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With so many people launching blogs on a regular basis, it can be on the difficult side to get people to your site, get them to read your article and potentially engage with what you said. There are only so many sports blogs that can be launched before people hit the ceiling of how much news they can devour.
With that in mind, it becomes your problem and your responsibility to try and encourage engagement on the blog and make the user experience just a little bit better. One of the best ways to do that—other than providing incredible content obviously—is to add images and photographs to your blog posts. One or two pictures in each of your blog posts can help get the reader going from the headline to the first paragraph and then hopefully, at that point, you'll get them through to the rest.
The problem with getting images for blog posts is finding them. There are the free methods in which you go to Wikipedia or Flickr and hope to find something that works. These are okay, but there are some limitations. First, with Wikipedia, you get what you get. If you write about sports and the player is on a new team, the image in Wikipedia might still be from his old team. And with Flickr, the quality might not be great or, the photographer hasn't made them available for distribution.
Another option—and if you're blogging to make money, this might be the right option—is to buy the photographs on some stock photography websites. Sites like iStockphoto and Think Stock Photos provide inexpensive, but high quality stock photos that can be used on your blog. For example, if you're writing about SEO, you might want an image that shows an increase in traffic. Both sites, I'm sure, have an arrow that is going up. And, you pay around $3-$5 for it and voila, you've got an image.
The reason this way is the best way is because there's a mix of quality and cheapness to the images. You're not going to spend an arm and a leg on the images, but in the same breath, you're not going to get blurry images either. The mix of the quality and the cost really make this a good option for increasing the user experience.
Another reason, and this one is just a smaller reason, is the fact that Google likes to see that your blog posts contain images. One of the things that Google looks at when it comes to their Panda Update is whether every single page on the site looks the same. They're not referring to the content. Instead, what they want to see is whether each page is just lots of text or if there are things that break the post up. Are there graphs? Are there videos? What about images?
In other words, by adding images to different places on different posts, what you begin to do is make the site more and more unique. Each page isn't just mountains of text, but instead, each page has its own unique look and feel. The image might be left aligned in one post, but then it's right aligned in another and then it's below the fold in another. By having differences to the way that the image is published, Google sees all the pages as being different and gives you credit for that.
In the end, images do three things. The first is, they increase the user's experience. The second is, they increase the user's engagement because the quality of the page is greater. And finally, they increase the overall quality of the web page in Google's eyes. When you're trying to build your blog into something that actually makes money, these are all the big things that you want to do. More traffic with high engagement will help you to convert those people into loyal readers. And loyal readers are more likely to tell someone who awesome your website is. A simple image that increases the experience of a reader really can make all the difference when growing your blog into something bigger.
Jay is an Internet marketer who endorses iStockphoto and Thinkstock to those who need quality images for their online or offline business. You can enjoy a 15% discount with this istock promo code, and get 25% off with this Thinkstock promo code. Both sites have great images for increasing engagement on your blog and making the experience infinitely better for your readers.