sly : marketing

Do you need to use images in blog posts?

I am looking outside right now and it’s snowing. I can’t believe that it’s actually snowing. I feel that I am still living in a tent and that it’s summer, and I have a beard and I’m looking at the beach, listening to the sound of birds and the waves. I’m so glad that I am always kind of dreaming. Dreams makes me powerful, and dreams helps me stay creative.

And, dreams are turning life into images. I love to close my eyes and see images. The images I see are always bright, and in so many different colors. There are never any sounds, just images of what life used to be like, and what might happen in the future.

I am writing this blog post on my iPad. I am typing on my new Logitech Ultrathin keyboard cover for the iPad. It’s awesome. It almost feels like I’m typing on a laptop. I’m just as fast, and I keep writing long posts. But, when I’m writing the blog posts on my iPad, I’m having an issue adding images to my posts. It’s not that I can’t add them, but it takes a lot more time, and I haven’t been able to crop them and adjust them the way I’m used to.

I love to write, and now that it’s so much easier to write on my iPad, I’ve been thinking that I might not need to add images to every single blog post I write. The thing about images is that they add value to the story, and they are very important in order to get more traffic from Facebook and Google+. If you’re using an image in your post, and people share your post on Facebook and Google+, people will see the image and your description on the social networks. I’ve tested with and without an image, and it’s like night and day when it comes to getting clicks to your post.

But, still.

Sometimes I just enjoy writing, and I don’t want to spend all that time to find the right images, crop, adjust and publish them. I just want to write and keep writing and to create a story worth reading.

Like this one.

What I should have done was to add a picture of our kitchen. We’ve bought a brand new kitchen, and right now, it’s a total mess. We’ve been without a kitchen for the past 5 weeks, and it will be yet another week before everything is ready. I don’t have any problem with that at all, what I have a problem with is the lack of communication. To be successful in business, you need to understand that communication is a very important part of marketing. And that what your business is creating is images.

When we talked to the sales people before ordering the kitchen, and when they designed our new kitchen, and they sold us the kitchen, the communication was close to perfect. But now… that’s a completely different story. We received the kitchen yesterday, and we didn’t get all the parts, and it was delivered outside. We had no idea what was happening. And it didn’t get here on time. I’m not going to go into any further details. The thing about marketing is that you should think about the process, from start to finish. And decide when you’re finished.

Think of marketing as a process. Ask yourself, when do you start, and how do you start, and add many different layers, and understand when you’re done, and if you’re ever done. The process might be a circle, and when you’ve delivered and installed the kitchen, you might want to keep following up with a newsletter to get your customers to help you spread the word.

We’re looking at the world as images. When we don’t add any images, we have to do our best to create a story that adds interesting and positive images. Like now, when you’re reading this post, you probably would have remembered it if I had added a nice image that represents that post. Now, you need to create your own image, based upon what I’ve just written.

Think about it. Do you see images like I do?

And…

When your customers close their eyes and think of you, what kind of images do they see?



59 responses to “Do you need to use images in blog posts?”

  1. Lisa says:

    Snow, a messy kitchen and an iPad. I think I really stopped at the snow scene. Interesting it’s like going back into reading a book vs a blog. Also I love how you related it to marketing and sales and telling a story to make a sale or to carefully set one’s expectations so they will be exceeded after the sale.
    Would a picture have taken away that point?

    • My kitchen is still messy, but the snow is finally gone. Now it’s all windy and it’s raining. That’s life in Norway right now. And I’m mostly inside ๐Ÿ™‚

      A picture wouldn’t have taken away my point, so the moral of the story is probably that I shouldn’t be in such a hurry and just include a picture, instead of pushing my words to the reader before it’s 100% finished.

  2. I used to add images to every post and then I stopped and now I do again. Looking back the posts without just don’t quite have the same appeal, even to me, and I wrote them.

    One certainly can paint an image, add intrigue, and get a person hooked with words. In the end, it will be those mental images created by the writer that get the reader to the end of the post. The image, though, can add one more incentive to continue on, and that is to find out the point of the picture.

    So, take the time and take a photo or buy one (Don’t steal from the internet) and help motivate your readers to…well, for lack of a better word…read.

    • I absolutely agree Brian. I haven’t published many posts without images, but I just had to this time to see if it had any effect on me, and it did. When I wrote this post, I felt that it was all about the writing, and especially since I wrote the post on the iPad. Now, looking at the post it’s definitively something missing.

