One of the key differences between writing and writing on the internet is that with a book (or an essay, or a short story), you focus on sentence structure, plot, and keeping your reader's attention.
On the internet? You are one option among thousands. Even if your readers want to read what you're writing, even if they need to learn what you're teaching, you have to do things differently on a blog post than you ever would in a piece of writing composed on a word processor.
Syntax matters (use sub-headers to break up your text, never write an unbroken wall of text, use bold, italics, and even changing the font color when you want to draw attention to something), but what we're focusing on today is images.
Your blog posts need images. Every single one of them. You need one at the top for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and you need one in the Social Warfare settings for Pinterest.
How to Add Images to Your Posts so People can Share Them
1. Find Images
We have an awesome list of stock images that are not only free to download but royalty-free as well, meaning you don't have to give anybody any credit at all. Find that list here.
Not interested in endlessly browsing on the free sites? Use GraphicStock, a good enough/cheap enough stock image system with a search bar, which comes in handy when you're looking for something specific. They charge $99/year for an unlimited number of downloads. Read our full review here:
Read our full review here: GraphicStock Review: Huge Graphics Package for $99/year
When you're looking for an image, go for something that catches your eye, plain and simple. Don't overthink this piece. You like it? Download it. Move right along to the next step.
2. Create the First Image
Head over to PicMonkey and upload the image you found.
Crop it to 1280 x 720 pixels.
This image will become your featured image and the one you'll use in the first spot in Social Warfare, so it looks good on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Add your logo, or at least write the name of your website (including the .com!) at the bottom middle of your image. If you're adding your logo, do it in the add overlay section:
Click your own and find your logo.
If you're writing the name of your website, use the sans serif font that exists on your website. This step isn't critical, but it helps with brand consistency.
Hit save, and do not write anything else! Plain images do much better on Facebook than images with words. Pinterest is another story. Which brings us to step three.
3. Create a Pinterest-Optimized Image
Refresh PicMonkey (after you save your first image!) and edit the same image again.
This time, crop it to 735 x 110 pixels.
Add the same logo/font overlay to the bottom, then add the title of the blog post to the whitespace in your image. Don't have whitespace? Use a geographic overlay. Mix fonts here if you want, but make sure you're consistent. One serif font, one sans serif font, one cursive font. Brand your pins so they look like yours, meaning if someone sees them when they're browsing Pinterest, they'll recognize them as yours, and be more likely to click through.
4. Add Images to the Appropriate Places
Four places to be specific:
- Top of post
- Featured image area (depending on your theme — if you add it here, and it duplicates your first image, experiment with removing it from the top of your post or removing it from your featured image area)
- Social media image
- Pinterest image
Yes, sometimes image sourcing, sizing, and finding the right font combinations takes almost as much time as actually writing the post. But think of it this way: your work with images brings people in, the words you write once they get there are what make people stay.
It's a two-way street, the getting and the staying. And even when you write the most epic, thought-provoking post in the world, if no one is drawn in, no one is going to see it.
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