There are a LOT of reasons to use images. Forget the advertising potential; the right use of color can instantly draw the eye of any viewer without him/her consciously realizing it. Images can convey emotion, causing viewers to feel happy or sad. These powerful tools can give us a piece of imaginary lands or foreign cultures we’d otherwise never experience.
For the Blogging Folk
Let’s assume you are a blogger, writing about your passions. Or maybe you are a ghost writer, selling your work to others. Maybe you are advertising some product, trying to convince others how amazing and beneficial it would be to their lives.
Whatever the reason, there is one simple truth: Webpages Do Not, and Should Not, read like paperback novels.
Those of us ‘old folk’, and even the ‘not so old folk’ that grew up spending late nights in our rooms reading countless long pages of tiny black print found on the novels of old are used to it, sure. You must remember the Hobbit? Lord of the Rings? Who doesn’t remember legendary authors like Steven King and his Dark Tower, or maybe even James Joyce? For those of us that grew up immersing ourselves within the lines of print found on paperback, too many pictures almost dulls the experience.
You know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t… take my word for it.
Times Are A Changin’
Unfortunately, the same experience doesn’t transfer to web browsing. The simple but unavoidable truth is- no one wants to read huge blocks of text, or even worse- huge blocks of unbroken text (Use Paragraphs!). Though it can’t always be avoided, these days it’s good etiquette to break every five or so lines with an image. Give your readers’ eyes a break!
It is so insanely easy to find relevant images these days; why not use them?
Sorry professional photographers. With the concept of ‘Freemium Content’, no one needs to pay for your high resolution images anymore.
‘Freemium Content’ (hang on; I’m about to list a bunch of free sites) is a relatively new (ish) strategy marketers use. By offering some content for free of charge with the potential for paid upgrades, they can maximize their user base and profits. Countless services use this strategy now; nearly all MMORPGs (online multiplayer games, for us old folk) are initially offered for free.
And of course, many bloggers do too. Now, on to the free images-
Free, High Quality Stock Image Sites:
Out of all these, I prefer to use Pixabay. I literally use it every single day; must have uploaded thousands of images by now.
Part of my daily income derives from writing and selling various articles for, well, absolutely anyone who wants them. I also sometimes promote their own articles (or try to).
Wait- why did I say try? It is actually pretty hard to successfully promote a poorly written article. Even worse- an article consisting of humongous blocks of unbroken text, frequent misspellings, and few to no images. The client ends up wondering why I am having trouble driving traffic that actually sticks around instead of navigating away. In the case of Reddit, leaving nasty comments then navigating away.
For you Pinterest enthusiasts, I absolutely LOVE the marketing potential! I love graphic design, and actually enjoy creating pins (scroll up to those free links for all of your graphic needs)!
- Hey- you should totally follow me on Pinterest!
However, there is only so much one can do if the articles said pins link to are poorly written. For Pinterest, creating a great pin is only half the battle; viewers actually need to enjoy/benefit from your written material. If the article reads poorly, Pinterest users will navigate away, likely won’t save your pins, and probably never return.
More Free Stuff (Image Creation)!
You don’t need to use expensive software like Adobe Photoshop to create great pins. In fact, the majority of successful Pinterest users don’t.
Canva – Free image creation tool; can be used to create just about any advertisement for nearly anything your little heart can desire. I use Canva on a daily basis.
PicMonkey – Slightly more advanced Free image creation tool. PicMonkey allows you to do more with your images all the while slowing your pc with all of the advertisements they use. Unless you have a nice bit of ram on your PC, PicMonkey is going to irritate you. Still, it’s worth checking out!
Gimp & PngImg.com – Instead of resorting to Photoshop, one can create transparent PNG’s with these. Of course, the process is probably going to be a whole lot simpler while producing a much cleaner end result with Photoshop.