Sunday, July 28, 2013

Adding Pictures/Images to Your Blog

Adding Pictures/Images to your Blog

Camera for taking blog pictures
How to Add Pictures to Your Blog
Public domain image courtesy of Mohylek

I like to include at least one picture with each blog post.  Pictures make your posts more interesting to read and help get readers engaged.  Search engines also prefer posts with pictures- your blog will be listed higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) if you include pictures.  Some people search for images in Google- one of my blog pages has an image that shows up as the top listing in the first page of search results for the image.  The top ranking images are included on the first page of search results even for "normal" Google searches- so a good image can get you lots of traffic.

Some previews of your blog will include a thumbnail of your first picture- another reason to include a picture in your blog posts.

Some blog posts call for a lot of pictures.  For example, if you are writing step-by-step instructions, you may want to include a picture for each step.  Other blog posts do not really call for a picture at all- for example this one.  If your blog post does bring to mind any obvious pictures, pick one that generally suits your topic.  As I am writing this blog post about adding pictures, a picture of a camera comes to mind as a good general picture to use to add interest.

So how do you get pictures to use in your blog?

Using Free Pictures/Images for your Blog

There are 2 ways to get free pictures for your blog.  One is to take pictures yourself, which we'll cover later.  The other is to find free pictures on the Internet to use in your blog.  There is a right way and a wrong way to go about getting free pictures on the internet.  An example of the wrong way to get pictures for your blog is:

  • Search Google for images on the topic you want
  • Find a cool image on the internet and download it
  • Post it to you blog

What's wrong with this?  The images you find this way are likely copyrighted images.  If you put one of these on your blog without permission, you'll be in violation of Federal copyright laws.  What will happen if you do this?  Maybe nothing.  Maybe the owner will contact you and ask you to remove it.  Maybe the owner will file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint with Google and get your blog deindexed from search results- that would be devastating.

Instead of taking your chances using stolen images, you can easily get images with proper permission to post on your blog.  Many of these images require proper attribution- you'll need to give the image owner credit, for example "image courtesy of OWNER".  The best way to handle image attribution is in the caption directly below each image where it is used.

Some free images have restrictions, such as you cannot modify the image or you cannot sell the image.  Some images have agreements that if you modify the image you have to give it away and cannot sell it.  Some images are Public Domain and have no restrictions on use.

I have found lots of high quality free images, and the restrictions and requirements for using them are pretty easy to deal with once you have done it a few times.  I keep track of where every image I use comes from and site the source in my blog.  It is much easier to do this as you go than go back later and try to figure out where your images came from!

Where to Get Free Pictures/Images for your Blog

You can search the internet for "free images" and find lots of possibilities.  Here are my favorite sources to get legal free images for blogs:

Wikimedia Commons.  Wikimedia Commons is where the images used in Wikipedia come from, and you can use them too.  There are many high quality images on Wikimedia commons and you can search for the topic you want.  Make sure to check the license agreement for each image before you use it and include the proper attribution in your blog post.  When using Wikimedia Commons images, I include a link to the Wikimedia Commons page that is the source of the image.  That way I can easily prove that I have the right to use the image on my blog if it is ever challenged.  From the main Wikimedia Commons page, click on images to start searching the images library.

Creative Commons.  Creative Commons has a library of images and other works that you can legally use on your website or blog.  FreeDigitalPhotos has lots of stock images you can download and use free on your blog.  Some images are free in smaller sizes, and may be purchased in larger sizes.  Again, make sure you include the proper attribution for images on your blog.

MorgueFile.  Morguefile has free stock images you can use on your blog or website with few restrictions.  Some of the free images are high quality and high resolution.    The site also has databases of images that can be purchased or licensed.

Taking your own Pictures for your Blog

I would say more than 90% of the images I use on my blogs are pictures that I take myself.  This has several advantages.  One is the the ownership of the image is clear- it's mine.  Another advantage of using pictures that you take yourself is that this serves as a sort of filter.  If you are writing blogs about topics you have your own pictures to support, this is a sign that you are qualified to write about the topic.  If you find yourself writing about a topic that you have no pictures to support and cannot take your own pictures, ask yourself if you really know enough about the topic to publish a credible blog post.

You don't need expensive equipment to take your own pictures for a blog- a cell phone camera works fine.  The main requirement is the your pictures are clear and not blurry. Advertisers, and readers, do not like blurry pictures on a blog.

The pictures you take do not need to be super high resolution.  The main benefit of high resolution photos is that you can zoom in.  Photos on a computer monitor that are about 1Mb filesize are adequate for blogs as long as they are clear.  One mistake I see bloggers make when working with their own pictures is not cropping them enough.  You can find lots of examples where the item of interest is surrounded by lots of extraneous stuff- crop your pictures so the item of interest is obvious and takes up most of the area of the image that you post in your blog.

When I use my own pictures on my blogs, I give myself attribution.  This makes it clear that the images are my own and that I have the right to use them.

Pro Blogging Tips- Blog Images:

  • Use at least one image on each blog post
  • Always use legal images, never use stolen images.  Using images without having proper permission can only cause problems for you.
  • Add image attribution under each image you use in your blog- state the source and link to the source if appropriate
  • Check sites such as Wikimedia Commons for legitimate images to use on blogs

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

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