Humor me for a moment and go dig out a copy of the White Pages — you remember, it’s that 10-pound behemoth gathering dust under the sink. Now, flip it open to any page and tell me the truth? Are you pulled into the content? Do you have any desire to continue reading or have you already closed it up and moved on to the next thing?
Online or offline, people constantly come across content and make a split-second decision about whether to stay or go. Often, the decision is made before the content is even assessed. It’s a sub-concious decision to leave based purely on looks.
Your visitors are no different. When readers arrive at your website, they have a choice: continue reading or hit the back button. Their decision will be based, in large part, on how your content looks. You can make it inviting and pleasant, or you can make it just about as appealing as the innards of the phone book. The only difference? Images.
Images, photos, illustrations, or other graphics — are often the first thing visitors look at. If the image is compelling, visitors stay to check out the text. If the image is poor quality or unappealing — or non-existent! — visitors leave. It’s really that simple.
Here are some ways effectively using images enhances your blog:
1. Use images to break up long passages of text. Facing a page of black-and-white text is daunting. Images can give the eye a place to rest, breaking up the flow of an otherwise monotonous page.
2. Use images pull the viewer into the text. Since people look at them first, images provide a starting point for the rest of the blog post. Good images are like flashing arrows that say, “START HERE.”
3. Images are an effective way to introduce your blog topic. Picking an appropriate, related image gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the post. For instance, a photo of a street sign that says “Bumpy Road Ahead” lets the reader know that the post is about challenges or change.
4. Use photos and illustrations to reinforce your post’s content. A diagram, graphic, or other image can further illustrate the post’s content. A flow chart of a sales funnel, for instance, gives you another way to explain the concepts you’re presenting.
A picture, some say, is worth a thousand words. Don’t neglect this opportunity to say in images what you can never say with words. Photos and illustrations add depth to your conversation, and can make a dull blog post feel active and alive. If you need help finding photos for your blog posts, check out this article on 25 Places to Find Awesome Stock Photos (Free and Cheap!).
What do you think? Do you use pictures, illustrations and photos in your blog posts? Why or why not?