The Internet offers infinite information at our fingertips. And this information is best translated, or at least preferred, in a visual format or with visual resources. Photos, graphics, and video grab our attention, stimulate our imagination, and can help us process new ideas quicker. And those are two of the main reasons we love being online – to learn something new and to be entertained.
It’s no coincidence that Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube are a few of the most popular places we spend our time online. In fact, each day the average Instagram user spends 21 minutes on the app and a billion hours are spent on YouTube.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about how you can incorporate visual content into not only your social media content, but your website and blog. You and your marketing team are putting a lot of effort into writing great content and optimizing it to show up well in search results. You should also think about how to make it visually interesting and helpful. This first impression can affect whether a user clicks your link or stays on your page. Photos are also pulled into social media posts as a visual preview and increase the chances of your post being shared.
Do It Yourself
If you can’t find an suitable image or don’t want to pay for one, why not create your own? This is a great way to get exactly what you need and personalize and/or brand it for your business.
1. Take a Photo
Grab your camera (or mobile phone) and take some photos of your staff interacting with clients/patients, scenes, or equipment around the office, or updates from a special event.
2. Create a Graphic
Use Photoshop or the free Photoshop Express to add text to your photos or create a simple graphic. This could be a review or testimonial or a side-by-side look at before-and-after results branded with your colors and logo. Sites like Vecteezy offer free or affordable vector images and borders you can use in your designs.
Hire a Photographer
Consider working with a professional photographer for a couple hours to capture a series of photos you can use often. Then, any time you need an image for a new page or blog, you have a stockpile of one-of-a-kind images to choose from to personalize your content.
Remember, if you don’t own it, you need the right to use it. Don’t be tempted to just “pull something from the Internet.” This is stealing (not borrowing), and backlash could come in the form of fines or even a lawsuit.
Luckily, there are several options that allow you to use images created by others with fair use:
1. Stock Photo Sites
Image libraries like Adobe Stock or iStock offer professional-level photos, graphics, and videos of just about anything that can be purchased and downloaded for use. You can purchase a subscription or number of credits and save per image, or buy one-off images just when you need them.
2. Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a collection of creative works with copyright licenses that are available to the public for usage, free of charge. Make sure you check the license of individual works to comply with attribution requirements.
1. Full-Size Top
Once you have a quality image or video, you should think about the best placement for it within your content. You’ll want to have one large image at the top (big enough to meet requirements for Facebook and other social platforms’ preview image size).
If you have more visuals, and especially if you have a lengthy amount of text, you’ll want to add them throughout the content. Align them to the left or right of your paragraph and don’t forget to add a margin of about 12px on the opposite side to give it some clean space.
Follow these steps to make your image searchable:
Crop and resize large images down to the pixel size you need. Also “Save for Web” to downsize the resolution to a screen display of 72 dpi (dots per inch). You'll only need higher resolutions (typically 180-300) for print quality. Both of these steps will decrease your file size, resulting in faster load times.
2. Add Alt Text
Add alt text that describes your image so that it can be found by search engines and accessible to users with visual impairment using screen readers.
3. Check File Names
Check your file names before uploading and rename your draft file to make it descriptive and clean. For example, new-patient-form-2018.pdf instead of NPF-ver2-final-web.pdf. Also, check that you’re not using your client or patient’s name if you need to keep their identity confidential.
Recommendations to Improve Your Visual Content
If you want to learn more about improving your blogs with visual content, contact your Internet Marketing Consultant or call Page 1 Solutions at 800-368-9910.