  3. Adrienne says:

    First off Jens, I can’t believe that winter is here and it’s snowing at your house. for us it’s still been in the 80’s and 90’s. We are suppose to get rain tomorrow that will bring in a cold front if you call in the 60’s a cold front. But that’s how it is here, a tease. It will only stick around for a couple of days and then back in the 80’s. Ah, winter my ass.

    I think that images add something to the post. Now you must admit, people love images because most of us aren’t as visual as you are. I wish I could say I am. I mean if you say visualize a banana then I can because I know what it looks like. But ask me to visualize a scene I’ve never seen before then I can’t do that. I know, weird right!

    I know you enjoy writing though and telling the story but I still think the overall finished product is a lot more fun with the image. Plus, people on the social media sites will be drawn to that image and that will draw them into reading your story. From there they’re just hooked. That is unless it’s people like us who love your content no matter what.

    ~Adrienne

    • I can’t believe the winter is here already either. In my mind, it’s still summer and I’m walking outside in too little clothes. I always have a hard time to adapt to the winter.

      I agree with you about the importance of adding images to the posts. Looking at this post right now, it feels like it’s not finished.

  4. Alex Aguilar says:

    Although there is no substitute for a well written passage, writing for a blog is not the same thing as writing literature. Blogs posts should be short and sweet, with lots of white space between the text and an eye catching image to capture the readerโ€™s attention.

    A well positioned and relevant image is essential in grabbing the readerโ€™s focus long enough to entice him or her to read the accompanying post. A dense block of text, no matter how well written, will not get much attention from the average internet user.

    • Hey Alex,

      I agree. A blog post is not finished if it doesn’t have an image. On the other hand, if it’s very short, like Seth Godin short, it might not need an image. But it might depend on who is writing the post, if it’s a legend, we don’t care that much about the image ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ben says:

    Hi Jens,

    In theory, we could write posts and leave out the images. It certainly makes it faster to get the post completed if you can’t find a suitable image. Sometimes it takes me longer to find an image than it does to write the post!

    But I think a post can look quite bland without an image. And with the design I’m using, I think it would look a bit unbalanced to publish a new post without an image.

    Images work best when they really grab your attention, when they’re informative or particularly relevant, funny, cool, or just plain bizarre. Including an image for the sake of it isn’t a great path to go down. Unfortunately, this can happen if you feel the need to include an image in every post (as I do).

    • That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about as well Ben. I am using a lot of time finding the right images and adjusting them to the posts. And lately, I’ve only been using my own images (taken with my new camera). That makes it even more difficult, but it’s worth it. Like you said, images are part of a blog post and something is missing if you’re not adding them.

  6. Rogier Noort says:

    Claiming that every post has to adhere to a certain set of fixed rules is nuts (sorry Alex). It’s the same that every post should be a killer post, or that you should write every day.

    It doesn’t, and you don’t.

    This post is a prime example of not having to need any of that. It captured my curiosity whit the title, it was well written and I finished, I’m even commenting on it. So do others.., proving the point that you do not need an image in a post.
    Also, there is no reason why a post can’t be a literary piece of genius. The fact that most bloggers are not(!) professional writers is why we write short and sweet.
    But we don’t have to.., there is no rule. Sure, there is a lot to be said for SEO and traffic.., but that is where the killer posts come in, the posts that comply with every rule and are perfectly executed.

    But you don’t have to that with every post…

    • Hi Rogier,

      Thank you so much for the feedback. When I wrote the post, I thought about Seth Godin. He is not adding images to his posts, and still, they’re some of the best posts I’ve read. And that got me thinking. Many times it takes me longer to find the right image to include in a post, than to actually write the post, and what if I can spend that time writing instead of looking for images?

  7. Mark says:

    I loved your thoughts on images, Jens!

    I’ve been getting a bit more serious about turning my blogging into a business. I really noticed I wasn’t thinking through the images I used very well.

    I have been paying a lot more attention to this and getting my creative juices flowing – what little I have anyhow ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Great to see what’s on your mind today, sir!

    • That’s actually what I’ve been thinking about lately as well. I need a stronger purpose for my blog(s). I am not earning money blogging and I believe that we all have a potential of earning good money from our blogs, but the question is how? I am still not sure what the best way to make money from a blog is, but creating your own product to sell is what I have been thinking about. What about you?

