Using Blog Images in Blog Posts

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Blog Images Make Posts More Readable

I often write blog posts with large walls of text, rarely adding images to the words that I post to these pages, and I think that’s a mistake. A meaningful image can draw the eye, capture the imagination, and often explain more in a single glance than hours of reading and reflection; there is value to good blog images.

Imagine if Babe Ruth kept a blog during his days of home runs and hotdogs, shattering hitting records and showing a larger than life personality. Babe Ruth was one of the greatest pitchers of his time, and then one of the greatest hitters, and when someone excels at a sport, they’re often referred to as “the Babe Ruth of __________.”

Baseball can be broken down into moments of drama, to individual confrontations, such as a pitcher and batter facing off against each other. The pitcher striving to push or sneak or cajole a ball past the hitter, and the batter attempting to impose his will with the bat on the ball. Ruth was an incredible talent, and a single look at his eyes can give you a sense of how he intimidated the strikeout artists of his era. Blogging about Ruth deserves blog images that capture his expressions

An image of George Herman (Babe) Ruth, Jr., posing with bat in hand and malice towards baseballs in his heart.

If Babe Ruth had a blog, you’d want to see pictures. Images of the stadiums he conquered, the outfield bleachers with fans chasing down his home runs, the players who shared his exploits, and the players who were victims of his hits.

I often write about patents, and sometimes those are accompanied by images that help explain and define what’s described in those documents. Those images often look somewhat mechanical, like this:

an automated system for judging balls and strikes over home plate.

Rather than capturing more drama like this play at second base:

An umpire judging a play at second base, note the baseball on the ground behind the second baseman's right leg.

Choosing blog images for posts can be challenging, and it can sometimes be easier to have an image in mind as you’re writing, than trying to add one as an afterthought. You don’t have to include pictures in your posts, but the effort can be worth the time.

Adding Blog Images to Posts

Most blogging software includes a way to upload images to your post from your computer. WordPress has a media library that you can use to add images to your posts:

A screenshot of where you can upload images to WordPress in their media library.

I usually like to use an FTP program to upload images to my server, and then link directly to those images from my posts, but the media library is fairly easy to use in WordPress.

Blogger has a button that you can press to add an image to a blog post that leads to this screen:

The image upload screen in Blogger that lets you add images to your blog posts.

The Dangers of Hotlinking

Note that Blogger gives you the option of “Adding an image from the Web.” I’d like to add a word of caution about doing that.

If you link to a picture on another site, that practice is known as Hotlinking.

The image usually will show up in your post, but it could disappear if the server that hosts it goes down for one reason or another.

a picture of the severed fiber optic cable that disconnected the data center my site is hosted upon.

Or the owner of the picture might not be happy that you’re using the picture and using their server’s bandwidth by linking directly to the picture, and they may either remove the picture from their server or give it a new name so that it no longer appears on your page.

They may even replace the image with another one, possibly with a new image that might be embarrassing for one reason or another. I’m not going to show an example of one of those 🙂

Besides, and just as important, chances are that many of the pictures you see on the web are protected by copyright, and should only be used with permission or by license. If you don’t want a potential legal battle on your hands, you should be careful about using images that you find on the Web.

Public Domain and Creative Commons

If you have a camera, or if you’re good at drawing, you may want to use your images with your blog posts. I’m not a great photographer, but I do take a good picture every so often.

Chances are that you can also find images to use that are in the public domain. Public domain images are pictures that aren’t protected by copyright for one reason or another. One reason is that the copyright of those images may have expired.

There are public domain galleries on the Web where you can download images, and then use them on your website. If you have an old book that’s out of copyright, and it contains illustrations, you can scan those and use them on your site.

Another reason why an image might be in the public domain is that the picture was created by a government worker during the normal course of work for the government. Not all images on government websites are in the public domain because the government might have paid for the use of some of those images, but if a picture was created by a government employee and used for government purposes, then there’s a good chance that it is in the public domain.

A poster promoting the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps.

