Visualize success: Animation, video and still image options for your blog
Whether you consider your blog a teaching tool, a new platform, or a business space, there’s no doubt that including visuals will increase reader engagement and help them get the most out of your site. But what kinds of visuals will serve you best?
There are so many options, ranging from traditional photography to illustration, standard video to animation, and a number of new hybrid options, such as the infographic. Any or all of these might be useful, but it can be difficult to choose the right ones when assembling a post.
Depending on your content emphasis, you’ll want to choose visuals that offer the greatest amount of information with the greatest amount of clarity, a combination that’s a kind of blogging balancing act.
If you understand the pros and cons of the different formats, however, it can be easier to pinpoint the best choice.
A Photo Finish
Photos are perhaps the most common visual you’ll find on blogs, yet they’re actually more difficult to execute well than most of your other choices. This is due to the need for a decent camera, great lighting, an eye for composition, and access to editing software. It’s a lot of work to get a great picture in an era defined by the selfie. Food blogs like Smitten Kitchen show what great photos of challenging subjects can accomplish.
If you’re going to use pictures on your blog, make sure that featured images are cropped and edited; you may want to use a simple program like PicMonkey or LivLuvCreate to make your photos more graphically interesting.
As for photos of yourself for the author page or other formats, you can choose to get a professional to take a standard picture of you, or you can crop a headshot from a more casual picture. The choice has a lot to do with the overall attitude of your blog. In his interview with Mixergy, for example, Profit.ly founder Tim Sykes supplied a candid style headshot that sums up the community emphasis he mentions in his bio. These themes should coincide when deciding on your visuals.
Straight To Video
Video offers a great personal touch for your website, whether you’re the star, the voice, or you’re recruiting the best character in your office, it gives your readers a peek behind the scenes, which is always very compelling. Like photos however, you do have to make sure you’ve created a well-composed scene with good lighting, but the personal touch of video also gives you a little more leeway. If things look a little disorganized, it humanizes, but it may also distract.
You can also just make a video where you’re talking using your webcam – these aren’t the most compelling, but for a brief video, the strategy will work. You’ll see these kinds of videos on many blogs, and they populate YouTube and Instagram, among other platforms.
If you’ve had any form of high profile exposure on television, you should always post that content to your blog because it’s likely to be highly professional and it vouches for your blog as authoritative. As another example, Timothy Sykesfeatures a video of himself on the Steve Harvey Show on his Facebook. If Steve Harvey wants to hear what you have to say, clearly you’ve got important things to share.
Animations are another popular approach to website visuals, and one of the most common animated formats is what’s termed an “explainer.” Explainers need a plot line and clarity and should be carefully scripted to move viewers from intro to problem to solution.
You don’t have to be an artist to create an animated video for your website. There are lots of tools online that can help you create the perfect video. GoAnimate is one of the most popular, easy to use, and demonstrates the value of their product through, of course, an animated explainer, as you can see here. There are also a number of other tools that can help you make animated videos for your site available online, such as the simpler WhatFix, which creates site flow directions.
In today’s competitive blogging scene, great visuals can make or break your blog. That’s why it’s so important to create quality content instead of considering the visuals to be a supplement.
Often, the visual aspects are the star of the show. Spend time on your craft and content to draw your audience in and transform their experience of your blog.