunity for further inquiry. Including videos in your blog will also encourage visitors to browse longer, as they scan the writing, pause to watch, and possibly follow further links provided in the video itself.
5. Easy Sharing
A quality video can become the calling card to your blog as readers share or re-blog it themselves. Be prepared for this by creating a video that is ready to be embedded and shared instantly. You may want to familiarize yourself with the basics of popular video site YouTube when getting started. Quality content will wow your readers, bring return visitors, and include the bonus of drawing new traffic.
As you can see, the more opportunities a reader has to interact with your blog, the better. Impress them and get them to stick around with an artful and targeted use of photographs and video that enhance your content while providing a memorable web experience.