Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be guest-posting today on Nori’s blog! I had the pleasure of meeting Nori at BEA in May and she is just as sweet in real life as she is online. So I know all her readers are the nicest! Before we get started, a little about me.
I’m Rebecca and I blog over at Unbound Pages . I’ve been blogging for a little over three years now. I started out as just your standard book blogger (if there is such a thing) and now I’m a resource for book bloggers trying to grow their blogs. Other important things: I love pizza. I pretend I’m a runner. I love zumba. If I could have one superpower it would be flight. And I wish I could have a pet dragon.
Today I wanted to talk to you guys about graphics and why you need graphics for every single post.
What do you mean by every single post, Rebecca? I mean every. single. post. Yes, even your reviews! And I’m not talking about just a book cover image. Okay calm down. I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong by using a book cover image, but I think we can all be doing better. And it’s not as difficult as you think. But why are graphics so important? Isn’t the meat of the post – the content – more important? Absolutely. You must have kick-ass content if you want to make it in the blogging world. But graphics will help you promote that content. If your site or post look boring or worse, ugly, no one is going to read that awesome content. It’s a sad, harsh fact. I’ve heard plenty of bloggers say that if a blog design isn’t pretty enough for them, they will click off the page. Yikes. So why are graphics so important?
Graphics make your posts easier to share! Social media outlets are very visual. Tweets are more likely to be read and clicked on if an image accompanies them and the same goes for Facebook posts. Pinterest is even more visually driven. If you don’t have an eye-catching graphic for Pinterest, it will never be re-pinned. Social media is what allows posts to go viral. Now, I’m not sure a book bloggers post will ever go fully viral (like worldwide viral), but it’s totally possible for it to go viral amongst the book blogging community. But if you don’t have images to encourage people to share, it’s not going to happen.
We can sit here and pretend that we don’t really care how many people read our blogs, but let’s cut the crap and be honest for a second. We all care. Even if we don’t admit it. We want to grow our blogs and get more followers. It’s human nature. It doesn’t mean you’re competitive or superficial. It means that you’re human. And it means you have goals. And that’s a good thing! To reach those goals you need people to share your posts so you get exposure to other audiences. Then those people read your post, obviously fall in love with how awesome you are, and click that follow button.
Ease of Reading
Having graphics to break up your blog post makes it easier to read. Having just paragraphs of text with not a single image turns readers off. I personally don’t have a lot of time to read blog posts. I wish I had more, but my time is very limited. So if I see a post that’s just six or seven paragraphs of text, I’ll click off. I don’t have time to read through all that. It looks long. It looks like it’s going to take some serious time to read it. Time I simply don’t have. Now if the same blog post had a nice graphic at the top and maybe one or two more images sprinkled throughout it completely changes the way I look at the post. I know. It’s completely unfair, but I’m very visual as most people are. When it looks visually pleasing and the text is broken up a bit, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
Other tips for ease of reading:
- Use your heading tags – pretend your blog post is like an outline and use your heading tags to their fullest extent
- Make important points stand out – sometimes I center mine and use one of my smaller heading tags for these, but you could just bold the text, change the color, etc. Anything that makes it stand out. That way if I only have time to skim, I already know which points are important
- Use an easy to read font and font color
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
The big scary term SEO. It’s super intimidating. I used to be terrified of SEO and completely lost on what it is. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically you need to optimize your site for Google so it can find you and rank you high in the search results. Nobody wants to be on page 6 of the Google results. Hell, nobody even wants to be on page 2. Page 2 on Google is basically death. There are a ton of different aspects to SEO and I’ve barely scratched the surface with my understanding, but I have learned a bit about what Google is looking for. And one of those things is images.
A post with images will rank higher than a post without. That’s because Google is smart and it knows that people are visual. It knows that a post with images is easier to read and more likely to be read. Google wants to show people the best articles on the internet. We all want to be the best. So put your best foot forward by taking the time to create graphics. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be creating graphics in less than five minutes. When you upload your images to WordPress you want to add text to the alt tag of the image which you can do right on the upload screen. This text is what the Google bots read so they know what the image/article is about. It’s also the text that will automatically show up when someone pins your post. If you’re not on WordPress, don’t worry. You can still add an alt tag to your image. Upload your image, then find the line of code that looks similar to this:
<img class=”aligncenter wp-image-1984 size-full” src=”YOUR IMAGE LINK WILL BE HERE” alt=”YOUR ALT TEXT HERE” width=”785″ height=”328″ />
The code will start with img. Now, see that alt= section? After the = sign, in quotations, add your alt tag text. Done! Pretty easy right?
If you want to learn more about SEO you can read this post I wrote on the Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress .
Okay, so now you know why you need graphics in order to grow your blog, but how do you create them? That’s the hard part isn’t it? I used to struggle so much with graphics. For almost three years I made mediocre (okay some of them were downright ugly) graphics. I made so many mistakes until I finally decided I wanted to get serious about it and learned exactly what and how I needed to manage my graphics.
That’s why I created my FREE 8-day course, “Create Your Own Graphics” . This course will teach how to make your graphics actually look good, how to pair fonts, mistakes you’re probably making and more. This course is geared specifically for book bloggers like you. So join me today so we can all create gorgeous graphics and use them to grow our blogs!
Thanks again for letting me take over your blog, Nori! And thank you to all you wonderful readers who let me into your lives today. I hope the post was helpful! If you have any questions you can alway reach out to me on social media!
About the Blogger/ Graphic Queen: