Everyone likes a bit of eye candy. Good visuals and visual design complement great blogs and really can make a difference.
But visual design should be left to graphic designers, right? Well, although it’s true that graphic designers can create amazing visual content from scratch, you don’t have to!
You can take your blog’s visual design to the next level just by adding visual content that your readers will love! Keep reading to find out exactly how visual design can give your post that extra little boost it needs!
Let’s start with the basics. You’re probably not a professional photographer so why do you have to use photos? You’re a great writer, but unfortunately, words are not enough.
Of course, this has less to do with you and everything to do with your audience (or any audience, for the matter). People love shiny things and pretty visuals, which is why marketers invest so much in visual design.
Images can help you tell your story better by supporting your text in a way that no other visual can.
90% of the information sent to our brains is visual and 65% of people are visual learners. We see and experience the world with our eyes. Images evoke strong emotions and can help get your point across.
It’s easier for people to connect with your content if they have something that visually represents the words on paper.
88% of marketers say that they use visuals in more than 50% of the articles that they publish. So what exactly do pictures do, other than remind us that we’re emotional beings?
- They break up the text, making it easier for readers to understand and digest it. It doesn’t matter if your blog is 300 or 3,000 words long. If you type it all as one big paragraph, it will look ugly—No one likes a huge wall of text.
- They effortlessly spell out your topic’s main theme. While cute orangutans may just do the trick every time, before choosing a photo for your blog, you should also take into account your brand’s identity, tone of voice and style.
- They make your posts more shareable. Social media are here to stay, and if your goal is to get your posts liked and shared, you’ll need to make sure that visual design is on point.
Make sure you format and optimise your images correctly for SEO. Don’t over-size them and remember to use alt tags!
You can try out something different by including illustrations or even hand-drawn images in your blog. We realise that you may want to stick to stock photos due to time constraints and tight deadlines, but hear us out.
If you can get a graphic designer involved, you can create blogs with custom illustrations. Bright and distinctive illustrations do more than just add aesthetic value to your blog post:
- They help with brand identity (think Etsy or Slack). When you see how well these brands utilise illustrations to make a lasting impression and define their identity, you can’t help but admit that they’re doing something right.
- They are more subtle. Big photos and eye-catching visuals are great, but in the world of visual design, less is really more. Illustrations can get a point across without requiring users to dedicate all their attention at a single focal point. They work in the background and blend in well with the rest of the website’s assets and elements.
- They run better. You want your website to load fast and illustrations usually contribute to faster loading speeds.
For that extra-unique feel, you could try hand-drawing your illustrations or images. This old-school approach is original and shows dedication. Stick to minimalist visual designs and text-based images that can separate sections or subheadings in style.
Statistics and Infographics
How can we talk about visual design and not throw statistics and infographics into the mix? According to a reliable source, 100% of articles could benefit from better stats and infographics. We made that up, but you get the point.
Did you know that data-driven blog posts and infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a text-only article? Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.
Data-driven content tells your reader that you have authority in your industry and know what you’re talking about. Infographics can make a long and otherwise boring post interesting and exciting.
- Offer unparalleled visual power. We’ve talked about the power of visual design already. Combine good visuals with interesting and data-driven information and you have a recipe for success.
- Can replace generic and stock images to give your blog a more professional and sophisticated look. Don’t get us wrong. Stock images are great, but ask yourself: How many posts have used the same image before? Custom-made infographics are unique and will help your posts stand out.
- Provide readers with concise information. Long and detailed articles are OK, but most people don’t have the time to go through everything that you write. Maybe they’re drawn by your title or think that they’ll find something interesting in your post. 81% of people skim through content when reading online and the average reader reads just 20-28% of words during a visit. Infographics make a long story short and keep your readers happy and engaged.
- Increase brand awareness. Again, consistency is the key. Build your brand’s identity from the ground-up by identifying visual designs that help define and express your brand’s values and personality.
- Are shareable. Blog posts are shareable too, but on social media, people desperately crave attention and recognition. A good infographic will be liked and shared, time and time again. An article that contains the same information will likely not receive the same attention.
And you don’t even have to be an expert or experienced graphic designer to create a great infographic that will have an impact.
Online visual design tools like Canva offer many free templates and assets that you can use to create your own designs and infographics.
Great infographics strike a good balance between attractive, clean visual design and factual information. They are beautiful, but also pleasantly, and often times, unexpectedly smart.
They’re based on solid research and contain minimal text.
Ah, yes, the masters of engagement. Videos don’t just look good in a blog. They have a tremendous effect on engagement rates.
So, how exactly can you use video content to engage your audience and skyrocket engagement rates?
- Create compelling social videos that tell a story. Turn your blog posts into interesting videos by using online video tools, such as Lumen5 and Renderforest. You only have to paste your text and/or images into one of these platforms to create the perfect social video with minor editing—no expert video editing skills required!
- Create video tutorials to go along with your guides. People love tutorials because they offer easy-to-follow content that they can use to solve real-life problems. They’re quite easy to make, especially if you already have the source material ready.
- Create an original ‘about us’ video. Linking back to the importance of having a clearly defined brand identity, it would make sense to follow up with an interesting ‘about’ page that captivates and inspires your audience. Actions speak louder than words and a video is worth a thousand pictures (it only takes about 40 seconds for a video to reach the 1000 frame mark).
- Share video reviews. If an influencer or another important content creator has video-reviewed one of your products positively, you could include their video on your main website. Create strong links between different partner websites to increase organic traffic.
Keep your videos nice and short. The average attention span is lower than ever so you need to make sure viewers are hooked on your content as fast as possible.
According to Wista, the first few seconds of a social video are the most important. Grab your viewers’ attention quickly by using interesting visuals and catchy headlines.
Keep in mind that video content in most social media platforms is viewed with the volume off. Make sure that your video says what you want it to say without having to use sound; Subtitles work great in this case.
Bonus – More Ideas
- GIFs: Most marketers wouldn’t use GIFs in their posts. They’re seen as too informal, sketchy and unpolished. But if your brand’s identity and style allow it, you can stand out and show your brand’s human side by creating visual content that helps convey emotion.
- Gifographics: These infographics combine static and animated images to create compelling and engaging visuals. Adding movement to your graphs and statistics can really take your blog’s visual design to a whole new level. Before investing time into creating the perfect gifographics, make sure your website can support them.
- Memes: No, this is not a joke. If you want to go for a lighter, more fun approach (and you think that your readers will appreciate it), you could consider adding a meme or two to your blog post. Just don’t go overboard. You don’t want to scare your readers away by trying too hard to sound funny.
That’s all for today! Compelling visuals can really bring a post to life and with so many image and video editing tools available online, it doesn’t have to be that hard (and it isn’t!).
Remember: Great visual design starts with a killer brand logo. Find out how you can create a unique logo that will make a long-lasting impression here!