PIC PICKY: If a picture tells 1,000 words why are bloggers so rubbish at using them?

Striking pictures leap from a page and grab the reader by the throat.

They demand attention, illustrate a point and reel a reader in.

So why the ruddy heck are so many blogs laid out pictureless like telephone directories?

Am I being unrealistic? Maybe. I’ve worked in the media for more than a decade and I’m used to thinking text plus pictures. Not everyone is wired that way. Fair enough.

But I’m a reader too and you know yourself something that looks rubbish has a stronger chance of getting overlooked.

Yes, through blogging you swiftly publish content.  Being able to chuck stuff up is a strength.

But please, remember that a dowdy looking page may not ever get read.

Look at Linda Jones, or Jayne Howarth or Lee Jordan.

They’re  a good marriage of words and pictures. You’re drawn into them.

FIVE things to do to add pictures…

1. Use your own pictures. It’s surprising what good images you have. Particularly if you are David Bailey.

2. Use Creative Commons pictures Flickr.com  is a brilliant resource but it’s also a community so remember to be polite. If you are looking for a shot of a farm gate search ‘Farm + gate + creative commons.’ You’ll get some interesting results. Creative commons gives you permission to use a pic so long as you observe certain conventions.

3. Free to use stock image websites. Help yourself so long as you sign in. You’ll have to pay for the best ones. Not so best are usually free.

4. Use the ‘blog this’ button on Flickr. Many pictures you can add straight to your blog by following a set of instructions but be careful. The pic comes at the same size everytime and appears in the top right hand corner. It also publishes straight away which means you could have some surprised people scratching their head at their RSS feed of an empty page with a  picture floating there unless you add pre-written content pronto.

5. Don’t steal. Yes, it’s tempting just to save to desktop but it’s better not to.

Picture credits:

Elephant in the room – David Blackwell

Field – Dan Slee

Join the Conversation


  1. Excellent post Dan!

    Yes I think pictures are being under used too, they can really add something to a post, break up the content and add interest. Quite often I photo blog and just let the picture do the blogging for me. Video is another one, it’s so easy to embed a video these days, which is what I do with my music blog.

    Check out the Web Urbanist blog! Flickr Friday is also something that needs to come back into fashion 🙂

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