Images make the blogosphere go round. If that isn’t a quote, it should be. In 2017, images are already proving to be an incredibly powerful asset for bloggers, but are you following best practices?

4 Tips for Superior Image Usage  

Did you know that people form first impressions in as little as 50 milliseconds? What about the fact that posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than posts that only feature text? Or that the human brain processes visuals 60,000-times faster than text? These are all astounding statistics that further exemplify why image selection and implementation is vitally important to successful blogging.

Not sure where to start when it comes to images? Here are a few powerful tips that are proven to yield positive results:

Take Your Own Pictures

If you’ve looked around at the cost associated with buying the rights to images or hiring a professional photographer to take pictures for you, you’ve probably realized that it’s a fairly expensive proposition. But who says you can’t take your own pictures? Even if you don’t have any previous photography experience, it’s actually pretty easy to get started.

With the incredible advancements in technology, most people have a pretty decent camera in their pocket. If nothing else, you can spend a few hundred dollars and purchase a high-quality camera. Armed with a good camera, all you need are a few helpful tips and you’re ready to go.

Use Pictures From Multiple Angles

If you’re featuring a specific product in your blog post, images give you a wonderful chance to highlight different aspects of the product in an effort to engage readers. The key is to use pictures from multiple angles. As you can see in this example from The Backyard Guys, unique angles allow you to provide customers with a 360-degree view and can accentuate certain features.

Optimize Images for Best Results

Integrating images into blog posts is a great place to start. However, every time you add an image to a page, you risk slowing your website down and/or creating layout and design issues. That’s why image optimization matters so much.

For starters, images should always be sized appropriately. Larger images take a long time to load and can directly contribute to lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates. The second thing to think about is the alt text. In order to give your blog a much-needed SEO boost, you should fill out the appropriate fields with as much information as possible. Here are a few image optimization tips to help.

Don’t Use Copyrighted Images

As a blogger – particularly if you’re in a small niche without a massive following – it may be enticing to just run a quick Google image search and use whatever image looks best. Unfortunately, this is a very risky.

As writer Nicole Martinez explains, “Those are copyrighted images, and the owner of the copyright can have several different avenues for recourse in order to be compensated for your use of the image.”

Don’t think it’ll ever happen to you? Just check out this harrowing story from blogger Roni Loren who found herself in a situation where she had to lawyer up and pay a large amount of restitution money for wrongly using one measly image. You can avoid a similar situation by either taking your own images or paying for the rights to someone else’s images.

It’s Time to Go Visual

Visual content scares a lot of bloggers away. They assume it’s costly and time-consuming to create and integrate the right images. However, the reality is that it’s too costly and time-consuming not to. Today’s internet users want better images. Stock photos no longer cut it and you’ll have to make a serious effort to leverage visual storytelling in 2017 and beyond.