A good example is the posters that were created under the Work Projects Administration by people working for the US Government. Those can be found at the US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Many people have published images on the Web under a Creative Commons license which you may be able to use on your web pages, depending upon how you are using them, and if you provide credit and possibly a link back to the creator of the image. I’ve used creative commons images in presentations that I’ve given as well.

There are millions of pictures at Flickr that have been published under a Creative Commons License. Note that there are many different Creative Common’s licenses. Read the license attached to any images that you might want to use first before you use it. Some allow for commercial use of images, while others only allow non-commercial uses of their images. Some allow you to create new images based upon the original image, while others don’t. Most require that the person who created the image be given credit (or attribution) for the image.

In Closing

Engaging and meaningful blog images can enhance your posts, and turn good posts into great ones. I’m going to be trying to use more images in my blog posts, to help break down some of the walls of text that I usually post.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb face off against each other, each with a handful of bats over one shoulder.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb understood the meaning of having more than one bat at hand to get hits.

Adding blog images to your posts may not turn you into the “Babe Ruth of Blogging”, but they might help you attract more readers.

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95 thoughts on “Using Blog Images in Blog Posts”

  1. This post came at perfect timing for me. I’m new to the blogging world, but was looking into incorporating images into my blog posts. I wasn’t comfortable hotlinking, but was unsure what other options there were. Now I know! Thank you!

  2. Nice to see you subtly reminding people you’re not just the “SEO patent guy”. You’re a smart marketer with a lot of experience and insight to offer to people. I’ve really enjoyed your off-patent posts lately.

  3. Hi Bill well said about the images and you know not enough persons who write blogs use images in them. Images can be not only a great selling point but a resting point too. I think visitors tend to find long blog posts that look like a Times Broadsheet quite daunting – it’s a lot to read without any let-ups. Pictures will sell a visitor on first glance and they can easily come back to a longer article and carry on where they left off if they have some kind of image or marker.

    WordPress links to images when they are uploaded and I think it’s a good idea to remove the link and set it to NONE when you are uploading. The issue with images that they create their own page or pup in a new window is that you end up creating new pages with no content just an image unless you have tweaked the SEO performance out of that page.

    A picture speaks a ….

  4. Thanks for sharing this information with the Piedmont Meet Up Group. As newbie Blogger’s this was valuable information for the group. I will share this info on my FB page.

  5. I recently started adding images to blog posts across all of my blogs, and it definitely gets more action. I’m even using it on my new blog. It only takes a minute or 2, and i definitely helps.

  6. Hi Priscilla,

    You’re welcome. Some sites where you can get images do allow you to hotlink to them, but there are still a couple of issues with doing that. One is that if they close, or change their domain, or remove the images that you’ve hotlinked to, then it disappears from your site.

    Good to hear that I’ve provided you with a number of other options. Good luck with your new blog.

  7. Thanks for the tips! I am creating a webpage that ranks well under the Google and Bing query “rankmaniac 2011” for a class project, and I am going to put more pictures in my posts to make them more attractive.

  8. Hi Micheal,

    I had a few people asking me about using images in their blogs, and they requested that I write a post about it. It is good taking a break from the patents from time to time, and showing people that I do know how to do something other than just write about patents. 🙂

    Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I’ve been thinking about adding a few more non-patent posts to the mix here.

  9. Hi Vincent,

    Great point on people being able to use images as logical stopping and starting places within blog posts.

    To get into some of the technical SEO for a little while, pages that only contain images are probably viewed as dangling nodes by a search engine using something like PageRank. There was an interesting discussion about dangling nodes in an IBM patent a couple of years ago, which I wrote about in Search Indexing Dead Ends: IBM Patent Explores Dangling Nodes

  10. Hi Susan,

    Thanks, and thanks for sharing a link to this post on your FB page. I’d really like to see the blogging community grow locally, and think the Piedmont Blogging group has the potential to help that happen, so I’m happy to participate.

  11. I’m extremely guilty of not using images. I write technical articles, and I struggle to find time to squeeze them in my work week. Finding the right image takes time, and that’s usually time I don’t have. But people wanting to see code snippets are usually okay with not seeing images…at least I hope.

  12. I am not big on adding images to my post, but I have found that it benefits me, I have garnered links, because someone needed an example of something, and all they could find was my photo (showing the importance of properly naming and handling of images in a post), and they have driven traffic through a user searching Google images. More importantly though, I found a good image can help illuminate a topic for the reader, which is my main goal.

  13. For me you don’t need to add images to your blog posts, as long as the content is rich in information it doesn’t need any visual enhancements. Also which images do you add when discussing google patents, a historical image of the local patent office? No, please keep on posting quality content and care less about graphics.

  14. This is a really lovely post and one that conveys a good point; pictures have a purpose but only when used in the right places. I think the right picture (as in your case here) can really set off a blog post, but it can make readers look elsewhere for their information if it’s done wrong.
    Thanks for this Bill, I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  15. Not using images in blog posts is a sure fire way to limit the amount of shares and links you get from your posts. People tend to react more with images in the posts. Speaking of which… great post.

  16. Good post. Not only are pictures important for having a good quality blog, but also keeping the blog content concise. I hate it when people write a life story on their blog. They forget that in 2 seconds I can be on another blog so yes…. pictures and a concise post help a lot.

  17. I think inserting images in your blog makes your articles more readable, so it is necessary to pick the perfect image to attract reader.
    Thanks for the post, I like it.

  18. Bill,
    You really hit a ‘home run’ with that post. You approached the copyright issue in a great way…(coming from a photographer) Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  19. Well I love using images in my blog posts and I totally recommend it but what I preach is that people should use images they do have the rights to use and not just use images from Google Images.

    Trust me, getting sued isn’t fun. lol

  20. Bill – great post. Showing me hot to add pictures and images in WordPress with a picture was awesome. For “commercial use” does one have to be making money from their blog activities?

  21. I use images from Flickr creative commons with attribution. There are some wonderful photos available there. I got this idea from Tim Ferris.

  22. When I first began using pictures on blog posts I was a little bit hesitant. I didn’t know if I really, truly wanted to add so much clutter. Once I converted, I was really converted. I LOVE photos with blog posts now. They add spice, life and help to get your message to readers. Thanks for sharing.

  23. I feel more like the Barry Bonds of blogging – utilizing an unfair advantage (SEO) to gain one up on the competition. This interplay between Google’s love of text and design/aesthetic is something that plagues me everyday – often told by clients they want a prettier site. I agree there is a middle ground, just to find it 🙂

  24. It is true, images are a great way to split up large blog posts and can often summarise efficiently what you are trying to convey. I try and use photos or some kind of imagery in the excerpts of my posts as well, in addition the posts themselves and view the sourcing of a good image as an important part of creating a post rather than a chore. 🙂

  25. Great post! I wanted to add that when posting pic’s on a blog like WordPress you can really drag down your Google ranking due to speed. WordPress by itself is a pretty heavy program because of all the unnecessary PHP calls, especially if your using a poorly coded “freebie” theme. If your hosting provider isn’t up to snuff or has a gazillion other sites on a tired old server… more lost speed. Now add giant picture files and really slooooooowly watch your site load.

    Always compress your pictures. Obviously certain websites need super detailed images but the majority don’t. That being said, a well named picture can help your site come up in image searches. I have a client whose website (product manufacturing) is constantly being found through Google’s image search.


  26. Bill:

    Nice descriptive article. Very helpful. Terrific topic and wonderful reference to the great Babe Ruth.

    While I’m too young to have ever seen the great Babe Ruth, my father told a story about seeing him I never forgot.

    My father was the son of pretty poor immigrants, living in NYC. He had a couple of wealthier uncles who often took my father, his brother and sister out to various events. Those uncles and aunts greatly expanded the opportunities afforded to my father and his siblings.

    One time one of those uncles took my father and his brother to a Yankee game where they got to see the great Babe Ruth. It was a thrill for both my father and uncle. Even more astounding was that after the game his uncle brought my father and his brother to a “gin mill” for some after game refreshments.

