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An essential part of every blog post is visual elements. Ranging from images to videos and more, visuals help capture the attention of your audience and keep their attention to. But, they are a tricky thing to use correctly without distracting or diverting your audience.
What They Are: JPEGS or PNGS. Static visual elements.
When To Use Them: I use images more than any other visual medium. You can find great stock photos to use in posts that relate to your topic or take your own. Images work great for sharing onto other platforms like Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest. Use images as feature images to start of your posts.
What They Are: moving visual elements, like YouTube or Vimeo.
When To Use Them: Videos I find to be the most difficult. Placement of videos is very important, because if you embed a video in the middle of a post, your reader will stop to watch it and may not finish your post, but they will stay on your blog. Linking out to videos is not the greatest idea because you just sent your reader away. Embed them and have them at the end of posts, so readers will watch after they have finished reading. Video is great for expanding your own content as well. And please, pretty please, never use autoplay features. I can guarantee people will leave your site and never return if a video surprise auto plays.
What They Are: animated visuals that repeat. They have no sound.
When To Use Them: Gifs are very popular on social media. I usually only use gifs on my socials and in certain blog posts on A Geek Girl’s Guide. Gifs I use to add more dynamic content that behaves more like an image than a video. If you like to include memes and humor in your blog posts, consider gifs to add to that. If you’re a more serious blogger in your tone, gifs may not be for you.
Key Things To Remember:
Consistency is important- make sure your visual elements relate to your content. Don’t use a visual for the sake of having visuals.
Placement prevents distractions- the eye will follow visuals, so where you put them matters. Videos at the end work much better than in the middle. If you create list posts, having an image per item is good for implementing the visual in the readers head.
Don’t overflow with visuals- the more visuals you have, the more overwhelming a page can become. If your post is visual overload, readers may leave because they can’t find the content. Also consider what is in your sidebars, your header, and other parts of your site that compete for attention.Balance is key.
Size matters- make sure your visuals are the same width as your post, roughly 1000px wide should do the trick. If you just can’t get an image that size, find ways to wrap text to make it balanced. Also, the larger your file size is the longer it will take your site to load. The longer it takes a page to load, the more likely the reader won’t bother and leave.
What are your go-to visuals? Let me know in the comments.