For a long time, I pondered how I could increase reader interest in my articles. I’ve followed every SEO book to the letter, but while I’ve scored high on the search results page, I don’t seem to get readers to stay on my page for long. I had some repeat visitors, but I could easily count them with my fingers. In other words, I wasn’t satisfied with my blog’s performance.

So I experimented with incorporating photos to my articles, and I saw how my blog looked livelier because of them. I enjoyed many other benefits, too, and now I never publish a post without an image on it.

Some SEO books I’ve read preached that search engine spiders don’t bother with images, but that’s wrong. Optimized images can get you high up the search results page. Here’s another thing I learned: humans respond strongly to visual cues. When you surf the Web or flip through a magazine, what makes you stop and look?

Sometimes it’s the title of an article, most often it’s the photos. If you want to capture the attention of readers and Internet users, images are the most effective way to do it.

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The Inexpensive Way of Sprucing Up Articles

The Inexpensive Way of Sprucing Up Articles
In the beginning, I used original photos. I would brainstorm for relevant subjects, take out my digital camera, go outdoors, and take pictures. Since I am not a very skilled photographer, I would also spend time retouching photos to give them high-quality and professional look. I learned how to do this simply by watching free retouching video tutorials. I use Photoshop, but if you find this expensive, you’ll find other desktop applications that are available for free.

After a while, I realized how time-consuming the activity was; I would invest nearly the same amount of time taking photographs as writing articles.

That’s when I turned to royalty free photos.
Royalty Free Photos
There are many sites that offer photos for free or a minimal fee. The great thing with royalty free images is that you pay only once and yet get to use them as many times as you prefer over the course of a year.

iStockPhoto.com has a huge selection of high-quality photos by professional photographers, and I’d been using it for years. However, since their prices have increase up to $3-$4 per photo, I’ve switched to PhotoDune.com. Here I get to spend only a dollar to access their beautiful photos.

When using digital photos particularly those that are available for free, it is important that you understand the copyright rules and regulations around posting pictures. Neglecting the rules might lead to a lawsuit.

Here are the benefits of using royal free images in blog posts and articles.

It adds visual appeal.

It adds visual appeal
Since I incorporated photos in my posts, my blog has become more visually appealing. The bright, eye-grabbing photos add color to an otherwise black-and-white sea of texts. Because of their bright colors, they grab people’s attention.

It gives visual representation to text.

It gives visual representation to text
They provide a good break from blocks of text. When it’s just large blocks of text, people tend to get bored easily. It’s quite tiring on the eyes, too. Adding photos are a great to organize your article and make it look more creative.

It makes your article more interesting.

It makes your article more interesting
Internet readers don’t often stay on a page too long. They scan a website, then if don’t find anything interesting, they close it and go on to the next. I learned that pictures help them stay on my site longer, and oftentimes, persuade them to read the text.

It looks more professional.

It looks more professional
Pictures help increase trust factor of readers, too. They make your articles look more researched and more intelligent. When your site looks good, visitors are more likely to stay and read.

But then you shouldn’t restrict their use to your own articles. I learned that other bloggers are more likely to accept guest posts with images in them. Articles with images look more researched and professionally written.

To Sum it up

Photos enhance an article’s readability and credibility. I have enjoyed great success with minimal investment towards cost of royalty free images. I recommend them to anyone who wants to bring their site to a new level without having to invest too much money or time.

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