    To my father’s delight, who was sitting at the bar, drinking beer and eating hot dogs? The great Babe Ruth.

    What my father recalled were huge quantities of beer and hot dogs being consumed by the “great one”….and a surprising amount of loud flatulence.

    Not sure if I could or would want to add a picture to that description. Regardless my father never forgot the experience and I haven’t forgotten his description.

    Regardless of that situation, pictures are “worth a thousand words” and I appreciate your article and its helpful hints.


  27. I never hot-link. That just seems like stealing to me. Besides, there is always the chance that they could catch you and replace it with something seriously disturbing as you pointed out. I have heard some serious horror stories…;)

  28. Hi Bill. Quite right about hotlinking. WP makes it easy to do and many would not realize the dangers. As you suggest, there have been some image substitutions which would cause great embarrassment.

  29. This was very good information. I have been struggling with the pictures for posts forever. Anittah mentioned Flickr but in Flickr you can only use what is in the Creative Commons right? There are not a lot of options for pictures there. I looked all over that site and can’t find if I am allowed to use anything beyond the Creative Commons. Can anyone help with that?

  30. Hi Dor,

    Adding images to your class project page sounds like a good idea, but I wish that class projects like yours were more about learning about the Web itself than trying to rank for some nonsense term in the major search engines. I’m not sure how much that actually teaches you.

  31. Hi Joseph

    Finding a helpful image, or creating one can take time, but I think it’s often worth the effort.

    There are times when I’ve spent so long writing a post that I just want to hit the “publish” button without adding a picture or two, and send the post out into the world, but when I look back at earlier posts, I do find that I like the posts with pictures in them better.

  32. Hi Frank,

    More importantly though, I found a good image can help illuminate a topic for the reader, which is my main goal.

    I used to write tutorials for a number of my co-workers when we introduced new software for them to use, and screenshots made it a lot easier for them to understand and to jump right into using those programs. They also cut down on the amount of time that I would have to spend going from desk to desk and teaching people individually how to get the most out of those programs. There was a real benefit in including those images.

    Good points on image search, and on bringing more readers to your pages. A meaningful and relevant image that is properly named, has good alt text, and an appropriate caption can also help a page rank higher in search results as well by bringing additional signals to the page that a search engine can use to rank the page.

  33. Hi Andreas,

    I do think that the right image can make a difference for many readers. I know that while many people do get a lot out of textual content, there are others who learn and understand a concept better when an image is used, and the combination of both text and images can enhance a post tremendously.

    When patents are published, they are filed along with images that aim to illustrate the concepts in the patents. Sometimes those are flow charts that show steps in a process. Sometimes they include shots of computer screens which show us how something might be implemented, and may give us a sneak peek at a future feature from one of the search engines. The language of a patent can often be both very technical and filled with legaleze, and those images often provide insights that the patents can’t on their own.

    Rather than a historical image of the patent office, if and when I use images on a post about a patent, I usually try to include one from the patent filing itself if I believe that it will help present the ideas in that patent in a way that’s easy to understand.

  34. Hi Vlad,

    Conciseness is one of those things that can be very useful in a blog post, and the right images can help. When people ask my advice on how long a blog post should be, I usually tell them that it should be as long as it needs to be. Sometimes that can be a handful of words, and sometimes it can be much longer (I don’t tend to write very short posts myself). If I’m writing about a patent filing that’s 25,000 words long, and I can get a post of only 1,500 words out of it, I figure I’ve achieved some level of conciseness. 🙂

  35. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks. I’m not sure that a blog post needs to use an image to be successful and attract links and social shares, but I do think it can help to create an enjoyable post if the right images are used.

  36. Hi JP,

    Thank you. On the Web, it’s easy for people to change the channel. 🙂

    The right picture in the right place can definitely enhance a post, and it can be a creative endeavor for the writer as well. I try to carry my point-and-shoot camera around with me, and snap random images when I find something interesting. I often don’t use those images in posts, but sometimes it happens that the right picture just happens to be in my gallery of images. That’s pretty fun when it happens.

