Have you ever wanted to pin a well written blog post, but they didn’t have any images? (traffic killer!) Or wondered what the heck a photo had to do with that article?
Don’t let that be you!
There is a huge search engine (Pinterest) and most social media channels waiting to send you boatloads of traffic if you can nail your visual approach.
Did you know visual aids increase learning and retention by 400%? If we’re spending this much time on writing words and we can help readers retain 400% more of our info, you can bet your knickers we can do better than throwing up an image at the last minute so we can hit publish.
While I’m a HUGE Photoshop Elements * fan and do 90% of my editing work in there, I thought I’d share a basic and free option that does the job, PicMonkey. It’s especially helpful if you’re editing pictures on your work computer at lunch! #alwayshustling
How can you help your post stand out with fantastic images? I’m so glad you asked!
Follow these 6 image edits to make before you publish your blog post:
1. Be Legal: Image Licensing
Have you noticed a link and the word “Getty” under a cool picture? That’s the writer giving the legally-required attribution to the image author/owner, Getty Images. And you have to do it, in most cases.
There are so many variances to creative common licenses and requirements from image owners, that I couldn’t possibly cover them all here.
The best business practice I could suggest before publishing an image is this:
- Read the terms and conditions of the source first.
- If allowed, use the image with the owner name and link to the original article/image.
- Comply if asked to remove the image from the owner.
You can Google “creative commons” if you want to learn more, but just remember, give credit where credit is due.
Why don’t you see image credits on most of my posts? Because I pay for each open source image, meaning, I pay to not give credit. Not that I don’t want to, I just don’t want to get it wrong and end up with a pissed off image owner. This is one of my blogging indulgences!
2. Resize your images
Suggested image sizes depend on your niche. If you are in the home decor, fashion, lifestyle, food, or travel niches, you will have larger images and more of them. Your blog post images will most likely be in the 500-700 pixels wide range.
If your blog is more news related, you can get away with a large featured image and maybe a smaller one included in the article.
To resize your images, go to PicMonkey>Edit>Computer (or other location) and open your file. In “basic edits” on the left (the crop icon), scroll to the bottom and click “Resize”.
3. Make a Pinterest image
Making an image for your blog post specifically for Pinterest can drive massive amounts of traffic to your site. I italicized can because there are 3 factors that determine a fabulous pin: a beautiful, pinnable image + optimized description + great content that helps readers. So let’s tackle the first one; a beautiful, pinnable image.
The best Pinterest images are long, about 150% longer than the width. I see a lot around the 750 w x 1125 h size. Since they are so large, most people either put them at the end of their post or hide it. If you pinned this page, you’ll see there is an extra image available made just for Pinterest that you can’t see why you’re reading this article.
If you want to know more about creating images just for Pinterest, read this and scroll to the bottom to find out how to hide images in blog posts.
To start designing a new image in PicMonkey, click Design>Custom and input your desired size. This gives you a blank canvas. You can insert pictures (“overlays”, the butterfly icon) and add your own pictures from your computer. You can even adjust their transparency.
Next you’ll want to add the title of your pin/post by “Add Text”. If you don’t like how the text reads on top of your picture, consider adding a lighter or darker box behind your text, like this:
While this image is far too short and squatty for Pinterest, you get the idea of overlays. In the picture above, I added:
- a regular bright picture
- turned up the brightness to wash it out a little.
- a white, rectangle overlay about 1/3 of the picture size to put my blog post title on top of
- straight lines to frame that overlay
- two text boxes- first is “how to put your” and the second “WordPress site in Maintenance Mode”
- the last overlay was my website in the bottom right corner.
Rarely will you have a picture that is perfect the way it is, especially if you’re taking your own.
You can perform all the “basic edits” in PicMonkey like sharpen, highlights, shadows, contrast, saturation, temperature, etc by clicking the crop icon.
As I mentioned in the example in #3, it’s important to watermark your images for credit.
How many of us in the past have gone to Google Images and right-clicked, then “copy image?” <raises hand> Since we’re bloggers now and we know better than to rip off other people’s property and repost, you’ll want to protect yours from the same thing by adding a watermark.
I was chatting with an acquaintance a few years ago that described having one of her designs ripped off by a major retailer. To be fair, it was ripped off by a company that sold to this retailer. Regardless, it was being sold in stores and she decided to pursue payment for her work.
How could she prove it? Her image properties for starters, but it was way easier than that. She also had her logo faintly and obscurely embedded in the artwork. Boom! Check, please. (They did pay her a percentage and pulled the product.)
Watermarking your photos is super easy to do too!
- Save the image you’re working on now.
- Create a new image, about 250 x 75, and add your text/logo.
- Save as a .png file.
- Open your Pinterest image and add an overlay of your logo. Resize the logo so it doesn’t detract from your message.
For SEO purposes, all of your images should have a keyword rich name that relates to your blog post.
For example, the header image in this post has a title of “Image Edits for Blog Posts”. Isn’t that much better than “dsc_0411”?
Search engines cannot see your images (yet), but they do read your file name and alt tag!
Compress your images.
While photo-heavy sites need to do this, it’s also a good idea for the rest of us. Eventually, we’ll have years worth of big photo files dragging down our site speed.
A tool I’m loving right now is compressor.io. It’s reducing my file sizes by 50-75% and it’s free! Now you’re talking my love language;)
While your publishing kick-ass content, don’t forget to add some equally awesome images. You never know when that one image could help your post go viral!
Have a great weekend and see you back on Monday!
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