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Picking the right first shots to increase your blog readership

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Picking the right first shot for you blog can make all the difference in the world when it comes to capturing the attention of readers.
11 years ago, January 25th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #26056  
Picking the right first shot for your blog can make all the difference in the world when it comes to capturing the attention of readers. So how do you do it?

Personally, I go through all of my pictures for a specific location and, first, select between 15 and 30 shots that I think are good enough to make it into the blog.. After working on the pictures (by work I mean converting to black and white, sharpening, cropping, etc.) I try to put them in some semblance of order. The next step is where the hard part comes in…those first couple of pictures can really capture someone’s attention if you pick them right.

Quick note: If you are writing a blog mainly for yourself, then the picture order is less important. If your blog is a means of documenting and archiving your personal experiences without regard for other people, then picture order purely is an emotional thing that should follow your own whims.

If you are hoping to capture readers with your blog, here are some of my thoughts on how to do it:

I always throw out long distance pictures like landscape. These pics don't grab attention when they are thumbnails because the details are too small. Readers will gloss over landscapes or long distance pictures because they can't really tell what they are looking at.

I rarely lead with a picture of people I know. This means I won't have the first picture be a picture of me, my wife, or friends etc. The average Travelblog reader is more interested in pictures of the place than they are in pictures of you. They may very well be interested in the experiences you had, and may, once they open your blog, wish to see those smiling faces but they need something new and interesting to draw their attention into the blog entry.

Next, I work to find a picture that grabs attention. For example, I recently took a trip to the relatively unheard of destination of Roanoke, Virginia. Very few people have heard of Roanoke or would be interested in reading about it. I made sure to chose my pics wisely so that I would increase my readership.



My first pic:

I chose this photo because I thought the sky was cool and the big star had "catch appeal." I figured that, as you scanned the front page of Travelblog or the United States page, this star might catch your attention and make you want to look further.



My next three pics:

These were picked because they reinforced the title of the blog and had some pizzazz that I thought might be interesting to others. Sure, they aren't perfect pictures but cool subjects can go a long way towards capturing people's attention.

When people are scanning the blogs you want them to pick you and read your stuff. To do this, think like a marketing person, make sure your blog has "catch appeal."

How do you set up your blogs for success? What judgments do you use?
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11 years ago, January 25th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #26059  
B Posts: 5,186
One approach which definitely grabs my attention is the cryptic close up. Beth whose photo is shown to the right is doing a great job with this - though I wish she'd put this as a first shot in that blog 😉

Mike got it right with "grab attention when they are thumbnails" - so I try to lead with the best overall shot and then the three thumbnails get vivid simple shots, sunsets and silhouettes, colourful close-ups.

Nice post Mike! Reply to this

11 years ago, January 26th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #26072  
N Posts: 10
Team Turner,

I agree with your approach, you need a pic that grabs the attention of people so that they end up reading your blog regardless of whether they are interested in your destination. I personally like close ups of locals that portray the uniqueness of their dress or way of life - India, SEA and Africa are just a few places where locals are so different that the average Joe in the western world. There's something about capturing a moment that seems to be so far removed from the 21st century!

I also agree with leaving out personal pics - there's nothing about those pics that draws in a curious mind.

Good topic of conversation Reply to this

11 years ago, January 26th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #26073  

11 years ago, January 26th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #26075  
argh! tricks of the Travelblog trade are being revealed!! 😊 I totally agree, I know some travelbloggers that are purist- they wont post pictures any other way than chronologically.

The first 4 pictures must be eye catching, if not for readership numbers then for blog aesthetics!

I wouldnt say I have a criteria for which pics I put as the top 4- but the feature picture is usually the 1 photo I deem the best from the trip, or the one that illustrates the most of the trip because a thumbnail may not do the best one justice.

Occasionally I will post pics chronologically, with only the top 4 pics being out of order.

After choosing the top 4, previewing the post blurb will give you an idea of what people see- I squint and look at them- so the top 4 pics have colors running into each other? Do their dimensions compliment each other? Does the fourth picture(which to me is the #2 looked at picture when glancing through blurbs) attract as much attention as the first picture?

One more thing- I noticed posting a landscape dimension picture(width longer than height) posted as the first picture is much larger than a picture with portrait dimensions posted as the first! more pixels for your money to advertise that precious blog posting you've worked so hard on in that Laotian internet cafe...
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11 years ago, February 4th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #26709  
Of course I agree with all that's been said, although I've tended to be one of those old-fashioned guys who tries to put pix in chronological order with the text. I guess that because I write for my family and friends rather to attract hits, but I'll give the ideas a try in future blogs.

Having attracted people to your blog, if you haven't tried it yet you should think about using the new(ish) Travelblog panorama format for the opening pic. I'm a great fan - take a look at a couple of my recent blogs Christmas has come early! and It's a long way to go for a wedding! Reply to this

11 years ago, February 4th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #26719  
Mike, That panaorama of Budapest is pretty sweet. I have not actually used the panaorama feature yet but see why it will be a great tool for the future. One piece of advice, it looks like you need to keep the ppi (pixels per inch, also known as resolution) number for your picture a little higher as you are starting to see some pixelation occur. This is mostly present in your the sky on your picture where fine color changes show off the lower resolution of the picture. If you have questions about how to change the resolution of your picture feel free to ask in a seperate forum post so that we can get a new discussion going. Reply to this

11 years ago, February 5th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #26740  
Thanks. I use a Canon MVX10i - a dual camcorder and stills camera - which has a maximum of 2 megapixels (my main photographic hobby is video and I got fed up with carrying two cameras). Anyhow, while the resolution is fine for video, when a portion of a still photograph is enlarged - as in the Travelblog panorama - pixelation is inevitable. I still think the concept is great and, even with the lower resolution, the impact at the beginning of a blog intended for friends and family consumption is worthwhile. I agree, however, that it doesn't stand scrutiny as far as quality is concerned! Reply to this

11 years ago, February 5th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #26757  
Either way, awesome shot....it brings me back to Budapest! Well done! Reply to this

11 years ago, March 28th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #31095  
thank you so much!! i have just devoured all that information and it was so much simpler than having to sift through the forum for the most beneficial info. I think im going to go read my manual for my camera now! cheers, ashley Reply to this

7 years ago, February 17th 2012 No: 11 Msg: #151992  
I've stumbled on this older thread and thought I would try to revive it. I have found the suggestions useful. I have found that colorful first photos help to grab the eye.
I love your action short of the chariot.
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4 years ago, December 27th 2014 No: 12 Msg: #187707  
N Posts: 3
hey every body Reply to this

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