  37. Hi Karl,

    Readability is a pretty important part of using pictures, and it’s part of the fun of deciding where to place images, and how to write about them when putting your posts together.


  38. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for expanding upon the metaphor that I’ve been using with this post, and the compliment. It was a fun post to write, and I’m happy that you got something out of it.

  39. Hi Anittah,

    Flickr is a great site, and it can make it easy to insert images into a post. I’ve used it in the past to store my images, though I tend to self host most of my images here these days.

  40. Hi Mohammad,

    Just read a post the other day from a copywriter’s blog about how they ended up settling a possible lawsuit for thousands of dollars for an image that they could have purchased the rights to use for $10. It is a very good idea to make sure that you have the rights to use an image that you include in a blog post.

  41. Hi Pat E.,

    That’s a tough question, regarding commercial use, because there are a number of different types of commercial use. For instance, if you take an image and include it on a coffee mug or a calendar, and sell that product, it’s clearly a commercial use. If you have a website that you charge people to access, and the only people who see it are subscribers, and you use an image, that’s still clearly a commercial use. If you have adsense ads on your blog, and you use images, it’s not as clear, but it’s still possibly commercial use.

    Creative Commons does have some information on their site about “non-commercial use,” and a fairly long study about what people think of when they hear the term “non-commercial use,” but they don’t define “commercial use” itself on their pages.

    There are a number of Creative Commons licenses that allow for commercial use in exchange for attribution, including millions at my link to Flickr above, that are searchable. Chances are good that you can find an image that might fit most things that you may be writing about that you could use even if you just earn adsense on your blog as a commercial activity, or if you are engaged in more commercial activities than that.

  42. Hi Dana,

    I’ve used a few in the past from Flickr as well, even before Tim Ferris started touting the idea of a 4-hour workweek. I’ve had a few of my own photos on Flicker used in projects like a documentary and calendar from PBS on a town in Maryland, and on a website about rural communities and green development. I was excited and happy about both uses of my images.

  43. Hi Christian,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with including images in your posts. It can be a lot of fun to decide which pictures to match up with a post, and it does add a nice element to both writing and to reading posts.

  44. Hi Matthew,

    I’m not sure that it’s fair to compare SEO to performance enhancing drugs. 🙂

    Just like using the right image on your page can improve the quality and enjoyability of a blog post, having some knowledge of how search engines work and the language that your audience might use to find your post and may expect to see on your pages can also improve the quality of what you’re writing.

    And a meaningful image, with appropriate alt text, file name and caption can have the potential to rank in image search and make the page that it appears upon rank higher in search results. Rather than harming a page by presenting a focus that might be too much upon aesthetics, an intelligent use of images can both enhance the page itself and the likelihood that the page might be found through a search engine.

  45. Hi Tom,

    Nice idea to include images in excerpts for posts as well as in the body of the post itself. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I will sometimes make sure that I include an image close enough to the top of a post so that when someone is viewing the home page of my blog, they see some images in the excerpts presented there. I don’t do that for every post, but I try to make sure that some of them are represented that way. In this post, for instance, I purposefully made sure that the first image would show up on the front page by where I placed it.

    Thanks for the advice.

  46. Hi Leah,

    Thank you for the suggestions.

    I think it’s important that when you post an image on any website that you are careful to optimize the image by compressing the file size, and by resizing the image so that it fits the dimensions that you want to display it at. There are many image editing programs that allow you to do that, and if you do, unless you flood a post with pictures, chances are good that you won’t negatively impact the download time of a page in a way that would cause it to not rank as well as it might otherwise.

  47. Hi Dave,

    Thank you in turn for the great anecdote.

