Should an image be included in a blog?

For some time, I have been asking myself: should an image be included in a blog? I realise that this is not the greatest question facing humanity, but it certainly has been bugging me. I am a visual person and I like to see colourful images. However, when I create a blog I have noticed how time consuming it is to find an appropriate image that I like, download it, check the file size and if necessary shrink it, add some text and a logo and then upload it and check it within the blog entry. Phew!

Not that I mind the work involved. However, I want to ensure that I am using my time to the best effect. So I revisited two of my favourite bloggers: Seth Godin and Neil Patel and Voila! Neither of them use images in their (text based) blogs. By the way, in Neil’s case you have to click around a bit to find a text blog, in that he does a lot of video blogging. (He is famous for the Marketing School podcast).

Now let’s think about the blog entries themselves. When you visit someone’s blog, is it the big image at the top of the entry that you are interested in – or the words that they have written? I have been using ‘Set featured image’ within WordPress for some time, after I discovered that by doing this, the image appears properly within social media. The problem is that by doing this, the image dominates the screen when you visit the blog page.

In addition, an image can slow down the page loading speed (which is a Google Ranking factor, by the way). Have inadvertently uploaded some massive images to my blog, I started using Tinypng to shrink PNG and JPEG images.

On this basis, I have decided not to include ‘pretty picture’ images in my blogs from now on – unless they add value to the blog. For example, I am an inveterate Mind Mapper and I use these ‘thought organisation diagrams’ in my marketing training and public speaking sessions. A Mind Mind or a process schematic would help my readers to understand the text – so that would be a good reason to include them. When I do, I must remember to add an alt tag. (So much to do, such little time!)

PS As I am sure you know, blog, blog entry, and post mean the same thing.

What to look for in Google Analytics

Here is a quick checklist of what to look for in Google Analytics. If you don’t use Google Analytics frequently, it can be confusing can’t it?

These are 3 key areas that I look at when I spend five minutes looking at Google Analytics for one of my websites or one of my clients. (Sometimes, I spend a lot longer).

Once you have logged in you will see a menu on the left hand side of the screen (if you are using a desktop / laptop). We are going to use:
….from this menu.

Audience / Overview – what are they doing when they visit?

Towards the top RHSide (Right Hand Side) of the screen, change the date range so that you are looking at three months. I have found that this is a reasonable time period, to measure changes.

If you have more than 5 minutes at your disposal, when you are working with Google Analytics, you can change the viewing period to see what difference it makes. However, for comparison purposes – it is important to stick to the same time period.

Within Audience / Overview you can see: Sessions. Users. Page views. Pages / Sessions. Bounce rate. Also, you can see a pie chart of new versus returning visitors. NB You can change the settings so that you can see different information.

Acquisition / Overview – where did the website visitors come from?

Within this view you can see:
Direct – i.e. visitors have typed your website address into a browser
Referral – they have found your website by clicking on a link in a website
Organic search – they found you via Google search
Social – they found you by clicking a link in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc
Email – they clicked on a link from an email, i.e. your website address if you place this after your name, phone number etc

Behaviour / Overview

Shows a list of the most popular pages within your website.

If you see:   /

….at top, or near the top of the list, this means ‘home page’. You can click any of the pages and drill down for more information.


It is a good idea to login to Google Analytics and make a note of some of the key stats, i.e. the ones that I have listed above, in a spreadsheet. Then login a week later and make a note of the new numbers within a separate row within the spreadsheet.

I always include Google Analytics when I build a website and I am always keen to show the website owner how to use the software in order to improve their website.

We have an SEO Group within The Marketing Compass website.

Website navigation bar tips

Imagine that you are looking for a specific product or service that you market. Now take a look at your website. Does your navigation make it easy to find the relevant item? Is it easy to understand? Is everything in the right order?

Here is a simple navigation bar:

Services (or Products)

Notice that there are only 5 options.

in general terms, fewer is better.

An upper limit would be 9 items.

Use drop downs to reveal other options.

Ensure that the menu works well on smartphones and other mobile devices.

If the customer hasn’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will disappear.

Visitors will spend a few seconds looking for what they’re after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you’re making them work too hard and they will go elsewhere.

My first book was about writing words for websites. During the research for this book, I looked at hundreds of website navigation bars.

By the way, there is a trend away from navigation bars altogether. Here an example:

Website development

You have 1 second to convince customers to stay on your website

Imagine that you are seeing your website homepage for the very first time.

The website has  1 second to convince you to ‘stick around town’.

Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. Strangers include people who are looking to buy and friends include customers and people that know you.

They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question or a way to solve their problem and they want it now.

Online, first impressions count.  The customer’s heart will either sing or sink as they look at your site.

How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?

Website development

Website navigation bars – desktop and mobile

There are many ways in which a website page can be designed. A key issue has become the number of website visitors that are using smartphones to browse websites. Across the board, this is now typically 60%. For consumer brands this can be much higher.

A key design element is the navigation bar. When I am asked about my website writing services, the nav bar forms an early part of the conversation. Here are some tips for you:

Navigation bars
Aim for between 7 and 9 items in your website nav bar
It is fine to use drop down menu items
Many successful / larger websites use secondary nav bar menus
Check to see how the nav bar looks on different devices
(mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers)
Within mobile phones, a standard menu can take up a lot of space at the top of the small screen; you can use a ‘hamburger icon’ or hamburger menu (AKA pancake or hotdog) which comprises three parallel horizontal lines ☰ which is usually positioned in the top left hand or top right hand corner of a mobile phone screen
A breadcrumb trail helps users to understand where they are in your website
Ideally, use only one word for each nav bar item.
For example, ‘About’ is better than ‘About us’

Lower case is easier to read than upper case. On this basis, it is better to have
Home About Services Contact …than HOME ABOUT SERVICES CONTACT

Within WordPress, by the way, it is easy to change your website’s menu structure as they have a drag and drop system.

