Health blog post images – How to make them work for you
It’s 2022 and blog post images are a must for your health blog.
The fact is that people love images! You can see the power of images when you think about the recent rise of visual-based platforms like Google Images, Pinterest, and Instagram. So it’s not surprising that blog posts with images get more views, and social media posts with images get more likes.
Blog post images help readers understand your content and even make it more engaging to read by breaking up text with relevant visuals. Plus, if you SEO-optimize your images, they may rank higher or faster in Google Image searches than your post ranks in a regular Google search. This means that when people are searching for your keyword in Google Images, by having some optimized eye-catching images, you may be able to pull readers to your blog post using images.
This post shows you where to get health blog post images and how to make them work.
Let’s start with the most important tip.How to make your health blog images work for you. #HealthBlog #BlogImages Click To Tweet
Health Blog Post Image Most Important Tip
Make sure you have permission to use the image.
Don’t just pull an image off the internet and use it. Depending on the image and owner of the image, it can cause you lots of trouble, including steep fines. Copyright infringement can be a big deal, so just don’t go there.
Don’t worry about finding blog post images because I’ve linked a bunch of sites for you below. (Just double-check that they still allow copyright-free use of their images.)
What’s a “featured” blog post image?
Make sure you assign a “featured” image for each blog post. The featured image becomes the one that shows up in search engines and on social media.
Have you ever clicked a “share” button and got no image to share? Yes – Avoid that! Social media posts with images get more likes, so you always want to ensure that at least one image (your “featured” image) comes up when you or one of your audience members shares your post or finds it through search.
By “featured” in WordPress, I mean when you’re in the dashboard of your post, look at the right sidebar and make sure you assign a “media” to be the “featured image.”
How many images are recommended per post?
You don’t have to stop at just one image for each blog post—add more!
Blog post images should complement your topic, break up your text, and make the whole piece of content a pleasure to read and easier to understand. This means you can add several related images throughout your post.
You can even consider putting your favourite quotations from your blog post into quote images and adding those to your blog post (and use them in your social media posts).
One study found that the top 100 shared blog posts have an image every 350 words or so. That helps you calculate approximately how many images to strive for – one per 350 words! In fact, in many of my more recent blog posts, I’ve added an image for every H2-level heading.
PRO TIP: If your images seem to slow down the loading of your website, try a plugin that makes them smaller. Right now, I’m using Smush.Health blog image tips - #FeaturedImage #BlogPostImages #HealthBlog #Images Click To Tweet
How to optimize your images for SEO
Make sure to give your images “alt-tags” when you upload them. This is the text that shows up if images don’t load properly and for digital reading devices that many people use, for example, those who have a visual impairment. The alt tags will also help your blog post get found on search engines like Google.
Ideally, your blog post title, url, and image tags will all contain a version of that post’s main keywords, along with a description of the image itself. This is one more thing you can do to help rank your post in search engines via SEO (search engine optimization).
Where to get images
There are lots of places to find images for your blog posts.
1 – Take your own
You don’t have to be a photographer. Plus, practise makes perfect. Of course, there are tons of products and services that can help you take better pictures. Digital cameras, lenses, and fancy lighting. Not to mention courses in every type of photography, including food photography!
2 – Hire someone to create images for you
Especially if you’re looking for photos of yourself, a professional photographer can be a wise business and branding investment.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to photography. You can also consider hiring an artist to sketch, draw, or paint images for your blog.
3 – Download images (legally)
There are tons of sites that offer free or inexpensive images (always check the “attribution” before using).
Think about your branding, and how you want to be perceived and remembered. Clipart? Nope! Get a nice theme going and run with it by using images that all work together. You may notice how much I love images of food and books. And that suits my branding of being a science-based researcher/writer/editor/content marketer.
Here are some sites you can search for everything from almonds to zinc. Some of my favourites include:
Always make sure that the images you download, even if they’re free, are free for commercial use and not just personal use!
If you do choose to use free images, consider doing something nice for the creator. Perhaps tweet them a thank you like I did here and here. Or even give them a few dollars if they accept donations.Where to get awesome blog post images #Blog #BlogPostImages #HealthBlog #Images Click To Tweet
Which health image to choose?
When it comes to choosing images, especially in the health field where your audience may be dealing with the stigma of their health concerns, Cochrane provides some guidelines. For example, you may consider:
- Using accurate images that portray up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. For example, if your post talks about a supplement, you may consider choosing an image that portrays that type of supplement in the correct dosage. So if your post is about fish oil, an accurate image would portray one large yellow gelcap, rather than a handful of multi-coloured tablets and capsules.
