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An Essential Guide to Web Images


Visual content and design communication is important. In the digital industry we know how important the right Twitter image and Facebook image is for a successful update. In this post, we’ll guide you on how to have the best quality images for your website, blog and social media channels.

What makes a good image?

Frankly speaking, there are no rules for what makes a good image.

However, the definition of what a good picture is can vary. Commonly a good image is something that’s decided by taste and the purpose of the image.

An attractive and appealing image arouses curiosity and the key to a good image is the quality, which is vital. Some images are good because they are simple and send a clear message to the viewer, and other images are good because they tell a story. An image can also be razor-sharp or consist of attractive colours or surprising content. In other words, a good image has many elements, and as we all know: a picture speaks a thousand words so your image shouldn’t need any further explanation.

When writing content you’re hoping for a reaction from your reader and the same applies to your images.

Uploading the image to your own server

When you find the image for your digital content piece and you’re sure that your rights are secure the easiest option is to copy the actual link where you’ve found your image and source it in your post.

Make your digital content more vibrant with images

A blog should be dynamic and inspiring to visit, and therefore your images will be important; you need some sort of illustration to catch the reader’s attention. That image can be a picture that describes the topic you’re highlighting or for instance a logo from the product you’re writing about.

Remember the rights

Not all images are free to use and with a huge amount of digital content coming out every day, you have to consider the rights and it is not always easy to figure out if the images you’ve found are free to use.

When choosing your image it’s important to consider the client’s needs and wishes

A travel blog is all about having the right images to capture the reader’s attention. When working for travel clients, you would assume that the biggest point of interest like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Times Square in New York would make the most appealing photos. It is, but to bring something new to the table you can consider including an image with the New Yorker vibe and not necessarily just the best view of a building. A blog often has a certain personal angle, so the more authentic and playful your image is the better.

You can also pay attention to current trends in advertising as to the types of images that brands are choosing to identify themselves with. At the Content Marketing Show in Brighton this year, Nadia Barmada of Getty Images highlighted wonky camera angles and selfie-inspired “point of view” perspectives as popular visual styles among brands in 2014.

New York City
Streets of New York, seen from a smaller creature’s point of view. Via Gratisography
Don’t waste your images

The chances are probably high that you still have images from your childhood. Use your own images. When growing up, living life and travelling most people have a camera in their hand. If not a camera then a phone. Use your own images for campaigns and digital content. It’s free and can save you time and energy.

Every content writer should know Creative Commons. ‘CC’ is a non-profit organisation that enables people in the creative industry to search images legal to use.

Where to find salacious images

There is a wealth of image-sites online. Some are free and others you have to pay a fee.

Stock image websites:

Death to the Stock Photo – Free once-a-month stock photos. Recommended by Wired magazine among others.

Unsplash – Provides a free email-newsletter every ten days with high-resolution photos.

New Old Stock – Vintage photos from free to use from public archives.

Image search engines:

Creative Commons search – Creative Commons images on Flickr. Using CC images often makes a direct reference to the owner of the image.

Pixabay – Free photo search-engine

iStock – releases a new lot of stock images every week. They are free to use you just need to sign up.

Pic Jumbo – Archive with free to use photos.

Photo Pin – Helps bloggers, designers and other to find great pictures free via Creative Commons licensing. Search: Hawaii for example, excellent for travel blogs. – On this website you can upload, drag or drop your images or screenshots and apply them on a tablet.

Online photo editors:

Pixlr – is a free photo-editor version of Photoshop for desktop and mobile phones. – Free photo-editor with all the essentials: touch up, edges, funky focus and scaling.

Verve Search Blog
Have you read the Verve Search blog recently?
Resizing images

Publishers will love you even more if you resize your images to fit the size of the content area on the website you’re publishing on. This will benefit the user, because the file size of the images won’t be bigger than it needs to be, ensuring that the page loads quickly. It will also ensure your images look great and not like a pixelated 1980s video game.

Search engines should in turn reward your content with higher rankings, as the page will load faster and audience engagement should be higher.

To find the width of a content area, right click on the content of a blog post and select “Inspect element”. This will bring up the width in pixels of the content area. If the site is responsive, view the page on a large monitor and do the same thing. You can then resize your images to fit the largest size it can be. For most websites, this will be between 600 and 1,000 pixels wide.

A great little editor for resizing images is PhotoFiltre.

Image attribution

Correct attribution of images is vital to building good relationships with the publishers whose work you are using and, in some cases, to preventing a lawsuit.

If the image is free to use under a Creative Commons license, as with Flickr, the best way to attribute it is with a link to the original image and a nod to its creator placed directly under the image itself:

Happy dog
Image source: Liz West via Flickr
If the image you love is under copyright, there is still a good chance you can use it. You just need to find the contact details of the owner of the image and send them a polite email requesting use of their image in your blog post, with appropriate attribution.

Many times publishers will be flattered by your request and will agree, as the image credit link could send valuable traffic their way and could benefit their SEO. Again, you should credit them by placing a link directly below the image to the page where it originally appeared, together with a mention of its creator.