Are you a blogger who knows you need images but just want to write? Are you sick of wasting time scouring the internet for royalty-free or Creative Commons images? ImageInject is the perfect solution.
We know. You just finished your four-thousand word post, redefining the meaning of the word “epic” all along the way, where every sentence could stand on its own. It’s golden content. Google Analytics needs extra sleep just to keep up with reporting all the traffic you’ll get.
But what will it look like when you tweet it out? Will it be rich? Does it take advantage of Open Graph data?
I know, I know, you’re a writer, not a graphic artist. I hear you. Really, I do. But adding just one featured image could really make a huge difference.
We have to remember that in a sea of words, the world is drowning. They’re looking for that one bit of information they can give to their boss (which is why they’re Googling in the first place) to make them the Hero of the Week. We need to be that lighthouse, beckoning to them with light — not a life ring.
So now that we’re agreed. Let’s talk about images.
What Types of Images Work Best?
Twitter and Facebook prefer horizontal images. Let’s face it, most of the web prefers horizontal images. Even movies, computer screens, and televisions are horizontally oriented.
But why? The Golden Ratio.
From GizMag’s “Secret of the golden ratio revealed:”
“When you look at what so many people have been drawing and building, you see these proportions everywhere. It is well known that the eyes take in information more efficiently when they scan side-to-side, as opposed to up and down.” Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering
Facebook, with its 728 million daily users and sticky posts is the best place to post your content.
Photo versus Link:
But in a world of photos, how does a link compare? Believe it or not, Facebook says that link posts perform better. Because their users prefer the link post, Facebook’s algorithm now favors it over a photo.
“We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through.”
That extra information, including an optimized image, comes from Open Graph Data.
In Buffer’s “The Ultimate Guide to Ideal Image Sizes for Social Media Posts,” Kevan Lee talks about how Facebook chooses an image to display when you post your link.
“When choosing an image to go along with a link, Facebook looks at the Open Graph tags for a page, specifically the og:image tag, which specifies the image that Facebook should use when sharing in the News Feed. You can add the og:image tag manually into the <head> section on every page of your website, or you can try out a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress, which handles the code and implementation for you. (We’re big fans of the Yoast plugin for the Buffer blog.)”
You can check to see how your post will appear on Facebook buy using their Debugger Developer Tool. In the box, paste the link and click the blue button that says “Fetch new scrape information.” Near the bottom it will give you a preview of how your post will appear. If you’ve optimized older posts use the Debugger to fetch the new scrape information for them, too.
If you’ve already shared the post and something went sideways, don’t worry, there is a fix. Using the Debugger, fetch the new information. Then, go back to your Facebook post and click on the date (so you get the permalink). Once you’re on that post, hover over the upside-down carat and choose “refresh share attachment.” This insider tip has saved me more times than I’m willing to admit.
Optimize the Meta Data
We know, you’re using Yoast SEO for the open graph and Twitter Card optimization. But if you’re new to our blog and you haven’t, go download this free plugin from the WordPress repository (repo).
All of that was to setup the need for an optimized featured image. You can always add more images, but you need a featured image. Time is a limited resource and blog images shouldn’t take more time than the actual writing.
If you want to quickly search for Creative Commons images right in your dashboard, this is the plugin for you. This tool adds a search box right in your composing screen of the Admin panel.
It takes about two minutes to download, install, and activate. Simply go to your dashboard, click plugins, click add plugin, and search for “ImageInject.”
This is a free plugin. Once the plugin is installed and activated a metabox will appear at the bottom of the editor of your posts and pages.
Now that you’re installed and activated you can see the magic. How do you actually use this magical plugin? Just think of the kind of image you are looking for, let’s say “Cats,” then enter it in the search box. When you hover over the search button you’ll see that by default ImageInject is set to search through both Pixabay and Flicker. Simply unselect whichever one you don’t want or use both. Then click the search button.
It will display a grid of photos. Hover over the image and it will present options for sizes or “set featured image.”
Choose your image options, or if you’re like me, just set the featured image. More detailed instructions are here.
Things to Keep In Mind
Proper image attribution is a tricky issue. This is why ImageInject is so excellent, it handles that automatically for you. Keep in mind that not all images require attribution. ImageInject is smart enough to know the difference and only adds the attribution if it’s necessary.
ImageInject also has a slew of settings to fine-tune your results and configure the images very specifically. This is good for you developers out there, you can totally geek-out on creating your own markup for the images and credits and everything.
One of the cool settings is to choose whether you want to upload the image to your media library or not. Our own Matt Cromwell wrote up a piece on the page speed benefits of leveraging Flicker or Pixabay’s severs to serve up these images versus hosting them on your website and the results are interesting (if you’re into that kind of thing).
Featured Images Make Your Post Appealing
In less than a minute, you have a featured image with the Creative Commons attribution inserted at the bottom of your post.
This is a must-have plugin for content marketers who want to insert images hassle-free.
Competing for eyeballs is tough these days. With live video vying to be the top dog in 2016 the humble blog post, white paper, or online journal needs this tool — just to be seen.