    Babe Ruth was larger that life in the media, in the history of baseball, and in actual physical dimensions. I don’t think we can consider hotdogs and beer to be performance enhancing, but he was well known for his fondness of both. 🙂

  48. Hi Steve,

    I once had someone hotlink to an image of the Alabama flag from one of the pages I was responsible for, and they shrunk it down to a 16×16 avatar (barely identifiable) on a very popular sports forum. It was getting over 10,000 views a day, and it was pretty tempting to replace it with something else, except that whatever I might replace it with might be too hard to read or see at that size. I ended up renaming my image and changing the links to it on the website.

    But you’re right, people do sometimes replace their images when someone hotlinks to them, and sometimes those replacement images aren’t very nice or very pretty at all.

  49. Hi Mark,

    There are some situations where hotlinking isn’t that bad – like using an image from your own Flickr account. But, other than that, it’s not always a wise move. 🙂

  50. Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you. If you follow the link in my post labeled Flickr, it brings you to the page where you can search for images for different types of Creative Common’s licenses. There are a number of them (millions), and some of those can only be used on noncommercial sites. So, if your site is a commercial one, you may not be able to use some of those Creative Commons images.

    As for non-creative common’s pictures, if you find an image that you like at Flickr that doesn’t have a Creative Commons License, you could possibly contact the person who published it, and ask them if you could use their picture.

    I also included a link to a page that lists a number of image directories/galleries that are in the Public Domain. Since there is no copyright on those (it’s either expired, or they were published directly as public domain images), they don’t have Creative Commons’ licenses.

  51. Bill, thank you very much for taking the time to answer that. I do appreciate and it makes more sense at this point. Jennifer

  52. Bill,

    that makes so much sense. I used to have a lot of text on my blog and not so many images, but ever since I started incorporating pictures and videos into my posts, I have noticed a low bounce rate, and more time spent in site… and revenues are up:)

    I can’t say it is JUST because of the images/videos in the blog, but it is certainly a part of it.

  53. As I run a travel blog, images are very important. They play a part in every post. Usually one good large image to start the feel and mood off, then smaller images set with text further down.

    It breaks the monotony of large text content sites a lot. One of the biggest issues I have though is google image search not being so keen on photographs hosted on another site (photohosting). showing on your own site. Even if the two are linked in webmasters etc.

    I’ve another much smaller site where all the photos are hosted on the same site, and it’s image crawled a lot. Shame.

  54. Hi Tom,

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. I imagine that some of the longer time spent on site has to do with people spending time watching videos, but increased revenues are a positive as well.

  55. Hi Dave,

    Some very nice looking images on the site linked to with your name. They add a lot to the enjoyment of the posts as well.

    Good point on Google Images. If you don’t host your own images on your own site, Google may not associate those images with your pages in image search. I know a few people who do get a lot of traffic to their sites through image search, so that’s a point worth thinking about.

  56. I’ve hotlinked pictures only once before, and I honestly did not like it.

    It was on my freshly created blog where I had my website resting at a web host that was free. And since I wasn’t paying anything – the hosting obviously sucked. So I tried saving as much space as possible by hotlinking pictures instead of having to upload them myself.

    The owner of the website where I hotlinked the image to sent me an e-mail telling me to remove the picture. I, for some strange reason, refused.

    The next morning I woke up, he or she had replaced that picture with a very interesting picture so to say. Can’t really tell you more than that, but I hope you get my point 🙂


  57. I learned early that pics were incredibly important to blogging. I got an account at The quality seems great. Yes I have to pay a bit but the feedback is worth it.

    Great post!

  58. I love the content you write on here for its depth and detail, but you are right. Sometimes it is an almost daunting amount of text with no images to break anything up. Taking things a step further some of the best content online is graphically explained – “infographics”, they might take a bit of time to produce but look fantastic and often attract a lot of attention.

  59. i’ve just started a new blog, kind of a split test I guess as well, but I’ve added pictures like crazzy and I’m getting a lot bigger response! we are a visual generation =)

  60. I was interested to learn people were using image search as an effective way to generate traffic. Never thought of that before! I try to use at least one image in blog posts and try to make it an interesting one that gets people to click from excerpts and links etc.

