You prefer it when blog posts have images in them. That’s not a presumption – it’s the truth.
According to social media and blogging expert Jeff Bullas, articles with images manage to accrue 94% more views than articles without images.
If you're looking at every post you create as a vital piece of content that drives your visitors further down the sales funnel (and you should be) — the role of images within them becomes clear.
If an image can explain a complex topic to a reader, they can create trust and give prospects a reason to listen to your opinion.
As well as looking great, images can:
- Create an emotional connection with your reader
- Up your blog posts’ search ranking performance
- Help your reader understand complex information
- Build credibility for your business and your website
- Give your content marketing plan substance
Do your blog pictures tell your story?
Why Are Blog Images Important?
If you asked us to sum up in one sentence why blog images are important, this is what we’d say:
Your Audience Loves Pictures!
Of course, this is a simple answer, and actually, there are a lot of different reasons. Images transform long blog posts, adding structure and creating visual stepping stones.
On top of that, Copyblogger.com states that 90 percent of the information that our brain gets is visual, and it processes that information 60,000 times faster than text.
Think of the purpose of an image, if you’re inserting images into your article to make it look nice, you’re only doing a small portion of the job.
Your audience is here to learn. Whether it’s direct or subtle, you should always try to reinforce your ideas with pictures.
65% of the population consists of visual learners
Take the Twitter page of Sketchy Medical, who create quirky, fun sketches that make complex subjects easy to understand. Here’s one about pneumonia.
To gain some context:
- The cat next to the man in the purple shows it has a catalase enzyme (helps with infection power)
- The man with lightening cape refers to a bacteria that has a ‘superantigen’ that can cause a special syndrome called toxic shock syndrome
This information is complex, especially for someone that doesn’t know anything about science or pneumonia. But it's the concept we're interested in, not the technical information.
If you work in an industry with a lot of technical jargon, could an image help explain what you're trying to say?
We prefer to have something for our restless eyes to hover over for a second. It helps a big chunk of text feel less intimidating and keeps us from straying off the page.
Below are six of the best reasons we can think of for adding high-quality images to your blog posts:
1. Offer Explanations
Ever had the feeling that something you were reading wasn’t sinking in? Whether it was a company brochure or product description, wouldn’t it have been easier to understand if there was a photo or an illustration?
Think of pictures as the gestures and facial expressions of every blog post; they give away the true meaning of what you’re saying. Blocks of text stacked on top of each other can be hard to break down, and even harder to decipher tone-wise.
A well-chosen picture can create a link to the text, clarify a description or add emotion – that’s why everyone says they’re worth a thousand words.
Even if a reader does navigate away from the page quickly, they’re more likely to absorb something, helping your message and brand stand out in their minds.
Don’t get stuck in a stock photo rut either. Stock images lack personality, and you'll have ideas about how you want your ideas to be presented.
Take a look at the text-heavy blog posts on your website. How could imagery improve them? Think about which images you’d use and why, and then add them in. Boom – you’ve just increased views of these posts by a potential 94%.
2. Harvest Data From Image Clicks
You can find out valuable information about the way people are using your website based on the images they click.
Setting up “event tracking” enables you to see which images your visitors click on, and when they did it.
You can follow their trail back through your analytics dashboard to see where they came from, where they accessed your blog post from, and which device and operating system they were using.
Why do you want to know this?
Because if you know which images visitors click on, you know the images your visitors are drawn to. You’ll also find out which images are more likely to encourage them to stay on your website, rather than disappear somewhere else.
Finally, you’ll gather vital data about the types of people visiting your website and their behaviour once they get there.
Event tracking can be quite a complex process if you don't know your way around Google Analytics, here's a twenty-minute explainer video that'll help you along the way.
3. Look Amazing!
Don’t underestimate aesthetics when planning out your next blog post. While the content you produce needs to grab your readers from the very beginning, you need to make sure there’s enough visual interest there to keep wandering eyes locked on your page.
Enter: blog images.
Well-chosen, high-quality blog images can come from a range of sources. Your images could be a mixture of:
- Your photography
- Your brand’s imagery (such as logos)
- Stock photography
- Customer-uploaded imagery
Don’t pick the first image you see. Being choosy offers you a greater selection of different types of rich imagery, and helps create a more tailored, polished finish to your blog posts. And that adds credibility — which we’ll touch on later.
Think about it. If your next blog post only had two images in it, both by the same photographer, how exciting would that look?
Compare this to the same blog post but this time with a diagram explaining your theory, a downloadable infographic and an instructor video. Isn’t that 100% more engaging? Wouldn’t you much prefer to read that one?
4. Grab Image Search Traffic
How often have you been trawling the internet for something you need: information for a presentation, a detailed pricing guide, add-ons or package deals – and you’ve found what you were looking for via Image Search?
Image Search is a valuable way to draw traffic to your website, especially as most internet users value photographs and imagery over text descriptions. 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.
All you’ve got to do to get those search engine site crawlers to find your images is include alt-text and image descriptions.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Text descriptions help index your site on search engines.
- SEO keywords in the alt-text and image descriptions are a great way to boost your site’s keyword density.
- Alt-text is essential as part of the accessibility of your site — partially-sighted and blind visitors will rely on accurate audio image descriptions built by your meta content to understand your post.
Here's an image from the HubSpot blog platform showing where you'd enter your alt text. Other platforms will have different user functionality but it's usually quite easy.
Text descriptions help with context too. If you can’t describe an image appropriately within your post, alarm bells should be ringing. It might not be appropriate, and another, better image could be used instead.
One more thing: Google loves accessibility and prefers sites that are accessible to larger groups of people (and penalises those that aren’t). Just something to think about.
5. Boost Your Credibility
According to the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, a leading research centre that focuses on persuasive technologies and consumer behaviour, an overall visual design was the “number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material.”
In English? Years of dedicated research has shown the experts at Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab that people pay more attention to great imagery, and believe that blogs with high-quality imagery are far more credible than competitors with inferior or no pictures.
Adding the right imagery to your blog won’t just make it look good, it’ll make your company look good. Customers are wise to stock imagery now. They want captivating imagery that tells a story, has the right tone and fits in well with how they feel about your brand. Boring imagery creates a disconnect and turns them away.
Think about the brands that you like. Do you follow them on Instagram? Do they have a blog? Or do they share amazing content? Think about their image, and what it is about their image that you like.
6. Improve The User Experience
According to a study by Buffer, a social media scheduling app, in 100 of the highest ranking blogs on the internet, there was at least one image for every 350 words.
That’s massive. That data should change the way we create content forever.
When you get used to adding imagery to blog posts, you’ll find that you’ll naturally feel like adding a descriptor image every 300 words or so. It’s a handy way to link paragraphs.
Your audience will thank you too. As discussed earlier in this post, images help clarify ideas and underline the tone you’re using. It’ll help them jump on-board with your message faster and encourage them to engage with your post and your brand.
The best advice – don’t count. Don’t be stingy with those images. HubSpot recommends using “...as many images as you need to in order to communicate your concepts clearly and accurately.” If you want to use one every 100 words, and it works, do it. Don’t be afraid. We believe in you!
The HubSpot blog in the mac below contains a whopping 17 images!
Let's recap, don't forget these six points if you want to make your blog images amazing!
- Explain your concept — does your image explain you're trying to say in a simpler format. If it doesn't explain it, is it worth it?
- Consider data — consider why your images are getting a lot of clicks, or certain blog posts are more popular than others.
- How do they look — your image has a purpose, but does it look good?
- Do you appear in search? — give your blogs a chance of ranking higher by including alt text.
- Are they credible — look at your images and the question, are these images reflective of who we are?