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Part 1 of Using Images in Posts: Branding, First Impressions and Happiness

blogging-monkeys.pngEver since using a RSS feed reader, I have found my self with the problem of thinking “who was it that wrote that post on such and such…”. The reason I find myself forgetting who wrote something has a couple of possible explanation related to RSS, and hopefully not my lack of memory.

1. Information overload. Using an RSS reader means I get read a lot more content than previously and while this is a good thing over all because I absorb more information, I am forced to be more selective and for some reason my wiring is telling me that remembering who wrote what is expendable.

2. RSS feeds look essentially the same. They really are Really Simple Syndication and all the hard work the author has put into making his blog look original is wasted on an RSS feed. This is where images come in.

First Impressions

It’s fairly common knowledge that the first thing people look at when viewing a webpage are the eye-catching images. Therefore if an image is place ‘above the fold’ at the top of a post it hold a large amount of power.

An image should be any combination of these:

  • Funny/witty/giggle-worthy
  • Ironic (a personal favourite of mine)
  • Closely related to the blog or post (this is pretty much essential)
  • Formatted properly (see Part 2 of using images in Posts)
  • Eye-catching
  • Branding

    Images do not have to be the ‘logo’ of your site in order to brand it. Dosh Dosh makes us of “cute anime girls” at the beginning of every post and as a result this has become part of the Dosh Dosh brand. I consider each Dosh Dosh image to be fairly similar. However, as long as an image has a certain quality about it, it could be in the way it was photo-shopped, the thinness of its border or even the size and shape. Put simply, using a consistent style of image in each post is branding and gives a blog a distinct look. I will be implementing this technique with future images.

    In an RSS feed this is especially important, which is why I am stressing the importance of using images in posts because in the RSS feed they have even greater significance placed on them, because there are no sidebars or headers to distract the reader.
    blogging-baboon.png

    Happiness

    This is also known as reader enjoyment and is the use of images further down a blog post. I like to use 1 image ‘above the fold’ and another below, i.e. to rarely have an area of the screen where there is only text. People can say “the content should be good enough on it’s own” and although that may be true, including a well chosen image doesn’t make the content any worse. Most readers will like having an image to break up the solid text, especially since bloggers are a generation of scanners and selectors.

    The Vital Part

    People say “a picture can speak a 1000 words”, I say that misses out the most important part, that pictures speak 1000 words in a shorter space of time to reading 1000 words. Without the time dimension that phrase is meaningless. Putting all this together almost creates a mathematical formula:

    First Impression x Amount of (quality) content absorbed during the first impression = Chances of becoming a loyal reader

    I hope you can see where I am going with this, if an image can convey more information in a set period of time and is the first thing a visitor looks at then the image is arguably the most important thing on the page.

    Conclusion

    If chosen wisely and consistently, images can be used to brand a blog as well as making reading a little less like hard work. Blogging is all about getting across a message, what could be better than with an image.

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    Pingback by Part 2 of Using Images in Posts: Formatting and HTML | Blogging Fingers | 2007-07-12 11:25:57

    […] Part 1 of Using Images in Posts, Branding First impressions and Happiness were addressed. Unfortunately it’s now time for the […]

     

    Comment by Johnny | 2007-08-01 00:03:54

    That was useful for me , I was trying to decide whether to use images or not and if so where to place them, thanks for the tips.

     

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