      • Mark says:

        Happy Monday, Jens : 0

        I agree on creating your own products… I’m a green horn here, Jens… I will start with promoting products, and companies I’ve done business with and learned something from.

        I can only promote something to others if I really believe in it. Anything less is a waste of time.

        That will at least get me in the position of thinking about how to position my blog to make money with. I have ZERO experience with this; building a list, landing pages, squeeze pages, call to actions, email marketing, etc.

        I’ve never given any of this much thought before, even after a few years! But now that I am, there are many things to learn by doing. It’s a completely different mindset when you look at your online assets. But many seeds have been planted in the old noggin.

        There are some tricks of the trade I will have to learn, but at the end of the day, what is going to make you and I both very successful at this is delivering the goods. You have to possess something of great value to provide others.

        That starts with consistent hard work and improvement, cranking out the best content of our lives, and connecting in real ways with our audience.

        It’s sustained by getting customers, clients, and readers real-life changing results. You have to have an impact.

        Its sounds easy, eh?

        Not at all, but I have 100% confidence in you and I, that we will be building our legacy, our life’s work and awesome businesses right here in cyberspace, go figure!

        We’re not really from this world after all ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        Cheers, Jens!

        • Happy Monday to you too Mark.

          Sounds like you have a great plan. I have been testing various ways to make money online for a few years, and so far I have been earning a bit from affiliate marketing, mostly by writing reviews. But, I haven’t been earning a lot, so I need to focus on a new way of turning my blogging into a business.

          It’s not easy, but as long as we’re focused and we have 100% confidence, we’re going to be successful.

          ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    Some interesting thoughts on images. Maybe it’s that I’m conditioned to it now but a blog post without an image looks a little bare. It just doesn’t look quite right. I can’t even explain why.

    I’m still imagining your kitchen though and the snow outside. I hope you get your kitchen sorted out before winter sets in!

    • I agree Tim. It looks like something is missing if we don’t include images. I am looking at this post right now and I’m thinking that it looks so different than when I wrote it. So to me, it’s even more important to add images after the post is published, because a blog post without any images doesn’t really fit my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Barry Wells says:

    Hi Jens,

    Winter comes round to quick doesn’t it….. I like looking at snow scenes but when it falls here I stay indoors. Pushing a wheelchair through the snow is not a laughing matter as the wheels turn and bring the slush to my hands, making them to cold for comfort ๐Ÿ™‚ never mind my feet pushing their way through it all, no mate, I’ll stay indoors and look out the window ๐Ÿ™‚

    When it comes to blog posts and no images I find they look bland. I never used to use them at all in my posts and when I look back at the older ones I find they look lacking (personally).

    They can become time consuming but they also help spread the word and attract people to our posts, like you said the social media networks thrive on seeing an image.

    I like the way you bring off line business online and learn from others short coming, such as the kitchen company. I always say that we should look at what others are doing wrong and apply those lessons to our own work.

    Personally i’m not 100% happy with any sale until the customer is happy and if they’re not happy then I pull out all the stops to correct that.

    Thanks Jens, best of luck getting your kitchen sorted mate, I suppose it’s been Pizza whilst you’ve been without your kitchen ๐Ÿ˜†

    Barry

    • Hi Barry,

      Yes, winter comes around way to quick. I can’t believe it’s already here. Right now, when I’m writing this, I’m looking at the fire inside the fireplace, and it’s all dark outside. It’s hard to imagine me walking outside today ๐Ÿ™‚

      Images are an essential part of blog posts, and it feels naked without it. On the other hand, I’m thinking that it all depends on the situation I’m in. Like right now, I am thinking that I am having trouble deciding which new Mac I am going to buy. And I just want to write a short blog post about it to get some feedback. But, if I was going to include an image, I would spend too much time with the post and it probably wouldn’t get published.

      But, it might be all about having a strategy for blogging. Usually, I don’t write short posts and ask questions like that. But, I like to do things in a different way and be more creative from time to time ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Ruth Zive says:

    Hi Jens. I hate the snow…argh!

    I suppose the importance of an image necessarily depends on your blogging goals and intentions. If it’s really important to draw the reader in, and get them to read beyond your headline, then studies show that images can help to that end.

    If it’s important to you that your post should be shared more frequently and read on Facebook, for instance, then yes, images are important. It’s apparently been proven that Facebook timeline favours posts that include images and video.

