For a few years it was great to add visuals to blog posts.
It still is in many cases.
But a trend I’m seeing is for some blogs to have too many visuals.
There are certain niches that seem to fall into the trap such as:
- Real Estate
- Graphic Design
- Web Design
- and even some Marketing and Business
There has been research in the past that has shown that posts with images get more engagement. And I totally get that. It’s kind of the old cliche that an image is worth a thousand words.
But even still I think that’s changed a bit with the increased use of small screens and smartphones and smaller laptops and tablets. If things aren’t formatted well the image can take up the entire screen or even more than the entire screen.
Here are a few thoughts…
When Images Work Well
I think images are great. I’ve always found good success with the general rule of using one image per post especially if you add a caption. It seems that when there is a caption it’s the first thing that readers look at. So you can kind of get a point across or really entice them to read the entire post that way.
Images also work well when they help explain what you’re discussing. So for those types of businesses above it totally makes sense to use images. For example, if you’re a home builder and you’re writing a post about a new home you just built then showing images makes a world of sense.
I also like adding graphics when they help the post. I’ve seen some really good posts where there are 10 reminders and then there will be a graphic that the reader can click to download so they have a hard copy of the 10 reminders.
When To Avoid Images
Your text can do just fine on its own to get your message across to the reader. It can be plenty enough to provide a great answer to the question the reader is asking.
You want to avoid images when they distract from the text.
For example, if the reader looks at the image and they’re so interested that they keep looking at it that they forget why they came to the post in the first place. Then they end up leaving before they read the post. I’ve done it myself and I’ve seen others do it. Attentions spans can be short.
You want to avoid images when they make things more confusing for the reader.
For example, a person lands on your blog post and sees an image and they’re not quite sure what they’re looking at. They get confused and aren’t sure that they came to the blog post that they wanted to see. So they end up leaving without reading. People have been burned so much by posts and articles with too many ads and popups and stuff that they’ll leave if they feel unsafe or confused.
Test On Various Devices
What sparked the idea for this post was when I would continually see posts with images that were way too big. I have a fairly small laptop screen. And I also read a lot of posts on my phone.
More often than it should occur I’ll come to posts where the image takes up most of, all of or even more than the entire screen. It will drive a reader crazy.
If you’re adding images to your posts make sure to test the experience yourself on your various devices.
For example, I know that photographers and designers often have large screens for the work they do. For their experience, a large image looks great, but for the smaller screens it’s not a great experience.
Final Thought: Audience Experience
And that’s really the main takeaway from this post. Reading a blog post should be a good experience for the reader. If it’s a challenge for them to read and view the post they’re going to leave because they have other options for their attention.