Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Do blogs need pictures?

I like words. I like the way they come out to play when I'm not looking. I like the music of them, the way they can tangle my tongue.

It's why I write.

There seem to be an increasing number of blogs that are full of pictures. Which is fine in a travel bog, or cookery blog (you can tempt me with cake any day), or a discussion about shoes. I've seen lovely pictures of people's gardens, or the fields behind their houses, or unusual buildings in big cities. I enjoy pictures of flowers and mountains and small animals.

I rarely add pictures - they fit with posts about my travelling, when I've been away and want to include photos of my trip.

The rest of the time I fling words at you - ideas, trivia, a mish-mash of thinking. I play with words and then offer them, like a verbal lucky dip. A compilation of serious thinking and irreverent reflections, all done in words.

But do we need pictures in blogs? Are you more likely to dip into a blog that is illustrated over one that is simply words? (There isn't a right or wrong answer - I am simply curious. And it might make a different to how I approach writing this blog in the future.)


  1. Hi Jo... Mmmm! Thought provoking. My answer to the question is yes! I love pictures. My love of words is equalled by my love of visuals and I inwardly groan if I open up a long blog post without pictures! I find I skim read one like this, whereas, if the post is shorter, with pics, I will immerse myself in it.... erm, this is probably why my posts are generally littered with photos, unless it's a poem - different ball game then!

  2. This is an interesting one Jo! Of course pictures aren't needed...they're not compulsory by any means.

    There are some blogs I follow where the words are everything and I create my own images from what is written.

    It's like radio versus tv in a way. I work in radio....I love the medium...where sound effects and words can often have a far more powerful impact for the listener.I always take more in...

    But re pictures...well I use them because in thinking of the days, it's a blog which reflects a day...a snapshot in time, and what's ordinary for me (living in an english country village) , can be so different to readers say in Australia and the USA.

    Inmy other, I 'm also using photos .

    Also, I've never been a photographer...was alsways absolutely awful at aking photos. Now I have an i phone, it's given me the freedom and confidence to take photos of what I know and like, and I can actually illustrate my blog!

    Don't feel that photos are de's personal choice after all....

  3. Well, you made me think Jo! If you mean do blogs need pictures in the sense of are they obligatory to a good blog? Then no. You have mentioned instances where you think pictures are suitable as in travel blogs or pieces about flowers, gardens, pets or cooking but I think you can take that even further. And if a picture is relevant to the subject matter in any way then I think they are welcome addition to augment the impact of the words. Sticking my neck out for an example :), I will mention the photograph I used of my Italian lessons which my elderly 'Countess' neighbour laboriously wrote into a small cash notebook in her aged and squiggly writing! I think it would be a very difficult writing task to convey that visual image with words alone?

    You certainly did get my mind going and I am going to pop back to see what other people might think :)

  4. That made me have a quick flick over at my own blog...
    Being an arty crafty literary person I'm very visual, like Abi, and I tend to put at least one picture on a post. Sometimes the subject matter has no need of illustration and I do have posts without pictures too.
    If I'm blogging about a recipe or a craft, or travel etc then like you said, picture fit well to illustrate, but on the more serious posts I've left them out.
    Generally if I have an appropriate picture that fits the narrative I'll use it!
    My mind leans towards aesthetics and illustration, but sometimes words can be even more powerful without an image.
    I only get put off if the post is incredibly long, without line breaks etc, sometimes I feel the need to breath and sometimes pictures help.
    I choose Blogs according to content that interests me, rather than how pretty they are!

  5. I prefer text over a series of pictures I have to scroll through to find the text scattered among them. The occasional image is fine, to punctuate the post, but I avoid those blogs that are all images with a bit of text.

  6. So many different points of view - thank you all. My current thinking - it's impossible to get it right! But maybe blogging isn't about pleasing all the people all of the time?

  7. It certainly isn't necessary to have pictures in a blog post to make it a good 'un… but I love to use them in my own posts to break up the text and illustrate what I'm talking about. Maybe it's because my own writing process is very visual, and I come from an art background? Who knows! Anyhow, my latest post is almost *entirely* composed of pictures… so, er, I guess that's a big fat YES (for me, at least!).

  8. Sometimes pictures help with clarity. For a blog, and I follow many, pictures can break up the monotony of reading. I find a lot bloggers make the mistake of believing their readers have the time to spend thirty minutes on their blog post. If you follow only five blogs, that's 2 1/2 hours of reading. Pictures help summarize points that would otherwise take me five more minutes to read through. That's what a novel is for.

  9. N - I confess, if a blog is monotonous, I'm not likely to stick with it for half an hour! I agree with you - that's what a novel is for.

  10. I tend to post mostly words but occasionally I will do a photo post. As a reader I prefer to infer over photo blogs rather than blog posts that are too wordy.

  11. I had this on my mind as well. I think using pictures occasionally is fine. Just my take...