Just Curious – a bit of a rant

I was skimming around in someone’s blog list of writers and few minutes ago, and looked at one that was pretty typical in having pictures to accompany the posts. In this case, rather large pictures. The one that particularly struck me was the picture of a hand holding a pen. It reminded me how often we’re told, presumably by experts on the subject, that our blogs will be more attractive to readers if they have illustrations. Apparently, this suggestion is being taken as a rule, maybe even a law, by a lot of blogging writers. To the point where I see images that have absolutely nothing to do with writing. And even those that do, like a hand holding a pen, or just a pen, or a computer keyboard, are just taking up space. They don’t contribute anything to the blog, or to the posts they accompany.

Supposedly, images attract readers’ attention and encourage them to . . . read. So I have to ask, how many people spend their time stumbling around blogs, looking for something to read? If you’re at a writer’s blog, the chances are very good that you have a reason to be there, and that reason is to read the latest post. If you start thinking about it, it seems rather insulting to imply that people need to be hooked by pictures lest they quickly wander off. Especially other writers, or people who are interested in what writers have to say.

Are blog readers little children, who have to be coaxed by colorful pictures to spend a few minutes reading? It’s sort of like mommy playing games to get you to open your mouth for the spinach. I guess that’s it, exactly what the experts are thinking — that reading is unpleasant and you have to be tricked into it.



10 thoughts on “Just Curious – a bit of a rant

  1. Yes, readers are like little children who need a colorful photo to pull them in. . . (~.^). I try to incorporate photos in my Bubblews articles that correspond with the news that I am posting… However, as you have more than likely experienced, Bubblews hates to cooperate with ANY submission. Adding photos just makes it even more difficult. Like your little rant. Keep up the great work! ^o^

    1. I consider Bubblews a little different because the photo can give a hint about the article, especially on the front page when it’s streaming through. I don’t bother with the front page very often, but when I do, I’m more likely to mouse over a bubble with a photo than one without. You don’t really have much of a chance to attract attention there, but that isn’t a problem on a blog.

      When Bubblews is behaving itself, putting up a photo isn’t a problem. When it isn’t, everything’s a problem.

  2. What I think might be the clue to the use of pictures, especially at the beginning of a post, is that if you have an automatic link from your blog to the dreaded Facebook, among all those posts on a FB timeline, having your post’s first paragraph opening with a picture does seem to catch the eye more than an entry that contains only text and a link. So it seems to me on my rare visits to FB.

  3. I think the reasons differ from writer to writer. In my case, I’ve always been into design, and adding a picture allows me to increase the over-all vitality of the visual presentation of my blog, which makes me feel better about my site.

    It also gives me a chance to have some fun with the pictures themselves. Sometimes they’re pretty straight-ahead expressive of the theme of the blog post, but in other cases, they can be subtle, or suggest an inside joke that people may get a kick out of if they figure it out.

    But are they necessary? Not at all. Just some icing on the cake (or so I hope).

  4. For me it’s a bit like book covers. Do you need an attractive book cover? No. You could have your blurb on the front of the book cover and hope people read it. Is it more effective to have a great book cover? Absolutely.
    I agree with you up to a point, in that the image should be representative of the content, but as I aim to attract new readers through the WordPress viewer, via Facebook and twitter, having an image does help catch people’s attention.
    At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

  5. I have gotten into the habit of posting a quote or something I’d like to be quoted in the image space at the beginning – it gives the words a bit more prominence. I used to use Quozio to create these, and now use the free part of ShareAsImage to create something that goes with the post. Then, when it is cross-posted on FB, the image is more visible than the first words of the post are.

    If it is my own quote, I make my name very small. If I’m quoting someone else, I make their name almost as big as the words of the quote. That way it always has an attribution, but I’m not constantly blowing my horn.

    It’s gotten to be an enjoyable little thought process when blogging.

    I’ve had absolutely no feedback about the quotes.

    1. I plan to start making more use of graphics. I used to create text graphics for a site I contributed to for a short while. I have a Mac program: Logoist, that’s fun to work with. Tons of templates, almost all of them highly customizable.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation! I have – and know how to use now – Pixelmator. Great for covers (it’s a very inexpensive mini-photoshop clone).

        But it has been awkward for creating the small graphics.

        I’ll look into Logoist.

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