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add-spiceA picture is worth a thousand words, and while I usually emphasize writing good content so that your blogs are indexed by the search engines, adding some visual spice is always a great idea.

Adding images to your blog is easy. In popular blog platforms such as WordPress there are tools that allow you to easily upload a small image into your blog. Once you have uploaded an image, you can also make some adjustments including the padding or spacing around the image so that your words don’t bump right into the image, and the justification so that you can position the image to the right, left, or center of your post.

Uploading the images is fairly easy. As a quick note, the most common and easily used images for your blog are .JPG, .PNG, and .GIF. JPG is the most preferred, and what is generally produced by most digital cameras and screen capture utilities.

What I find to be the hard part is in finding an appropriate image to include with your post. Just the right image can add volumes of context to your post. Funny or abstract images are my favorites, but there is certainly good reason to add clarifying images, or those that appeal to emotion.

There are plenty of places to look, but the first thing to be aware of is copyright laws. It is illegal to simply steal an image from another person’s website or library without permission. Doing so can get you into trouble, but there are several ways to avoid this problem.

The first is to pay for an image. This costs money, of course, but is a safe way to get high quality images for your blog. My favorite site for purchasing images is iStock.com.

Another way is to use your own photography. Most of us have digital cameras these days so it is relatively easy to plan ahead, take a break from your computer, and host your very own photo shoot. I have done this in a variety of ways and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it every time. Of course you don’t have to go to elaborate lengths to create the perfect photo; sometimes a simple picture of a flower in the back yard, a window reflecting the sky, or a fencepost will do.

When blogging for your business, stock photos of your company’s products and the ways they can be used are good images to include, and are often available from your company website.

Another great place to get photos is Flickr. Flickr.com is a great source of photos taken by regular people from all over the world. You’ll be amazed at the quality and breadth of the photos you can find on Flickr. A great search tool for finding photos on Flickr is called Compfight. Just go to compfight.com and perform a search for the image you are looking for. Compfight takes care to search only those photos that are labeled for public use, however you will still want to be sure you are using a photo that has been given a Creative Commons license, meaning it is open source and available for use without payment. Some restrictions may apply, so always double check.

Adding an image to your posts is a great way to spice up your content and give your readers a little extra fun to look at when they stop by your blog.

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