In my previous post on this topic, Using Images In Your Posts: Sources, I covered sources for images.
In this article, I’ll be covering three techniques you can use to get the most out of the pictures you find. Finding the picture is only part of the story, you have to get it to work well within your article to help drive the story home with the reader and to catch the eye of the casual viewer.
Blending an Image with Your Content
One of the effective ways to include an image in your article is to blend it with your text. For example, in this paragraph you see the road workman with the stop sign on the right. This kind of picture lets the reader who’s scanning infer that this part of the text might be important.
Such an image can also be used to give or reinforce a particular feel for a section. For example, if I wanted to enhance part of an article where I was angry about something, I might display a picture of a person who was angry. Or, if I wanted to give a paragraph an emphasis on technology, I might use a retro looking computer room picture.
Blending images with text is easy in the WordPress visual editor. Just click on the image pop-up and select Left or Right from the Alignment dropdown and the picture you select will be placed accordingly. Also, it’s good to give a little margin to the picture so you may want give it about 5 pixels of space both vertically and horizontally as seen in this screen shot.
If you want to use HTML code you can do it like this.
<img src=’http://optempo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/roadworker.png’ alt=’Stop Looking’ vspace=’5′ hspace=’5′ align=’left’ />
or like this
<img src=’http://optempo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/roadworker.png’ alt=’Stop Looking’ style=”margin: 5px;” align=’left’ />
Of course there are a lot more things you can do with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) but that goes beyond what I’ll be covering here.
Using an Image as a Divider
Another common use of pictures in post is to have one as a divider between sections of text, as almost a chapter divider.
For example, let’s say that there’s an article where we begin with a light, humorous tone but we want to switch to a more somber tone to get serious. We might use a divider picture like this to swap tones.
This helps the reader switch gears mentally for your change in direction.
With this kind of picture it’s not shown mixed with the text and you would usually use a larger picture that fit across most, if not all, of your content area. You could also use the <center> element to center the image as I’m doing here.
Fun with Alt Tags
Another thing that you can use with your images is the Alt tag. This tag is intended to convey image information to persons who require an audio browser. It also can be used for SEO purposes for Google Image Search since this part of what they use to determine the relevance of an image. You can also use it to convey a hidden message to readers who hover over it.
Some browsers use the alt tag as a tooltip while other browsers use the title tag for this purpose. Who’s right? Who cares? If you want all of your audience to see the tooltip use the same text in both tags. You could even use different text in the tags if you wanted. Hover over the ‘whisper’ picture to see which your browser uses.
Remember that a lot of the ways you use images can also be applied to how you show advertising blocks in your text. It can be effective to combine both regular images and advertising images within your articles although, if you do this, it’s best to have a high relevance between the ad and the article.
Do you have any thoughts on using images in your articles? Any questions? Just leave a comment if you do.
Editors Note: This is the 300th post on OpTempo since it was started on October 6, 2007