In a cluttered world of 181 million blogs, it’s hard to make noise. You need to do something to stand out from the crowd to show why your blog must be read, commented on and shared. Trends have shifted.
65% of people are visual learners
As 65% of people are visual learners, it’s no surprise that images lead the way in making your content more engaging. Jeff Bullas has identified that articles with images get 94% more views than articles without. We have all heard of the phrase ‘A picture equals a thousand words’ and now with 2.5 billion camera phones in circulation, it’s never been easier for people to express themselves visually, and share what they’re doing. In fact, 10% of all photos taken by humankind have taken place in the last 12 months!
The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text
It’s easy to figure out why images are so engaging and so popular – it’s a quick way to share information. The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. People are becoming more and more busy and therefore have less and less time to spend on reading everything which takes their interest.
So, it is a good idea to be using images in your blog posts. It’s really very easy to go to a stock photo site and choose an image you think best illustrates that article you have spent hours researching. But you must be careful. There a number of reasons why stock images can damage your blog:
Your competitors are using your images too!
If you go to a stock photo site and select the option to find ‘popular’ images under your chosen keyword, the chances are that your competitors have already used them. Well, they have certainly been used many times before. If this is the case, you will appear a copycat. It may be hard to hear, but your readers are also reading your competitors’ blogs too. If they see you both using the same images, it certainly isn’t going to work in your favour.
Your blog is a brand
You may have hired a graphic designer to develop your brand image for you or you may have created it yourself, using your own personal style, but your blog does have branding. This can be because of the filter you use on your Instagram images, or the font you use throughout your articles but there will always be aspects your regular readers will relate with. Using generic stock images won’t always fit in with your branding so be careful you are using the correct images to relate to your target readership.
Your blog looks distrustful
I have recently been put off from buying a Chinese Visa from two or three websites which appeared on the first page of Google simply because the website just didn’t ‘feel right’. There were too many generic images of ‘fake’ people which sent alarm bells ringing in my head – ‘Is this a scam?’. Well, they certainly didn’t take my money! Make sure people who visit your blog aren’t put off in the same way by using too many generic images. It always helps to have a picture of yourself on your blog!
Being generic isn’t worth your money
Yes, using stock images is cheap. You may pay a small one time fee per image or pay a monthly subscription but it’s not a good use of your budget – especially as you are trying so hard to differentiate between those 181 million other blogs out there.
Go 100% authentic
Professional graphic design may be a bit expensive, especially if you are just starting out blogging, but using your money on bespoke design will pay dividends in the long run. Get a ‘pro’ to look at your blog and re-design it for you if you are unable to find how to best relate with your target audience. If you choose to go down the DIY route, make sure you are creating the same style throughout your blog to really impress your blog’s branding on your audience.
One step further: Images Only
One of the best ways to represent your information professionally with maximum visual impact is with Slideshare. This is a presentation sharing platform, dubbed as the ‘Quiet giant of content marketing’. Slideshare is one of the top 100 most visited websites in the world which attracts 159 million page views a month. Not only that, but content on Slideshare aids a blog’s SEO – 80% of it’s traffic is from search. It’s a great worldwide resource, waiting to be mass exploited by bloggers in the race to be most seen, most read and most shared.
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