Apart from being descriptive, images will make your posts live and more appealing to readers. This will improve your traffic and the user experience. Advertisers might also get encouraged to order a sponsored review on your blog if they know that you will include pictures and examples from the product.
So far so good. Extracting images from the web and adding them smoothly to posts without making your site look like MySpace is not a simple task, however. Below you will find tips and resources for this purpose.
Good Ol’ Printscreen
This is the most basic method. It will not produce outstanding results, but it might be helpful if you are using the Internet from another terminal or if somehow you are not able to access other tools.
Most personal computers come with a â€œPrtScâ€ key on the upper right part of the keyboard. Whenever you press that key your computer will save a digital copy of your screen on the cache.
The next step is to open an image editing software (Paint will suffice) and paste the copy of the screen. Just edit the image properly, save it as a new file and you are done.
Notice that you can also â€œprintâ€ only the active window on your screen by holding Alt while you use the â€œPrtScâ€ key.
The Paid Software
Snagit is the standard when it comes to screen capturing software. It allows you to take screenshots of specific regions and scrolling web pages. It also includes several advanced features like video capture, special effects and image editing.
You can try the software for 30 days, and if you like it you will need to spend $39 for a single user license. Is it worth it, you might ask? Yes if you have a professional website or if you are planning to make money via your blog. If you blog for hobby probably you can get away with free tools.
The Free Alternative
I can’t blame you if you don’t want to spend 40 bucks for an image capturing software. While a free alternative will not provide all the features you would find inside Snagit, it will probably get the job done anyway.
Screen Hunter 5 is a screen capturing software that comes in three versions: Pro, Plus and Free. The first one costs $29, the second $19 and the third one, as you probably guessed, costs nothing.
Notice that the free version is not a trial one like Snagit. You can use unlimitedly both for personal and business uses. The only drawback is that it does not come with advanced features.
The software allows you to capture rectangular areas, active windows or full screens. It also comes with extra tools like color picker and delayed captures.
Trademark & Copyright Issues
Suppose you are writing a post about a certain company. Can you use that company’s logo in your article? Most of the times, yes.
Trademarks protect companies from people or organizations that use their logo in order to deceive customers. For example, an SEO consultant can not use Google’s logo on it is webpage because it would lead visitors to think that somehow he is involved with Google.
If you are writing a post about Google, however, you have the right to use its logo for the purpose of criticism, comment or news reporting. This is called “nominative fair use.”
The same does not apply to images within the website of companies, though. These are protected by copyright, and you can only use them under explicit permission from the author or owner.
The law is not clear about screenshots. Some people argue that you should be able to take screenshots or software and websites without infringing copyright, as long as it is for the purpose of criticism, comment or news reporting. The argument states that such usage would fall under the “fair use” principle.
When in doubt, seek legal advice from an attorney.
Finding Images on the Internet
Some times you will need to find images for your posts through out the Internet. Fortunately there are several websites that stock royalty free and images and photographies. Below you will find links to some useful ones.
Positioning the Images
Now you have the tools and the resources for getting images. What about placing them efficiently on your posts? There are basically two methods for positioning images within blog posts: using CSS and using HMTL attributes.
CSS formatting offers more flexibility, and it is the preferred method. In order to align an image via CSS you will need to create a special class on your CSS file. WordPress users usually have this file names stylesheet.css. Once you located the file just add something like this:
border:1px solid #999999;
This code will create the class for all your images that are supposed to be aligned on the right. As you can see we have added both padding and a solid border (you can customize this elements as needed). Whenever you want to align an image using that format you just need to call the class within the img tag, which will look like this:
<img class="alignright" src="http://www.domain.com/testimage.gif" />
The second option involves HTML attributes, but it should be considered only if you are not able to use CSS because the align=”right” and align=”left” attributes will be deprecated from XHTML markup.
In order to use these attributes, just add them inside the img tag:
<img align="right" src="http://www.domain.com/testimage.gif" />
Finally, remember that images above the fold will give more visibility to your posts. A catchy image might convince an otherwise reluctant reader to investigate the rest of your content.