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As the past few years have gone by, my team and I have honed in our process and streamlined it as much as possible. The goal is to reduce the amount of time spent on things that don’t really move the needle, so we can focus more time and energy on the things that help us grow.
One such item that we’ve gone back and forth on is whether or not our articles truly need images, or at least multiple images. If you run a blog, I’m sure you’re aware of how much time it takes to find and upload even a handful of images to your site.
Not too long ago, I posted a video covering our strategy, which is to basically post a featured image on every post, then come back to the high-performing posts to add multiple images, potentially many months after hitting publish on those posts.
The thought behind this strategy is that by waiting to see how an article performs before adding multiple images to it, we can save time and money by not adding images to the articles that don’t bring in any traffic.
This strategy has worked well for us, but are we shooting ourselves in the foot by waiting until an article ranks to add images to it? In some cases, I think we probably are.
This year, we’ve stepped up our focus considerably on improving old content. Part of that push has been to add images to a higher percentage of our posts, again starting from the highest traffic and down to the lowest.
Because we put this on the backburner for a while, we had a ton of newer posts bringing in good traffic that only had a featured image. While this is fine in most cases, there are other scenarios where the posts are practically useless without images throughout.
An example of this might be something like “5 Window Treatments for a Sliding Glass Door.” With an article like this, visitors are expecting to see images of each example. Without them, the article is practically worthless.
This is a good case of one size doesn’t fit all, because there are plenty of other examples, like “Why Does My Windowsill Get Moldy?” where the article will likely perform just fine with only a featured image.
This brings me to my point, which is that you need to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors when making decisions about what you should and shouldn’t do with your site. Not only this, but it’s important to realize that there are likely going to be exceptions to any rules you put in place.
In the case of images, there are some niches and topics where you could likely perform very well with just a featured image, maybe even no images at all. There are of course plenty of niches and topics where your credibility will fall through the floor if you don’t include plenty of images throughout each post.
In our case, most of our posts will likely perform well with just a featured image, but we definitely have exceptions where our visitors are expecting to see images throughout a given post. A better image strategy for us would probably be to target the highest traffic posts first, but also make sure that any “list posts” include multiple images early on (before they start ranking).
When it comes to your site, it’s up to you to make the right determination. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your visitors, then decide what your typical visitor expects to see when they view your site.