How to Make Your Blog Eye-catching

So you have spent a semester compiling research together, you have written your blog post and now you need to upload it to WordPress. The old favourite of copy and paste is not enough; blogs need eye-catching images, carefully selected from relevant sources, in order to truly promote themselves within the blogosphere. Think about the images that you select and constantly question their importance and relevance to your writing. Always consider the reader since research blogs for a public audience should cater for this wider, and potentially non-academic, readership.

Public domainPersonally I used images from a variety of sources: scanned images from primary texts, online journal articles, paintings, newspaper articles and archived historical records in order to facilitate the message behind the writing. As long as each image is properly referenced, bloggers are free to select and incorporate any image source into their work. Fortunately for us, many images have recently been made ‘open source’ via Creative Commons. This means they are part of the public domain and can be used without payment or asking for permission to copy, provided the holder or source is acknowledged. When using images from Google or Wikipedia always check if they are part of this public domain or if they are subject to copyright and you need to obtain permission to use. If possible, the image should be hyperlinked to its original source, with links opening in a new window, to provide research opportunities for our readers without directing them away from the blog site.

Featured image in my blog: ‘The Solitary Prisoner’ – Engraving from Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation.
Featured image in my blog: ‘The Solitary Prisoner’ – Engraving from Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation.

All WordPress blogs have a featured image which can be uploaded at any time; this will not appear in the main editing screen but will appear above your piece of writing once it has been posted. You will find the featured image box below the categories and tags on the right side of the screen. All images you wish to embed within your writing must be done within the main editing window.

Selecting the ‘Add Media’ button will allow you to upload an image into the WordPress library for use within your blog. Once selected from the library, the image details will be displayed on the right hand side of the screen. The main thing to consider here is alignment (i.e. whether you would like the image to be left, centre or right) as captions and hyperlinks can be edited later. Also think about the size of image. Do you want it to span the page or be a smaller image, as in my example above? You can alter the size when you select ‘Add Media’.

wordpress example

Adding images and hyperlinks to your blog helps improve its interactivity but remember text can also be linked to other sources. Linking relevant points within the text to its source can help other researchers identify where your material came from, which reinforces the blog site’s purpose as a useful research tool.

My own post, ‘A Prison Without Bars: Solitary Confinement in Great Expectations’, takes a closer look at Dickens’s personal life. In attempt to breathe life into this blog, I included images of the steamer Dickens took to America, Philadelphia’s solitary inmates, prolific writers campaigning against poor conditions and some contemporary publications, such as Dickens’s All The Year Round magazine. These helped me create a better picture of Dickens’s world and so I hope they can do the same for a reader. Take a look at my post on our Prison Voices website.

On behalf of the Blogging Beyond Team, I hope you have found this post useful. Please feel free to comment or Tweet us @blogging_beyond your feedback. Tell us what you do to make your blogs eye-catching!

 

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