    If it’s important for you to have traction on Pinterest, then I can only assume that images are important – it must be rare that text-only posts are pinned all that often.

    If your goal is simply to enjoy the experience of writing and to express yourself, then images are not all that important.

    Have a great weekend Jens!

    • That’s an great answer Ruth. I have different goals with the different posts. Sometimes I just write because I want to express myself and test some creative angles on a story. Other times I write because I want more people to share my posts.

      I have tested a lot of different things on Facebook, and it’s no doubt that images are very powerful to get more people to see the updates and to click on the links.

      Have a great weekend Ruth.

  11. Josh says:

    Hi Jens,

    I have been making a significant effort to include more images in my posts and have seen a very positive response.

    It does a number of things for our posts. The picture helps break up the page and makes it more inviting/attractive to look at. It also makes it more likely that readers will pin our posts to Pinterest.

    • I’ve seen your images, and I understand that you’ve spent a lot of time finding them and adding them to your posts. I can also understand the importance of adding pictures, but sometimes I feel that I just want to write and publish what I have written. Like Seth Godin is doing. He almost never adds any pictures to his posts, on the other hand he is Seth Godin ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Susan says:

    Hi
    First off which ipad do you have? I have first ipad and waited to buy it and it cost close to $1000 so I am limited in fancy stuff – like buying extras.
    Second- it’s hot and windy here – where are you ? Snow?
    Third- Who has a kitchen delivered? A whole kitchen like in Italy?
    Fourth – I think you could go without pics sometimes or write it and add pic later.
    I have procrastinated for a long time by reading all the online stuff – keywords perfect, SEO, Google, blah blah and noticed I never get anything online done – so by gosh I am gonna put my stuff out there and clean up the mess later.
    So there – enjoy the snow ….

    • I am using the iPad 3, and I am living in Norway and right now the snow is gone and the sun is shining ๐Ÿ™‚

      We’ve ordered the whole kitchen, everything is included. Right now it’s more or less a total mess, but one more week and it will be ready (hopefully).

      Thank you so much for the feedback.

  13. Cyd Madsen says:

    I understand what you’re saying. I’m trying to use as few images as possible because the objective of writing is communicating vividly through the medium of words. With blogging I’m having trouble not using images. It’s quick communication about ideas and information, and most communication is only about 30% verbal. For a prose and poetry we get to create imagery, but it’s a bit more difficult with blog posts. People are looking for information fast. But still, I resist.

    • I know. It’s hard to not use images in blog posts, and I have been using images in 99% of my blog posts. And I will probably continue to use images in most of my posts, but I can also see the power in not using images and instead use an extra effort to paint a mental image with your words. It’s all about testing and writing better than ever ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I really enjoy using images. Finding and creating images give me breaks from writing. I generally write my first draft, then take a break by finding images.

    Explaining and demonstrating tech would be quite challenging if I couldn’t use images. I also like to adorn my posts with lovely pictures. In yesterday’s post I added a picture of a girl on a street with a red umbrella. It set the scene quite nicely.

    You have a gift from your fiction writing craft of setting scenes with mere words. Your talent enables you to describe a scene without the benefit of images. But then again, you would be missing out on any Google Image Searches that might bring traffic to your articles.

  15. Images are a MUST for me Jens!

    Just like Carolyn mentioned, if I don’t use images, I myself don’t like the post and feel as if something vital is missing. I guess I love color and want something to relate with the post.

    I spend more time in hunting for the apt image to go with the post, than I spend in writing the post! And yes, I spend time in looking for quotes too, which I feel add more meaning – at least to my posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing, and sending some warmth your way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Images is usually a must for me as well Harleena. But, thinking about the writing process, I’ve discovered that sometimes I am just writing because I want to write, and I just want my words to get out there for people to see and give me feedback. And, especially when I’m writing on my iPad. On the other hand, I should control myself and not be in such a hurry and just wait until I find a good picture to include in the story.

    • Carolyn says:

      Harleena, you use wonderful images and quotes in your blog. Your attention to these details really shows in the quality of your blog.

  16. Khaja moin says:

    Images helps you to attract customers but the real thing which can bring back them to your blog is not images but it`s content the way you write and the way they involve into it.
    I like your way of writing posts very natural. Thanks for sharing. Hope even I could be in there to see that awesome scene.

