We all know the perfect image or graphic can make or break a blog post, with Pinterest and image marketing having the potential to send your blog a tonne of traffic, the right image is really important.
Images are a terrific tool for breaking up your text (so it’s not in huge blocks and virtually unreadable) and images put in the right places in the post they can draw the reader’s eye further down the content. A great technique for really long blog posts, I find alternating the images right, then left then right again works really well.
How does that old saying go? “A picture is worth a thousand words” and when it comes to blogging a great, relevant image can help. Finding the perfect graphic to go with your blog posts is not always the easiest thing to do. Some people are tempted to use Google Images to find an image, that that’s okay if they then check that the image is royalty free to use. The chances are these images are not royalty free and you could get into a right mess if you use them.
If you are business blogging you have a budget to purchase images from places like Fotalia.com, iStockphoto.com and Clipdealer, it can take up a lot of time (and patience) to find free images that you can use for commercial purposes without infringing on copyright laws. You can also search for PLR Graphics that you can buy for around $10 for 10 images, these are often only available in certain niches like internet marketing.
We all know time isn’t an infinite resource so it makes sense to decide an image budget right from the start. My image budget for Arrow Light Haulage is $30 a month and that gets me 5 good images that are web use only, combined with PLR Graphics and several image packs, I have an extensive image library to draw upon. But it’s often not convenient to have these images all over the place, sometimes a plugin would make life so much easier!
The WordPress community is a great place that has come together and created some great plugins to help you find images to use on your blog, saving you time and in some cases, money.
The four plugins listed below will help you save time when searching for that perfect image for your blog post.
1. Picasa Image Express (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/picasa-images-express/) – The Picasa Image Express plugin for WordPress allows you to search public Picasa albums for images to use on your blog. It automatically adds in a caption giving the author of the image credit. This plugin does require the use of Adobe Flash Player 9 to use it while editing blog posts or pages, so it may not be the best choice if you post blogs via your iPhone (nightmare) or iPad.
2. PicApp (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/picapp/) – The PicApp plugin for WordPress gives you the option to search a number of sites for free images within the post editor in WordPress. PicApp claims to be able to search over 20 million images to allow you to find the perfect image for almost any subject.
3. Facebook Photo Fetcher (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-photo-fetcher/) – The Facebook Photo Fetcher plugin for WordPress gives users an easy way to publish graphics from any Facebook album you have access to on your blog. This plugin does not have a drag and drop feature like many of the others, but instead uses short codes to add the graphics to your posts. This is a very handy plugin to publish friends and group pictures from Facebook into your blog posts. Remember, it’s harder to pin an image (okay near impossible) that’s posted via a shortcode.
4. Photo Dropper (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/photo-dropper/) – The Photo Dropper plugin is very similar to the Freebie Images plugin except that it searches Flickr for images. The only images you will find in your search using Photo Dropper are those with Common Creative Licenses and will also automatically add a caption with the appropriate credit given.
Bonus image search tool – Zemanta. It’s not a plugin, but it’s worth a mention. I first wrote about Zemanta in what seems like a whole life time ago, it can be added to your browser and then you select an image to go into your post. Zemanta does a whole lot more than just source images, it will find related posts for you as well.
By using WordPress plugins to help find graphics to include in your blog posts you can cut down the time it takes to write a post and give your readers a visual representation of your subject and a memorable image.
But there is a downside to using a plugin for images.
If your site / theme uses featured images to pull the image on the front page or slider (Genesis uses this feature), then you need to upload your post image to your site via the image uploader or the image will not show. For sites that you can download the images and use in your posts (and make them featured etc) then take a moment to check out this post here – Sourcing Images for Pinterest, it’s not as fast as using a plugin, but you will get the right overall look for you blog.
What plugins do you use to source your images?