Friday, October 16, 2009

Three quick and simple ways to make your blog posts prettier

One of the 'basic' rules of blogging is that you need lots and lots of pictures in your posts. Ideally, every post should have a picture. But it's not always easy to find visuals to add to your posts. This morning I was giving a client some ideas for finding visuals for your posts, and thought I'd share these ideas with you. Here's three sources of visuals for your posts:

1 - Flickr photos that are licensed as free to use with attribution. These are photos that the Flickr user has said you can use on your blog IF you give them attribution for the pic. I always link back to their Flickr account and to the CC license, as I did at the end of this post, for the above sunset image. And it's just a good idea to 'thank' the person that let you use their photo. But this is an AMAZING source of stunning visuals. If you can't find a gorgeous picture for your post via this search, you probably aren't looking hard enough.

2 - This site also has amazing photos and visuals, but they are for sale. Still, a great site to find visuals for your posts, and I often buy images there to use in my presentations.

3 - Embedding videos in blog posts. Ok what if you've racked your brain and simply can't find the 'right' image for your post. What about adding a video? Many (but not all) of the videos on sharing sites such as YouTube allow you to embed them in blog posts. And an informative or funny (like the Darth Vader 'Thriller' video below) video is often much more effective than a visual.

So that's three quick tips on how you can make your blog posts prettier. I know you guys must have some ideas of your own, so how are you adding more visual 'pop' to your posts?

Pic of sunset via Flickr user kcdsTM


Anonymous said...

Great point. A picture is worth a thousand words for sure.

I use for all of my photos and they are free. You can see examples at

Keep up the good content!

Matthew Trogdon
Director of Business Development
OnMessage Inc.

Z. Kelly Queijo said...

Good info, Mack! I spent years visiting college campuses as a sales rep and rarely had a camera with me. What a missed opportunity since I'm now building a blog focused on that community! I could have had a tremendous photo library. Advice to others: shoot pics where ever you go!
In lieu of your own photo library, was recently referred to me by a trusted web designer. Prices are excellent for web!

Heidi Cool said...

Uncanny timing, I wrote a similar post, "Make the Web site bright and shiny." Bells, whistles and video are only cool if they help you tell your story. Choose carefully., last Thursday, in which I discussed ways to find media, such as photos, encouraged people to start building their own archives as Z. Kelly recommended, and discussed tools for creating media such as cartoons and video that can help illustrate one's message. For example I mentioned tools like Bitstrips which allow non-artists to create cartoons that might support their blog entries. There are lots of great resources online, but the main point I like to emphasize is to choose imagery with care. While pictures and video can help make a page more attractive, they shouldn't be merely decorative. Some folks will throw in a lot of imagery just to look cool, but it works more effectively if the imagery helps support and communicate the message.

Jamie Search said...

It is important to use images throughout your content to break it up and give the reader something to look at instead of just lines of text. I agree with what Heidi said about your images needing to help you communicate the message you are trying to get across else if you don't there really is not any point.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Videos are an awesome addition. I've used several in my blog posts and those are always better read than plain old words.

Joe McCarthy said...

A related way of adding visual variety or breadth + informational depth to posts is to embed presentations via SlideShare ("YouTube for Powerpoint").