  61. In fear of hotlinking and and loosing my bandwidth I host all my images on third party sites like picasaweb, imageshack which then I embed on my posts…

  62. Interesting piece. I have enough trouble being active with my blog and when I’m done its all text. I’m glad you offered suggestions on where to find graphics or how to come up with them.

  63. Hi Nabil,

    That’s definitely something that you don’t want to experience. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Sometimes the situation you find yourself in, such as a hosting account that doesn’t have much space might make it tempting.

    You were fortunate that the person who owned the image sent you an email first. Unfortunate in that you didn’t listen.

  64. Hi James,

    Thank you.

    Infographics can be very well done, but it bothers me a little at how people focus upon them not so much to attract visitors to their pages as they do to attract links.

  65. Hi Gus,

    Thank you. My only concern with using stock photo sites is that sometimes the images are too good, and too polished. A lot of websites use them, and show us images of people who have been airbrushed so much that they just look at little too perfect. 🙂

  66. Hi Seth,

    I’ve been surprised sometimes by how much traffic some images bring to my pages. I’ve also seen sites filled with images that get a big percentage of their visits from image search. It’s definitely not something to ignore.

  67. Hi Nasif,

    That’s a strategy that’s worth following. Those sites expressly allow you to embed images onto your pages. I don’t do too much of that, though sometimes I’ll embed an image of mine from Flickr. But I do pay attention to my analytics, just in case someone is hotlinking to one of my images and using up a lot of my bandwidth.

  68. Hi Scott,


    There are a lot of images available for you to use on the Web. And as I wrote above, I like to carry my camera around with me and take some pictures every so often. I’ve been getting tired of making posts that are blocks of text as well. 🙂

  69. I am new, having just started a blog in Nov, 2010. Because I have seen quite a few blogs and how they are made up, successful, etc., I started to realize most do use images. After reading a post at one particular place, I was introduced to a plug-in called “insights” (I apologise if anyone up above has already mentioned this, I didn’t read ALL of them).
    The cool thing is that as you are writing a post, not only can you use a keyword to find a related post from your blog (deep linking), but it will also find images from the web. I have used this now a few times and it works well. Although, you may have to be creative on your keyword selection to find one that will relate.
    Another suggestion is to use and, to find humorous images to catch the eye.
    Thanks for a great post and have a good one!…..:)

  70. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the suggestion on the plugin and the picture search sites. I haven’t tried the particular plug-in that you mentioned but it sounds useful.

  71. I find i usually look for an image that has been used by a fair few people by checking it out in Google images first, then will upload to the server either by ftp or from Wp, but i try to put at least one photo and whenever i can a vid.

  72. Hi Danny,

    An image that has been used by a lot of other people may still be under someone else’s copyright. It’s possible that those other people either paid to license the use of the image or are using it without permission or license. There’s still potentially liability issues involved.

  73. Hi Max,

    Adding a meaningful image or two to a page can help that page rank better in search results if they are relevant to the terms used in a query. They add some additional signals that search engines can use to help rank a page, such as the file name of the image or images, any caption that might be used, and alt text for the pictures as well.

  74. In some niches, you can even get some traffic from your images. A quick tip is to put your keywords in the alt, title, and caption. If you want to get crazy, you can upload your image into a keyword named directory on your server, too! Flickr images rank well if they are keyword rich, too. Take care.

  75. Hi Jared,

    Absolutely, valuable traffic can potentially come from links in many different niches. I’m not sure that it’s necessary to upload images into a keyword named directory on your server.

  76. Hi Bill, I’ve been clicking around your blog and learning a lot about blogging and SEO. I’ve never bothered to put captions on my pictures, but after reading this I know that it would be a good thing to do. I try to use my own photos, or something that I found using Google and the search terms free clipart. Thanks for your blog – I’ve bookmarked it to come back to and read some more at a later date when I’m not quite so tired (it’s almost 1am, way past bed time.)

  77. Hi Randy,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I’ve taken to carrying around a little point-and-shoot camera around with me most of the time, and taking at least a few pictures everyday of things I see that look interesting.

