Living in the modern world, we’re all aware of the importance of visuals. Blogging is definitely no exception. All the advice I’ve read about blogging says to use great images on your blog.
After a year of blogging, I’m by no means an expert on the subject. However, I have learned a lot about working with blog images. Today I’m pulling out all my favorite blog image resources from my bookmarks to share them here. I hope they’re useful for fellow bloggers!
Photo editing and graphic design
When I started blogging, one of the issues I was most concerned about was finding free images with no strings attached that I could use in blog posts. I didn’t want to accidentally commit a copyright infringement or an ethical faux pas with outside images. For a while I just used my own pictures and created my own graphics.
PicMonkey quickly became one of my favorite free tools for editing my photos, including cropping, re-sizing, improving the exposure, adding text, and placing a watermark on the image. I’ve also designed some basic graphics with PicMonkey.
Canva has become another favorite free resource for image design. It has lots of fonts and free design elements, as well as a limited number of free pictures. Canva has the added bonus that you can save your work and continue to edit it later.
I find Canva better for general graphic design and PicMonkey better for working with photos, so I use both of them extensively. Both PicMonkey and Canva offer paid elements, but you can do a lot with just their free tools.
Free blog images
I was so happy to find some great online resources for free public domain images that can be used on blogs with no copyright infringement.
My favorite free photo resource is Pixabay. I love this site! It has an extensive inventory of beautiful pictures that can be downloaded at no cost. Because they’re in the public domain, the images are available for commercial use with no attribution required. Pixabay does, however, mention in its FAQs that a link back to the photo source is appreciated.
Pixabay has a WordPress plugin that allows you to search its image inventory from within the WordPress writing panel. It’s a handy way to add images to posts with automatic (optional) image attribution.
All the photos in this blog post are from Pixabay, with a link back to the source in the caption. Here’s a lovely picture inserted straight from the plugin with the image attribution below it.
Freerange Stock is a similar resource for free public domain images. It requires free registration before downloading pictures.
Unsplash has a smaller collection of free photos that can be used for any purpose. The site has 10 new photos every 10 days, which are delivered to your inbox when you subscribe.
The web has several other resources for finding free photos, such as the Creative Commons search and EveryStockPhoto. Licenses vary on these sites, so you have to be careful regarding what is allowed and required for the images.
Advice about using blog images
It’s important to brush up on issues related to image copyright, license, model release, and acceptable use before posting blog photos that were taken by someone else.
These are some helpful links about blog images:
- The Pixabay blog includes information about using public domain images.
- Writtent has a post on how to properly attribute photos.
- Amy Lynn Andrews has an excellent collection of information about using images on a blog.
- The creative blog One Dog Woof has great tips on sizing images for your blog posts.
Image alternative text
Don’t forget to use the alternative text field to add information about the image. The search engine optimization (SEO) experts recommended that you use your post key words in this field to help your post show up in searches.
The alt text shows up onscreen when the image is loading on your site or when you hover over it with your mouse in Internet Explorer. The title text is shown when you hover over an image using Firefox or Opera. According to Search Engine Journal, the image title is less important for Google. You can also place key words in the title field but there’s no need to overuse either field by keyword stuffing.
In WordPress, you can add the alt text when you initially select the picture for the post or after it’s placed in the post. Click on the picture in the post editing screen, select the pencil icon to bring up the image details screen, and then fill in the alternative text field.
This Google tutorial shows how to add a title and alt text to blog images on Blogger.
Blog images on Facebook
Many bloggers suggest that you post pictures to Facebook and Google+ yourself, rather than using an automatic function to post your new blog content to social media. That can help to display the selected image best. Sometimes it’s handy to let your WordPress blog automatically post new content, though.
With my WordPress blog, I often let posts automatically publish to my Facebook page using the Jetpack plugin. Unfortunately, it sometimes picked up the wrong image to post on Facebook, so I would have to go back and fix it.
I finally found a WordPress support page that clarified the issue. The featured image must be 200×200 pixels or larger to show up on Facebook from the blog. Also, the image height/width can’t be more than three times the size of each other (meaning, in more technical terms, the aspect ratio must be 3 or less).
In its best practices documentation for sharing images from your site, Facebook says the best way to display a full image in the news feed without any cropping is to keep the image as close as possible to 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Facebook recommends a minimum image size of 600×315 pixels for the best display.
Knowing those parameters, I can size blog images appropriately when I want them to post directly to Facebook.
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