I get that your images are your babies, your livelihood, your passion but please, take it easy.
Blog posts require a few key factors in order to achieve their target of providing value to readers, to appease the Google god and to showcase your expertise. However, boring and/or overwhelming people aren’t some of them.
You need best practice SEO (focus keyword, page title, meta-description, alt tags), you need words that connect, engage, add value, convert, you need images that showcase your work and your style but here’s where many photographers tend to go overboard.
I have, without word of a lie, seen ‘blog posts’ from photographers that have a couple of sentences (if that – sometimes there’s absolutely no words) and then 50+ images. I tried to look, I tried to engage, but I got bored and just kept scrolling and scrolling – if I didn’t just click off altogether.
Just because images are important doesn’t mean your words aren’t too.
That’s why you don’t have a blog post full of only images – read that again, slowly. That’s why you don’t have a blog post full of only images.
Images are a supporting tool that can take your content from bland to exciting.
So, here’s what I’d love to see you do – not just photographers but everyone!
Use images to break up the text
In the same way people use paragraphs and/or lists to separate points and make it easier for the reader to digest, people use images to separate points and make the text easier to understand.
Especially for longer pieces. Repeat after me ‘readers are lazy’ so it’s your job to keep them interested.
When they are presented with a wall of text (as well as a wall of image after image), the first thing they’ll do is try and find another source.
Make sure the images are clear
When selecting the images you do include, ensure that they are clear – grainy, out of focus etc will not do – for anyone, especially professional photographers.
If the you can’t be bothered to upload high-quality images, you may be producing poor photography services, too.
So, while images, in general, are super important, it’s crucial that you use high-quality ones as well. Including poor images is just as bad as using no images at all.
Use legal images
Here’s where photographers are fortunate…while the rest of us have to work hard to ensure that the images we pop into blog posts are legal for us to use – royalty free, rights managed, public domain, creative commons – you simply need to use your own shots. Too easy!
Use images that suit
When you use imagery in your blog posts, think about the reason why – beyond highlight the style of your work.
Ideally, your imagery should act as a further explainer of your main point.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about caesarean birth photography, then get a photo of that. A photo of a bride on her wedding day (even if this too is a service you offer) is not relevant and doesn’t add any value.
Always ask yourself: does this image add any value? If the answer is no, then you should omit it.
Use SEO tactics
Make sure that you do add alt tags to your images in your blogs. Currently best practice is – add keywords (but don’t stuff them in there), stick with around 125 characters and include an accurate version of the image. Pro trick..get someone to close their eyes, read them the alt tag, ask them to describe the image the tag relates to, if they are way off base you need to try again.
Show humans in your images
People sell. Faces are unique. As humans, we are naturally drawn to look at faces. But the faces should feel real and be related to the post.
Now don’t freak out on me but consider using an image of yourself – even in a quick bio at the end of the post. This approach will serve to humanise your content and encourage people to take action – your readers will feel as though they know you and can connect with you.
Optimise huge images
Images are great. That much should be obvious just from reading this post.
But the issue with using images in your blog is that they have a large file size. And a large file size means they’re going to slow your website down.
Research from shows that 53% of users abandon a mobile website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Of course, you don’t want that to happen, right?
To avoid a slow website, optimise your images so that you can keep the visual quality of the image high, but the file size low.
This can be done manually, but it works more effectively using a number of different tools.
If you use WordPress to host your blog, then download the WP Smush plugin, which will automatically condense your image file sizes to ensure they’re as low as possible.
Or if you would prefer to optimise your images before you upload them to WordPress, use a tool like Optimizilla.
How many images to include?
You may be wondering how many images to use in your blog posts. The short answer: as many as you need but no more than five.
The general rule is one image per 150 words but research shows that photography blogs with an average of five images perform better.
The number of images you use may vary post to post. Like I mentioned before, every image needs to add something to the post. It shouldn’t just be there for decoration.
Don’t go overboard or else your blog post will end up looking like an Instagram feed and if readers wanted that then they would just head to your Instagram feed, right?
So, dear photographers – don’t forget the importance of the words, utilise SEO tactics and select up to five images that add value to your post.
Want some help to get your content to the next level? I offer a limited number of content coaching spots – you can learn more here.