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.

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 I have learnt from Seth Godin

Seth Godin wrote ‘Permission Marketing’ in 1999 (I have a copy on my bookshelf). This phrase is now part of everyday marketing terminology. On the front cover of the book it says: “Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers.” The central idea of the book is that as opposed to forcing your messages onto consumers / business buyers, a business should ask their permission to communicate. An example being the concept of the e-newsletter ‘opt-in’ process.

Seth is a prolific and well known blogger – click here.  I often show his blog to clients and seminar delegates. Without fail, I discover that he has uploaded a new entry that day, which is impressive. So a key learning point is the power of consistency.

Seth  thinks outside of the box and I imagine that he reads widely. He is also an established author, having published more than 19 books. Successful authors will tell you that it is important to write regularly, so that it becomes a habit. Writing a daily blog means that your subconscious is set on autopilot looking for new ideas (I know that mine is!) It is no accident that consistent bloggers become authors. There is nothing quite like a book to establish credibility and open new doors.

Seth Godin writes on marketing, business, learning, his books and whatever is on his mind. Sometimes the entries are quite long and sometimes they are remarkably short. The key point being that there is always something new to read every day, seven days a week (and sometimes more than once a day). Readers can share his blog content via Twitter, GooglePlus, LinkedIn and Facebook. (There social media sharing buttons at the foot of my blog entries – do you have these?)

He uses free technology to promote his personal brand and attract followers, book buyers and public speaking engagements. It doesn’t sound like a bad life, does it?

Notice that Seth does not upload images with his blogs. This must cut the time involved down.

You may also find this post of mine to be helpful:  7 benefits of business blogging

Nigel Temple’s services include:  Social media training