My services include webcopy writing training:

Copywriting training for digital marketing communication

Tubebuddy review – YouTube productivity

Are you using videos to market your business? If not, you should consider doing so.

Do you have a YouTube channel? Hopefully, you have answered ‘yes’ to this question as
there are over 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day.
A billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every single day.

Tubebuddy channel management browser plugin helps content creators,
brands and networks grow their brands directly from within YouTube.

Tubebuddy is a Chrome browser extension that integrates with your YouTube channel.

* Perform bulk updates to your videos, i.e. adding annotations or cards to all your videos with a few clicks.

* Create embed codes with the full list of options for adding videos or playlists to your website.

* Use Tubebuddy to perform Find/Replace routines on your videos.

* Generate professional custom thumbnails using screenshots and branding/text layers.

* Export your list of subscribers and their social profiles.

* Promote your new upload across all other videos.

* A series of End Screen Templates are available.

Tubebuddy is a paid for service and the pricing starts at US$9 per month.

If you are serious about your YouTube channel then Tubebuddy is worth looking at.



Website homepage first impressions

During my internet marketing workshops and talks, I used to say that you had 4 seconds to convince a website visitor to stay on your website. Today, that number has reduced to 1 second.

Internet users typically visit dozens and sometimes hundreds of websites in a single day. If they haven’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will simply visit a different website.

Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. The latter includes customers, staff, suppliers, investors and other people who know your business. They tend to be more forgiving and will they will take their time to find what they want. On the other hand, strangers are first time visitors who have found you, for example, via search or a hyperlink. They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question and they want it right now.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of these people and that you are looking for a product or service that you provide. Now take a look at your website. Can you find this product or service quickly? Is it contained within the main navigation bar? Is it mentioned within your homepage? Is there a search bar towards the top of the screen?

The first second on your site is all about first impressions. Does the page look professional? Is there anything that could put the visitor off? Does the page work properly on a smartphone? Assuming that you pass this test, the visitor will spend a few seconds looking for what they are after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you are making them work too hard and they are very likely to go elsewhere.

How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?

Associated blogs:

How many words should you write for your homepage?

38 ways to promote your website

Where do my website visitors come from?

Website review service

Marketing Software Map

Here is a Marketing Software Map:

Marketing Software Map by Nigel Temple

The central red circle is your CRM (Customer Relationship Management system). There are thousands of CRM systems available to you. Key issues to consider include: 1). Is the CRM easy to use? 2) Will your customer facing team actually use it? 3) Does it integrate with your newsletter system, i.e. MailChimp?

To what extent does information flow between your website, your CRM and your email marketing campaigns? Within the above diagram, the dark arrows represent software connections where information flows automatically, without the need for re-keying.

The objective is to have a single, integrated system that helps you to increase brand awareness, attract new customers and learn about them and their preferences. The software within the Marketing Software Map is either free or inexpensive. The tricky bit is making it all sing in tune and appealing to customers.

The skills required to build your Map include a knowledge of marketing strategy, software, copywriting and creative thinking.

I help enterprises of all sizes to build their own Marketing Software Map.

If you would like to find out more, email me or ask via The Marketing Compass.

I train and give talks on The Marketing Software Map. Email Joanna if you are interested in this.

Build bridges between your software platforms

How many software platforms / systems do you use?  For example: database / CRM (Customer Relationship Management system); accounts system; website(s); landing pages; social media communities; email marketing.

How many of these ‘talk to’ each other?

This is how it could work:

* A potential customer searches for a product / service that you provide
* They find one of your website pages
* They join your MailChimp newsletter
* MailChimp ‘talks to’ your CRM and auto-populates a new record
* MailChimp starts sending a sequence of pre-written emails to the potential customer

There are numerous benefits of this approach. All of the information is in the right place. The customer receives a rapid response from you. Changes in one place (i.e. your CRM) auto update information in other places (your emailing marketing list).

My advices is to build bridges between your software platforms.

Photograph © copyright Nigel Temple

Sharing digital content

I have found that running a social media website is a continual learning curve. During the Christmas break, I added e-commerce functionality to The Marketing Compass website …which meant that I had to sort out an SSL Certificate (in order to have https:// hyperlinks).

The primary reason for doing this is to enable us to share digital content with our members. Compass members (forever free) can login, click on ‘Resource centre’ and download 101 CATs (Customer Attraction Techniques).

Navigator and NavigatorPlus members can also download a series of marketing guides including a marketing strategy checklist. This list will grow over the coming weeks and months.

What else should I add into the Resources section? I have been writing about marketing for 30 years – so I have quite a few guides, booklets and e-books on my computer.

The Marketing Compass website was originally launched as a place where I could answer marketing questions. I receive quite a few of these, as I am a marketing speaker and trainer. Rather than replying to questions at length via emails, I ask seminar delegates whether they would mind if we ‘shared the love’ (as I understand they call it in California) via our interactive website – so that thousands of members can benefit.

We are currently looking for copywriters, graphic designers, printers, sales trainers and other experts to share their knowledge via our community. If you are interested, you are welcome to join us.