The Power of Images

The human brain is an extremely complex thing, however, there is one thing about the brain that we know with certainty: it responds best to images. The first thing a reader notices on a page will always be the image, and it this fact, which makes the use of images by sites so important. No matter how good your content is, your reader will always benefit from an image that puts the subject of an article in context. So, how do you know when and what images to use?

The Function of an Image:

Both your articles title and its primary images are the two key factors that attract a reader to click on the link to your site. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to state that the correct use of powerful, thought provoking images can have a direct effect on the level of traffic your site receives. Images have the crucial functions of subliminally telling the reader what your article is about, what tone it will take and your views on the subject of the article. The first step in choosing an image that will attract readers to your site is to make sure that the image is relevant to the content of the article. For example, if you're writing about poverty in Africa then posting a picture of a girl in a bikini will seriously dent your article’s credibility on the subject. It's also very important to make sure that the image matches the tone of the article. It should go without saying that a serious article requires a serious image. An image is essentially a first glimpse into the soul of your article and, if the readers don’t like what they see, there's a good chance that they won't bother to read your article at all.

What Makes an Image ‘Powerful’?

There is no exact template as to what constitutes a powerful image. This is because an image is deemed ‘powerful’ not for what it depicts, but rather for the emotions it provokes when seen. A powerful image should always make you feel something, whether in a positive sense such as a laugh or in a negative sense such as anger. If an image provokes no reaction of any kind from the reader, it is essentially redundant. However, if an image strikes a chord with a reader it virtually guarantees that the reader will at least start reading your article. So how do you make sure that your image will invoke an emotional response? In order to guarantee this your image should always portray at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Shocking
  • Humorous
  • Controversial
  • Unusual

If it does not display at least one of the above attributes then it is highly unlikely to pique a reader’s interest. Another important point to remember is that if it’s a controversial topic then a generic image should always be avoided. However, if you’re writing on a fairly standard topic, for example financial advice, then a generic picture can play a role. It’s worth noting that a generic picture is better than no picture at all but it’s always preferable to go for a powerful image.

Most people don't realise just how important choosing the right image is, with many writers viewing it simply as something that can take up a little space on the page. However, images are actually a vitally important component of any article and definitely warrant more attention from the writing community.

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