- Avoid images that are stigmatizing. For example, if you help those who want to lose weight in a healthy way, avoid using images of people with obesity eating potato chips on a couch in front of the TV or images where the only people exercising are super-skinny. You want your health blog to be empathetic and inspiring, so look at images from the perspective of your audience.
- Avoid any images that may be triggering, cause shame, or encourage people to inflict self-harm. Take note of the emotions expressed in the faces and body language of those who are in the images. You may not want to include images of people squirming in pain during their workout.
For a more detailed guide on choosing health images, see Cochrane’s guide here.
How to customize and brand your images
Once you have images you can brand them a bit. I use both Relay That and Canva. The difference is that Canva is more flexible if you like to be more creative and play with design elements yourself, while Relay That is preferred by non-creatives (like me) because it automagically produces dozens of options in several common sizes.
Here’s my super-simple process in Canva:
- First I choose an older image as a template (or start from scratch).
- Add one of my brand colours as the background.
- Upload my image (possibly downloaded from a site listed above) and put it on top.
- On top of that, I layer a square of my signature colour & play with the transparency.
- Then I add the title of my blog post. You can also add your name, website, or logo underneath as well.
- Name it. Save it. Download it to your computer.
- Upload it to your website’s “Media” storage & add it as your featured blog post.
Relay That has a simpler process (and less flexibility).
Once you’ve customized a workspace with your brand colours, fonts, etc. you only need to customize the images and title it for each post. So, find some images from their free library (or download from the sites linked above), type in your blog post title, then hit “Layouts.” (Yes, it’s that simple!). Relay That shows you dozens of pre-designed options using your chosen colours, images, and text. You can choose whichever layout you prefer, make some minor tweaks if you want (tweaks and customization are more limited than in Canva), and choose which sizes you want to download.
And no, I’m not an affiliate for neither Canva nor Relay That.
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Once your blog post is published – Promote
You want to drive traffic to your blog, so promote it like crazy—seriously! You probably need to promote it more than you have been.
- Share it in your social media feeds, and do it often!
- Share in your email newsletter. I write a personal intro and include a clickable button that goes straight to my post;
- If your post is ah-mazing and you want to boost it even more, choose whichever of your social media posts has been the most popular and put a few dollars into that one!
Remember that all of the free content you provide, including your blog posts, are meant to serve your business. So be sure to have some marketing elements in each post based on your marketing goals. This mostly includes at least one call-to-action (CTA), for example have opt-in boxes or a popup to invite readers to join your email list.Don't forget to promote the heck out of your blog posts! #BlogPost #Promote #BlogPostImages Click To Tweet
Signing off and toasting: To more awesome (and “imaged”) credible health content for the internet!
Over to you
Do you have a favourite place to get your health blog images? If so, did I miss a great resource?
What software or course do you use to customize your images?
Do you have branding suggestions for me? I’d be pretty grateful, as that’s (clearly) not one of my superpowers! 🙂
Let me know in the comments below!
Originally published August 2017; updated with even more awesomeness September 2018 and June 2022.
Choosing images for sharing evidence: new guidance from Cochrane
How to Make Custom Images for Your Blog Posts Without Hiring a Designer
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I’m Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.
Wow! Great info Leesa, I learned SO much! While I already implement quite a few of these things, there were others I had no idea about. Going to start implementing!! I use Photoshop for my pix (cuz my background is in graphic design!) and take some of my own pix, or purchase cheap stock photos, or download from Pixabay. Looking forward to reading more of your articles and learning more. I’ve been blogging for more then 5-years and still always learning new things. 🙂
I’m so glad you are going to start implementing a few more of these “tricks” for blog images. 🙂
Leesa, thanks for your recent email noting and linking to this article – this article was very, very helpful – quite practical. It gave me a strategy, and checklist of sorts, to implement right away as I’m about to launch my very first blog post. I thought of just using one image but after reading this I upped it to four. And I’ve begun to use pexels and pixabay and they’re great.
I’m so glad this blog post helped Robert! Yes, several images is a great plan for each blog post, and easy enough to do. Thanks for your comment, and all the best for your new blog!
You’re welcome – and thank you : )
I just read this through. I am going to try the featured image with the blog post title overlay. I have not used this yet. I just use a featured image. Thanks again! Luana
Great to hear, Luana! I hope the featured image helps.