Blogs Illustrated: Adding Interest, Impact and SEO to Your Blog Posts


As one of the last of a dying breed — a journalist who actually went through J-school — incorporating images (still and moving) with copy in blog posts is bred in the bone. The best images are editorial — eye-catching, interesting, entertaining. On a legal blog, adding a basic stock image of a courtroom scene contributes nothing to the post. However, a metaphorical representation of the argument(s) being made in the text elevates both.

Photos, illustrations and videos:

  1. Telegraph and animate the narrative’s main ideas
  2. Have been empirically shown to aid in memory and recall
  3. Break up copy blocks in order to engage the eye and make the text more readable
  4. Enhance SEO (especially video)

But if you’re not an avid photographer, videographer or illustrator and don’t have the resources or inclination to pay for images, how do you find the “art” for the story? You can find them through a simple search on Google, Flickr, YouTube, etc., but you’re basically on your own concerning pesky legal issues like provenance, copyright and “fair use.”

While not foolproof, there are several curation sites that can help you finesse those search engines to  find free images with no or few strings attached, as well as sites that offer free images as part of their paid services:

(With acknowledgment and thanks to participants in Rachel Carlson’s recent Legal Blogging LinkedIn group discussion thread)


  1. Helpful post, Jay. I especially appreciate the collection of free image resources. Re: flickr, I use advance search and click on “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”. Most of the pics from the result of such a search accompanied by a photo credit link back to the page is usually enough to satisfy copyright/license issues. But always wise to double check.

    • shatterboxvox says:

      That’s great marketing in itself, don’t you think? I’m much more likely to select an image with the attribution built in.

      • Yeah, took me awhile to recognize the marketing benefit. I also snap lots of pictures of seemingly random images as I go about and use some to accompany posts. Occasionally those images even inspire posts.

  2. Hi Jay: I agree about the importance of using photos in blog posts, or any story. They make a big difference to the reader, and can serve to create an emotion that lends itself to the tone of the post. It often takes me twice as long, if not longer, to find an image I like to go with a post than it did writing the post!

    • shatterboxvox says:

      Isn’t that the truth! I get an idea in my head of what I’m looking for and end up searching high and low. Although, I do enjoy the serendipity of the search, and frequently end up with something different/better.

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