9 Things You Might Be Getting Wrong With Your Blog Images

When you construct a blog post it’s important to have the right visual content. I believe it can actually be as important as the writing in most cases. In the name of corny awesome Buzzfeed style listicles I’ve outlined some of the most common errors I see professionals and non-professionals make with their blog image choices. Here we go!

1. Not Using Images At All

While the United States may rank 27th for broadband internet the reality is that the average internet connection speed is 31.02 MBPS, which is far more than enough to load reasonably sized images. If you’re not using images, you’re missing out on the social sharing potential for your posts. Because without a specific image with Twitter-cards or OG markup then you’ll either get a random logo or design element pulled onto those social posts or worse, none at all.

2. Using Small 100-300px Images and Right Aligning Them

The Rubiks Cube Of GoogleWhat is this 2004? You don’t need to offset small images set on left and right alignment for each paragraph. The era of big, beautiful images is here (hooray!). You should embrace the quality of your images and allow them to take up the full width of your blog post.
If you’re not prepared to go big, then you’ve chosen the wrong image. The second issue with using these tiny images is that they are below the minimum size to be eligible for them to trigger those beautiful image powered posts on social, just as if they didn’t exist. Boo.

3. You Never Named Your Image File

 Untitled Images - We all have our folders of unlabled shame.
It’s a pain, but a necessary step. You’ve got to take the time to rename the file before you upload it. Google has included the file name into the list of elements that it considers when it determines the relevance of an image. We’re definitely going for relevance here.

4. You Didn’t Minify Your Image

Small Mario can be useful!

This GIF originally was 4.5 MB. I cropped, scaled and optimized it in GIMP down to 1.8 MB. Small Mario has some advantages!

You can minify your JPGs and your PNGs to help decrease your load time and still retain the high quality image you selected. There are of course also a range of WordPress plugins that can minify images automatically as you upload them so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are shrinking a GIF you can try some tools like this one, scale down the size of the image in Gimp/Photoshop or remove parts of the layers that don’t change from frame to frame.

5. You Let WordPress Create A Title & Alt Based On That File Name

 Oh Silly Krang
FVB122.ico.tmz is super helpful to both the disabled users that visit your site & to  Googlebot to understand the image (said no one ever).

6. You Chose A Generic Stock Image Graphic

SEO and hands with lens flares by J.J Abrams

I need an image of the letters SEO with random hands that also has lens flares by J.J Abrams. Yes! Thank you Mjohns2839 just what I needed!

Stock photos are seen as a cure for a marketing image needed by many businesses who don’t, can’t or won’t put more resources into their websites and online marketing efforts (sorry about the run-on). Stock photos are actually like one of those prescription drugs where the list of “side” effects are truly horrific.

Yea, it’s actually better not to use any images instead of going with true with a selection of obvious stock images. Recently there has been a rise in “non-stock photos” which sounds great, but they have their own issues.

7. You Didn’t Add A Much Needed Caption

Who knows why you chose this image from Unsplash.com taken by Ryan Tauss

It’s tempting to just grab a big image from one of the many non-stock photo sites that have cropped up to provide an alternative to WTFstock photos. But you had a deadline and kinda just picked something that maybe sorta possibly related to your topic. Sorta.

I don’t blame you. It’s pretty tedious to scroll through all those sites hoping to find something related to the post you’re writing about the “super exciting” world of binary load lifters or moisture ‘vaporators. But if you can’t get quality images that you take yourself or have professionally photographed then at least add a caption to tie that image securely to the topic being discussed. (It doesn’t have to be in Bocce).

8. You Set Yourself Up To Get Fined By Getty Images

If you’re blindly picking images you find in Google’s image search then you’re just begging for problems. If you so happen to choose a Getty Image they will use reverse image software to hunt you down, send a “violation letter” and demand a multi-hundred dollar fee. Per image.

Even though the actual  image license itself costs just a few pesos, they will claim that “damages” were done. As disreputable as this may sound, you can take some steps to protect yourself and your client from this headache by carefully sourcing your images.

9. You Didn’t Just Take It Yourself

When you are the creator of an image or you pay someone to create an image for your blog post you’re putting something new out there. Take out that lonely SLR, your 45 megapixel Nokia Lumia or hire a talented photographer. It’s much easier to rank for new content you’ve contributed over something that already existed that you just tweaked (if that) and appropriated for yourself.

Carrots

See? I took this photo of my designer friend drawing carrots for a logo and it looks awesome right?

What Have You Done Wrong With Your Images?

Feel free to share any mistakes you feel you’ve made in the past with your images. C’mon, we’ve all done it.

14 Comments

John Jones

I do believe that you and I paddled that Getty Images boat together. How fun was that?

Saijo George

There are a lot of cc0 image sites out there, I recently put together allthefreestock.com to highlight some of those.

Miraj Gazi

Hi Jeremy ,

I really loved this post. Very well written and you shared some awesome best practices for using images. I think #7 is really important – adding captions.

Best Regards
Miraj Gazi

Jeremy Rivera

Using captions is painfully overlooked in far too many blogs, where images just seem to be an afterthought. It’s key to make images a part of the process of building your post.

Rob @ Womplify

Oops.. have to admit I’m guilty of a couple of those.. I know I shouldn’t but there’s never enough time to find something decent and customize to suit! It’s good to be reminded of these though, to avoid becoming complacent.

Jeremy Rivera

Yep, I’m totally guilty of these on too many occasions. Guess I don’t live by”Let him without sin cast the first stone”, haha. Seriously though, if you avoid 6/9 of these on a regular basis then you’re doing pretty good.

Jeff M

Question regarding captions….
Are you talking about an on page caption below or above the image or within the meta for the image itself or in the schema for the image?

Steve Faber

Jeremy, “You Set Yourself Up To Get Fined By Getty Images” is so overlooked. Getty actively patrols the web, looking for prosecutorial opportunities. Then again, if your image was one of the one’s used and not paid for, you know; little else gets you so hot under the collar. Thanks for highlighting this one.
Steve

Prasanna LP

Hi

I have done same mistakes in my earlier blog. I used to download images from google and straight away use them in my articles. There after i realize the issues like copyrights. So in my current blog I am using just what I own, so i feel comfort on it.

Thanks for the info. Will follow these guidelines in my new blog.

Tim

I always rename my images according to what my blog post is about. You never know if someone could stumble across your site via an image. These were really great, thanks.

Andrew @ Mommy's Busy

Great post. I’m pretty good with images but definitely get lazy at times when it comes to file names, that’s for sure. Same with captions. BTW, what logo were all those carrots for?

Comments are closed.