Five questions to ask when choosing an image for a blog

Posted on October 1, 2019


If you hope to have your blogs widely read, it helps to share them on social media. Even then, though, how do you increase the chances of them being read and engaged with, rather than scrolled past?

In the above video, Darren discusses how unattractive it can look if a blog goes through to Facebook without an image. The visual aspect of a social media post is of great importance, with one statistic saying using a relevant image can increase the number of views a piece of content receives by as much as 94%.

This doesn’t mean simply slapping any old image onto your blog is wise or effective though. To get the most out of images, ask yourself the following five questions:

1. Is it relevant?

This should be fairly obvious, but make sure your image is suited to the subject of your blog, and that the link between your title/headline and image is clear.

Don’t try to be too obscure. I once thought it would be clever to accompany an article about the ‘mute’ feature on Facebook with a picture of a mute swan. Nobody got the joke, and everyone was left puzzled by what swans had to do with social media.

2. Is it copyright free?

One of the worst mistakes people make is to simply head to Google Image Search and take images from there. Remember, most of these images belong to someone else, so if they find out you’ve used them for your site, they might not take kindly to it. At best, you could be asked to take it down, or at worse, you can be sent a large fine for using a copyrighted image.

Short of actually taking photos yourself, your best bet is to pay for permission to use a stock image website. One of the sites you can subscribe to is Storyblocks, but there are non-subscription sites like freeImages that can be used too.

3. What size is it?

If images are too big, they might slow down the loading speed of your page or simply be too big to upload at all. On the other hand, if they’re too small, they will look poor aesthetically and might end up being stretched out of shape to fit the page.

For images used on the web, we find a width of between 1,000 and 1,200 pixels works well, and the image file itself should be somewhere in the 200K to 300K range.

4. Does it look good?

As a rule, photographs look better than graphics, and certainly far better than clipart. If you have good Photoshop skills, you could try to make an impressive graphic, but this will take time, and sometimes the idea in your head doesn’t look as good as you had imagined once on the screen.

5. Have you considered a template?

You’ll notice that the images we use to accompany our blogs all come with the Engage Web banner at the bottom. This gives a professional touch and helps to individualise the image. Using a tool like Photoshop, once this template is set up, it can be used again and again and takes only a little extra time than resizing and uploading a plain image.

Several of our clients ask us to include images with the content we produce for them. If you’d like to join them, why not get in touch?

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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