How to Give Your Content a Visual Facelift

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Content Creation

Online content consumption (browsing, reading, sharing, etc.) has become an innocuous daily activity for most everyday web users. We can attribute this to several reasons, one major component being the growth of social media and how easy it is to connect to dozens of articles, blog posts, tweets – all quite literally at our fingertips.

With information so accessible, one would assume web content would have reached a critical peak in quality over quantity, but this isn’t always the case. The content creation platform Skyword conducted a study that showed a 70% increase in views of articles with images. This article will focus specifically on one very over-looked piece of the content marketing puzzle: the use of images in content creation.

Image 101 for All Levels

Admittedly, as content producers image sourcing can fall to the wayside as we go through yet another edit before our looming deadlines. Creating, borrowing, or choosing the images on a site is usually the last thing on our minds. Any image is better than no image, as long as it gets the point across…right? Skyword would beg to differ: images are pretty important and influential to viewers. Just like well-written content allows users to become more engaged, so does visual content. Before getting into the nitty-gritty, here are some points to keep in mind when image picking:

Broken Image Link – Make sure your images actually work – they should load efficiently and function in all browsers. Nobody likes seeing the broken image symbol.

Broken Image

Image credit: Creative Commons License.

Stock Images – We’ve all seen them, and we’re all sick of them. Make your site stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other sites using the same monotone branding.

Stock Image

Image credit: Creative Commons License.

Pixilation – Your image may be stunning, but if you haven’t properly sized it for when your readers click to enlarge (which most do), you’re leaving a bad impression. Too big or too small are both problematic, finding a sweet spot in the middle is ideal – meaning a fast loading time and high enough quality to please the viewer.

Original Image Size           Pixilation

Image credit: Creative Commons License.

Relevancy – Your image should be relevant to what your content is stating. Avoid amateur shots that make your entire site look just that, amateur. Good framing, proper focus, a clean lens, and bold colors go a long way to lure in your audience.

Irrelevant Image

Image credit: Creative Commons License.

The Rule of Thirds – No, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to understand this concept. This almighty rule should be applied with the best of your ability to any image you expect the public to view to avoid inducing mass eyebrow furrowing. This ensures your image is properly composed and visually appealing. Among many other techniques, it’s a great place to start when sorting through hundreds of possibilities.

rule of thirds

Image credit: Creative Commons License.

Google’s Influence

Now we all know Google’s spiders crawl our sites but they can’t crawl images…right? Well, although the current algorithms can’t detect all aspects of an image, they do use other methods. Like anything on a website, the art of organization comes into play. Label your images properly. Meaning use your alt text and steer clear of keyword stuffing – your alt text is not an opportunity to be overzealous with your targeted keywords.

When a user has trouble viewing your image in a browser the alt text can be a great way to give them an idea of what they would be looking at – same goes for Google, the alt text gives them an impression of your overall content objective.

If you want to optimize your images to the nines then using Schema markups is your best bet. This markup tool will not only help you with alt text but will give more than enough information to ensure Google knows this is a unique image. It will include more in depth-information such as where the image was taken, the photographer, the address, and so on.

The better you label your images, the more likely they will end up in Google image search. Although this is a great way to gain more traffic, depending on what the user is looking for, relying on this for a higher conversion rate is not always ideal.

Where to Find Images

There are a lot of resources for finding images that are up for grabs – make sure to read all the details pertaining to the chosen image listed on the site, a simple link to the image maker sometimes will suffice. Wikimedia Commons, Compfight, and Morguefile are a few great resources.

And if you’re not comfortable borrowing images, take a hard look at your budget and find some pennies to squeeze out for some original image content.

Why Change Your Ways

With the surge of applications like Instagram and Twitter (which are heavily image based) the consensus is in – engage your user’s with real and relevant photos.

Now let’s take a step back, a deep breath – and apply our newly acquired image skills for the betterment of all image viewing.

Angelika Joachimowicz of iProspect contributed to this post.


Guillaume Bouchard
Guillaume Bouchard is the CEO of iProspect Canada, and is responsible for overseeing the company’s overall business development and growth. Before that, he co-founded NVI in 2004, which quickly become the largest digital performance agency in Canada.
Guillaume Bouchard
Guillaume Bouchard

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  • Princewill Okafor

    I must say using images works a great deal, people like creating scenerios in their mind when they read stuffs and images help a great deal in that, one would get bored easily when images are not on a post…

    I totally agree with your point of putting up images that are relevant with your posts as it will be totally off when it is otherwise.. Great post, I love your style of writing.

  • Mary Quinn

    Your article was informative. But, could you explain the 1/3 rule and elaborate on the “sweet spot for resizing photos?”

    • Guillaume Bouchard

      Hey Mary, the Rule of Thirds is a classic photography rule for composing a shot. It can help if you’re taking your own photos or choosing one for your content. The rule of thirds imagines a photo divided into 9 equal quadrants (3 x 3) and positioning the subject of the photos along the lines of the quadrants. The Wikipedia page has some more useful details:

      As for the “sweet spot,” I was referring to finding a photo that is of high calibre and quality without hindering the loading time of the photo or re-sizing a small photo to be too large and causing fuzzy pixilation.

  • Danielle D

    Thanks. This was an insightful post.