How to Give your Blog Post the Perfect Image
Well, well, well… You want to rise above the cringy stock photos, huh? I wish more people were like you. Willing to put aside their pride and learn how to make the best image for their blog. Most people wouldn’t have given it a second thought. They would have just Googled the title of their blog and used the first result. But no, not you… You are special! ✨🦄 That being said, I want you to do me a favor before you continue reading: think about your first impression of this blog. Did you look at the blog image? What did it make you anticipate this blog to be like? Let me know your answers in the comments below.
The reason I ask this is that I want you to see that the blog image (if made correctly) is an attention-getting filter that users go through before reading blogs. They can shape the way users thinks about the blog itself, the website the blog is on, and the company or person that owns the website. A blog image has the power to:
- Give the user a super-short summary of the blog
- Entice people on social media to read your blog and in turn, go to your website (you should be posting your blogs on social media)
- Reflect the credibility of the blog and author
- Keep your brand consistent
Overall it shows that whoever is responsible for the website has all their bases covered and is not careless about the little things – all the qualities you should want your website to have.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the ways you can give your blog post the perfect image.
Keep it Legal 🚔 🚨
This is the first and most important aspect of your blog image! Using a licensed image without the owner’s permission is against the law. I know that fact may seem obvious, but I want to remind people because it is one of the most overlooked and costly mistakes made across the web.
Most people just assume that all images on Google images are free to use and modify. The only thing stopping them is a watermark and sometimes that doesn’t even deter them. But you have to stand strong!
“If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?”-probably everyone’s dad
Realize that any image that you use without the correct license is a chance to be sued. Before getting an image from any website, look at their terms and see what kind of license they claim. If a website uses Creative Commons CC0 license than you should be free to do what you need to do; but even then, check the website’s additional stipulations.
You need to find websites with quality images and liberal licenses like these:
Keep it Modern
This aspect of your image will affect your client’s trust in the relevance and credibility of your blog.
As web design trends quickly come and go, users have begun associating certain design elements with certain stages in the Internet’s development. Currently, in 2019, a clean minimalist design is a stamp of approval. On average, it communicates that the website is reputable and relevant, qualities you should strive for no matter the industry you are in. However, this modern design is even more important for an individual blog image because the whole point of a blog is to provide accurate information.
Your blog image is going to be the first thing the user sees before reading your blog, therefore, it needs to assure people that your blog will be up-to-date. A modern design in your image shows them that you are not behind on your industry’s standards, but are at the forefront of your field and affirms your blog’s credibility.
So, how does one make their blog look modern? Unfortunately, the definition of modern is relative to whom you are speaking with, which is why it is imperative to look to modern websites for inspiration. Here’s a quick list to get you started: Kinsta, Column Five, Dribble, All Web Promotion 😉. You will soon notice that the use of gradients and icons is popular, as well as more exaggerated figures with texture. Photographs are not very common, but if used, they should be high quality and not *stock photoish.
*Stock Photo-ish: a term I just made up describing the over-emotional people doing unnatural or unrealistic actions to relay an abstract point making them perfect for memes not blogs.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying you have to make blog images look exactly like the ones on those websites I listed. On the contrary! Embrace the creativity and unique ideas. Just know that these qualities mentioned above will associate your blog with accurate and up-to-date information, at least in 2019.
Keep it Descriptive
The perfect blog image gives a simple visual summary of the blog. Images are not just more visually appealing, they are also more efficient and universal than words. On average, users focus and quickly understand images rather than text, so meet them where they are. Speak to people with your blog image. Use graphics, photos, and gifs to clearly communicate what the blog is about. Use common objects as words and make a sentence.
Let’s look at our recent blog “Buyer Beware: Paying for Fans, Likes, etc.” to see how to do this:
- Summarize the blog: It is warning against buying likes on social media and backlinks for websites in contrast to the organic way of getting traffic.