    @khajamoin1

  17. Tiana Kai says:

    This makes so much sense. I once posted a blog post without an image and was thinking ‘Oh, no, who will read this’. Haha. Well, it was a post that did not require any images, so it was fine. It would have been a joke to just throw something in there, like that pic of your kitchen.

    I found it hilarious that once a reader on an interior design site got upset because there was not a ‘before’ shot on the ‘before and after’ article. Then, I followed the comment thread and realized that other readers commented JUST to agree with the first comment. This made me realize that users are used to and rely on images to carry them through a story.

    I wonder if those readers still read baby books since novels do not offer any literal visuals, since they can’t seem to image anything by just reading.

    I do love to include images in my posts though. Mainly, because I write about my life in Florence, and would for sure get comments yelling at me for not posting images of the Ponte Vecchio if the post is about the famous bridgeโ€”even though they have probably seen it a million other times online, in the movies or even in person.

    • Hi Tiana,

      I have been to Florence many years ago, I loved the beautiful city. I understand why it would be hard to not add images to your posts about Florence. I probably wouldn’t be able to stop writing about Florence ๐Ÿ™‚

      Your interior design story was funny. I have witnessed several similar stories as well, especially from people who are just looking for backlinks.

  18. Softphone says:

    I think that images add something to the post. Now you must admit, people love images because most of us arenโ€™t as visual as you are. I wish I could say I am. I mean if you say visualize a banana then I can because I know what it looks like. But ask me to visualize a scene Iโ€™ve never seen before then I canโ€™t do that. I know, weird right!

  19. I have a tiny attention span, so images help me stay interested in long blog posts.

    Just my 2 cents.

  20. alexstrauss says:

    Hello,
    Yes you are right Jen, am agreed with you. Yes in my sense images are more important for every blogs, because they give some awareness about our posts , which is readable by readers or followers. That should be effective thing when our post is unique with Good related pictures. Thanks to share this informative post.

  21. Felicia says:

    Hi Jens,
    Sometimes (or perhaps most of the times) sales marketers are like that. They talk big as if they really know what they are doing when in truth, they are just a middleman for actual products. This is the very reason why many times when it comes to materializing the dealt upon product, they crack under pressure and underperform on the agreed upon terms.

  22. Dipa says:

    Hi Jens, Nice -almost poetic prose-like post. Loved how you co-related dreams to images and made the post so interesting to your readers. Yes, blogs must have relevant images. But i believe that one should also give due credit to the place where the image has been picked from. This helps establish credibility and you are conforming to accepted rules of what works for Google and what doesn’t. Thanks for the awesome share as usual!

  23. Kristine says:

    Images have the ability to allow us to transcend to a whole new reading experience. I specifically appreciate infographics when I get tired of long and wordy posts. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you’re enjoying your new keyboard! Have a great day ahead.

  24. Selda KIRKAN says:

    Is there any search engine advantages of using images on our blog posts? How about advantages of having your image indexed on Google images. It will sure get you some additional traffic. Thanks

  25. JONG says:

    You can try Snapseed for your image editing on iOS. Use to be paid app but since Google acquire the company, it is now free. I like Snapseed for scenery editing, you can crop and few awesome filters.

  26. Hey Jens,
    I found your blog through Wonderoftech. This post happened to stand out to me because I really lack on using images in my posts. Reason being, I am a sucker for page load time, and I know that through Adobe’s Apps you can convert and compress, but it still doesn’t look as good so I just don’t bother anymore. However, images are very powerful, and when used correctly can be the difference between someone staying on your page and someone leaving right away. I think it’s about balancing both. An eye catching post preview excerpt can generate great traffic to a post, but then the content has to match up and deliver what the picture is about. Please feel free to visit my blog, just cleaned up all the garbage comments so there is tons of free space for some good replies. Hope to see you!

    • Hey Justin,

      Thank you for visiting my blog, and I understand why you’re reading Carolyn’s blog, she’s awesome. I have been testing various ways to write blog posts, and I almost always use images. Like you said, it makes the blog posts a lot more powerful. But, many times I’d like to just write and publish what I’ve written without spending a lot of extra time with images. I guess I probably should use a default image, or some random images for my posts, this way I would still get the extra attention, without all the extra work ๐Ÿ™‚

      I used to be concerned about speed as well, but after I switched to my new host, speed hasn’t been an issue. I’ll be visiting your site soon.

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