We get it. We’re all adults here — pictures in articles are a thing we left back in school along with colouring in right? Wrong.
You may think that not including pictures makes the article seem more mature and therefore developed, however, in reality, it’s just boring.
In a society oversaturated with content (not all good), images are not only essential but also the easiest way to grab your reader’s attention.
Strong imagery could be the difference between gaining or losing a reader.
With this in mind, it’s important to know exactly how to balance your text with pictures.
Take, for example, this article about home-schooling by High Life North. The text is split up into simple, easy to read sections along with a corresponding image.
Before the reader knows it, they’ve read the full article without being scared off by the amount of text on the page, great isn’t it?
The benefits of using images
Support your points
One of the most obvious reasons to include images in your article is that they can support your point.
They say an image is worth a thousand words right? So why waste time trying to explain things in the text, when you can simply upload an image?
This especially works in situations where you’re trying to explain an app or a website. As a simple screenshot of the website itself will go a long way to helping most people understand exactly what you’re highlighting.
Help emotionally connect readers
Depending on what you’re article is about, images may be a perfect way to touch your readers on an emotional level.
The power of emotion isn’t something to sniff at. Designers spend their whole lives developing products that encourage emotional connections.
Advertisers are constantly using imagery to elicit emotions to try and maximise sales.
We know images work, so why not use these in your articles?
Improve a page’s SEO
Images are great for SEO. It’s as simple as that.
When you’re writing with SEO in mind, it’s all about making sure that those essential targeted keywords are used throughout the content.
Images are just another thing that allows you to do this, and rather easily at that.
To start with, just making sure that the image file name is meaningful is a great start.
Once you have named your image and it has been uploaded, an ALT tag needs to be added to the image.
Using images also helps you show up more in search engines, as if someone clicks on your image, it will bring them straight to your article.
Choosing the right images
As important images are, they need to be relevant to what you’re writing about.
There are certain things you should look out for when looking for your images.
Review image quality
A blurry image isn’t going to look good. If your image is blurry, you’d almost be better off with no image at all. Same with if your image is too grainy.
Anything less than a clear image will make your article seem unprofessional and quite frankly, lazy.
Add a human touch
We’ve already talked about how it’s good to have images that can make people feel. Images with real people are perfect for this.
Images of humans are powerful, as a reader can connect with this and put themselves in their shoes.
We empathise with the images, this is especially prevalent during Christmas when the ever famous Christmas adverts are released.
This connection makes your article memorable, and you couldn’t ask for much more from an image.
Not all about the emotions
This may seem like a step backwards, but it really isn’t all about the emotions. It all comes down to common sense.
For example, if you’re writing a technical article about how to fix your toilet cistern, your readers probably aren’t looking for any emotional connections and are just wanting something that is informative and straight to the point.
With all of the images that are available on the internet, there really is no reason to use cliché images.
Your readers will have seen these time and time again, and they may be bored because of them.
A picture of two people shaking hands adds nothing to your article and your readers may pick up on this.
Add ALT tags
ALT tags were briefly mentioned earlier on but they really deserve their own special section.
ALT tags are very important and serve three main purposes
- Accessibility: ALT tags are essential for visually impaired web users. Screen readers will read the ALT tag of an image to the user so they can get a sense of exactly what is there.
- Missing Image: If your file doesn’t load, ALT tags are displayed in its place to give a context of what the image originally was.
- SEO: As previously mentioned, ALT tags help search engines index your image properly (as well as help with accessibility, which can help with SEO) but giving the image a description and better, therefore, better context.
It’s important to remember that even though you should be fitting in your keywords, you shouldn’t be overdoing it.
Don’t overstuff your ALT tag with keywords to the point where it doesn’t really make sense. Ideally, it should be descriptive, concise and contain one target keyword.
How do you know that the ALT tag is good?
Read your ALT tag to someone who hasn’t seen the image.
If they can imagine a reasonably accurate image of what you’re describing, you’re on the right lines.
Tips for finding images
Great! You’ve found the perfect photograph! But can you use it? Copyright issues have to be considered.
Unfortunately, you can’t use just any old image you come across on the internet, that is without permission of course.
Whatever you decide, by keeping these points in mind, you can be sure to elevate your articles and get the best out of them!