    Definitely try out some captions with your images. Chances are very good that Google notices them.

  78. I co-own a site that sells flower seeds. Imagine how important it is to have pictures displayed on it! I am embarrassed to say I found out the hard way that using a picture from other parts of Flickr, not just the Creative Commons, is wrong. I wish I would have found this post last year! The owner of the picture was truly understanding and allowed me to remove the picture without legal action, but I learned my lesson and have read this post more than a few times to make sure I am getting my pictures the “right” way. Thanks!

  79. What’s the difference between a caption and alt text on a picture? I’m still a novice and am easily confused.

  80. Hi Becky,

    It’s a painful but good lesson to learn. I carry a small point and shoot camera around with me most of the time, and take lots of pictures of things I think are interesting, and sometimes use some of those in posts. I figure one of the best ways to become a better photographer is to take lots of pictures, and sometimes I take a good shot. The more I take, the better I seem to be getting at it, and I’m developing a nice library of images that I can use for my pages.

  81. Hi Randy,

    A caption is visible text on a page that’s associated with an image, like you might see in a print publication. Alt Text is text that people won’t see on a page unless they hover their mouse pointer over a picture, and which a search engine or screen reader might use as a description of that picture. If you set your browser to not display images, which I think people are doing less and less of, you would see the alt text for a picture instead of the picture itself.

  82. My blog is about fashion, so not using images would be a surefire way to limit readers. Also, i like to base my blogging on what I like to see around the net and images are essential.

  83. Hi Luciana,

    Some topics do just demand images, and your’s is definitely one of them. When I write about things like computer algorithms, it can be hard to decide images to show, and I think I can sometimes get away with that. But, I’d rather show some kind of image in a post.

  84. Thanks for this information about images in blog posts. With the emergence of another round of web applications and properties where images are the centerpiece (Pinterest and Instagram come immediately to mind), it is becoming critical to include images in all of your blog posts.

    If you want your content to be seen (let alone consumed), you WANT your posts “pinned” to Pinterest (you’ll get a traffic bump); make it easy for your readers to share your content on Pinterest and other image-based websites by including images within your posts.

    Be original, too. It’s easy to grab something off a Google image search, but don’t be surprised if you get a take down notice. Take your own pictures or make your own drawings. They’re original, you own them, and people like them better anyways.

  85. Hi Bill,

    Thank you.

    I’ve been carrying around a point and shoot camera with me to take some new pictures everyday, and I think I’m becoming a better photographer because of it. Using your own images can be a really good idea.

    The web does seem to be moving towards becoming a more visual medium, and a great image can help draw visitors to your posts. Facebook and Google Plus will pull images from your posts when they are shared. People seem to be posting more images through twitter. Sites like Pinterest are places where people strive to find great images to share at.

  86. Adding images to blog attracts the visitors and provoke them to read the posts. Also I never forget to add “Alt” tag for the images in each post.

  87. I’m really glad I came across this blog, as I’m one of those newbies learning the trade. I’ve been adding pictures right from the start, and I use wordpress’s built in system for it. Never really thought of hotlinking, because thankfully i’m web saavy enough to know that a) it can be taken down at any time, or worse b) exchanged with some nudity or something which would humiliate me.

    But here’s a question: Can i go to google images, and just download images I find that are appropriate? I mean my blog is small, I barely get more than 30 viewers a day, so like is that legal? I’m talking about actually downloading it, and uploading on my own server.

  88. Thank you for posting this article. It’s very helpful, and something I needed to hear again. A fellow blogger critiqued my site, and told me I needed to add some more images. That was just a few days ago, and now I stumble on your blog discussing the same thing. Is it a sign? Well, yes! Of course it is! I’m going to start adding more images to my posts with my next post.

  89. Thanks for the post, very informative.

    I do have one question, though. What’s your view on ‘decorative’ images, for example: I couldn’t find a relevant image for one of my first blog posts, so I decided to choose a nice sunset image. Do you think there’s any purpose in using images in this way? Or is it better to just use no image at all?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts,

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