- Break the article down into it’s simplest and most relatable concept: “if you can ‘buy success’ it’s probably worthless.”
- Find words or ideas that relate to the concept: artificial, fake, filler, cheap
- Match the words with an action: inflate, grow
- Think of easily recognizable objects to connect to your words: balloon, bubble, plastic
- Find an image or images that combine your words with your action using your object: I used Canva
- Organize the images in a clear and modern way that is consistent with your brand: I used Canva again
- Label the main objects with an everyday icon or symbol: thumbs up for “likes” and a dollar symbol
Here is the final product:
Hopefully, you can agree that the image looks easy to understand and communicates the blog’s main idea.
Side Note: Notice how I added a gradient to the background and used simple-looking graphics. I did this to keep the blog’s design harmonious with All Web’s brand, which leads us to our next point.
Keep it consistent with your brand
This aspect of your blog image is more subtle but will make your website look well rounded.
The brand of a company is a design element or symbol that distinguishes it from its competitors. It communicates the personality of that business in an effort to appeal to the target demographic. Put the same common design elements like colors, shapes, fonts, and characters that are found across your website into your blog image. Make your blog image look like it belongs to your website, and isn’t out of place. This is especially important if your blog is hosted on a different website like Medium.
For example: in All Web’s blog images, I put gradients and wavy shapes for backgrounds to correspond with our website’s heavy use of them in the banners on our website. Check out the way these website’s do it too: SiteGround, Help Scout, Figma, Clubhouse, Google Marketing Platform. They give every blog image the same design themes as the rest of their website connecting it with their brand.
Give it some creativity🎨
This aspect of your blog image engages customers who only see your blog image. Like I mentioned at the start of this long blog, you should be posting all of your blogs on social media. A blog is already productive for SEO purposes, but posting it on social media gives double the value. That is, if you can make a captivating image for it…
Creativity is just thinking of all the endless and maybe strange possibilities and seeing if they fit your blog. This is a key ingredient in your blog post image. It needs to make the blog look intriguing and unique. Give the users enough description to know what they’re getting, whilst giving just the right amount of ambiguity to keep them guessing. This is especially important if the articles you are writing are not about a super exciting topic.
Be creative and let your imagination run wild at the different ways to make your image interesting. Take Wait But Why as an example. They truly embraced the unique character of their company by using hand-drawn stick figures making them stand out and intrigue the user. If that isn’t creativity, I don’t know what is!
Side Note: Gifs are especially good at getting people’s attention because of their movement.
Optimize for SEO
If you have been following our blogs at all, you will notice that we are kind of obsessed with making Google happy. (I mean, can you blame us? They give us free stuff!) Here’s the deal: Google has standards for websites like security, quality content, user friendliness, fast loading-ness… you get the idea. The more your website meets these standards the higher your site will be ranked on Google searches and, believe it or not, the way you optimize your images helps your site meet multiple standards.
Here’s how to do it in order (yes, the order in which you do this in matters):
- Use an image editing tool (I use Microsoft Paint) to scale the image dimensions down to the smallest size needed. (width should be 2400 pixels or smaller)
- Name the image file on your computer to something makes sense (not a random image number, but an actual title for the image) in this format
- Run the image through Optimizilla’s Image Optimizer to make it a smaller file size (the image won’t lose quality, just unnecessary data)
- After you uploaded the image to your website, add alt text (which describes what’s in the image) and delete any image title
These may seem like little things, but they can make a big difference on your rankings and user experiences.
The graphic you design (or image you choose) for your blog can greatly shape the way users see your website. Do it right and the user will feel that the blog, website, and the overall company is excellent and trustworthy. Do it wrong and the user will think your blog is out-dated and untrustworthy or just not click on it at all because the image isn’t eye-catching.
I hope this blog opened your eyes and will ultimately help your website grow because we are also obsessed about that. 😉 I also just wanted to thank you for being interested enough in this topic to make it through the whole blog! You can now receive your complimentary fist-bump: 👊!