I get a fair amount of questions about blogging, and while I definitely don’t consider myself some sort of expert, I’m happy to offer what tiny bits of wisdom I have.
Also, blogging is basically one of my all-time favorite topics, so I thought it’d be fun this year to write a post every few weeks about various blogging things. I had a big positive response to this post about making money on your blog with sponsored posts last year, so I’m assuming there is at least some interest.
If you have zero interest in all things blogging, feel free to skip right past these posts. It won’t hurt my feelings a bit (mainly because I’ll have no idea).
Anyway, first up, let’s talk about photos.
There are ten million posts out there about how important photos are for your blog and I’ve thrown in my own two cents about taking sharper photos, but this post isn’t about taking better photos.
It’s about how to make your photos look better once you actually put them on your blog. Because there is nothing worse than having great photos that look lame once you post them.
1. Resize them. If you upload your photos at full-size (which, even with camera phone photos are pretty enormous), it’ll take forever for them to load. Not to mention it will take forever for them to upload when you add them. The only thing worse than terrible photos is beautiful photos that take 3-4 minutes to load when you pull up someone’s blog. I resize all my photos to a standard of 1000 pixels long (I use Picasa to resize them) which is big enough to look good on my blog but not so huge they take forever to load. And it doesn’t use up all my storage space in about two seconds (I did upgrade to paid storage a year or so ago when I ran out, but it costs a whopping $1.50 a month or something like that).
2. Have your photos take up your whole column. When I look back at my old posts, I’m like “did I think they were going to charge me if my photos were too big?” I have to pull out my glasses to look at the postage-size photos on this post. Now my photos always take up the whole space of my post column. Resizing them to 1000 means they’ll take up my entire column and then I added this CSS code to my blog template to make sure they don’t leak out the column (because that’s a bad look too). Three minutes on the backend and I never have to worry about my photos being too big or too small again.
3. Make your pictures all the same width. This is one of my personal blogging pet peeves (and I only started doing it on mine in the last year, so it’s kind of painful for me to look at old posts). But when you have horizontal and vertical pictures and they keep switching between wide and thin, it’s just not a great look. If you resize them all to be at least as wide as your column (see #1) and then have your CSS keep them from leaking out into the sidebars, all your photos will be nice and standard, so it’s not so distracting for a reader’s eye when the margins keep jumping all over the place. This one below? Yuck.
4. Ditch Blogger’s standard border around your images. Maybe you love the look of the little white border/shadow around all your pictures. And if so, go right ahead and leave it on. But I think it looks much cleaner to have my blog photos not have it around it, so I’ve added some CSS code so it never appears on my photos. Another one of those quick fixes that I did once and then never have to think about again.
5. Turn off Google’s Auto Enhance for Photos. A year or so ago, I noticed my pictures were looking pretty terrible when I uploaded them (the colors would be way off or they’d be significantly less sharp than they were when I looked at them on my computer before uploading them). Turns out that, if you have a Google+ account, you may have auto-enhance turned on for your photos and when you upload photos to your blog, it tries to fix your photos for you (not always for the better). Turn that feature off. And rejoice when your photos don’t look horrendous anymore.