Maybe your blog post doesn’t need that 2000-pixel header image

Allow me a brief rant about the trend of putting ginormous, unnecessary images at the top of every single blog post or article. Here it is:

Please don’t always include ginormous, unnecessary images at the top of every single blog post or article.

That would be great, thanks.

I haven’t read the entire Terms of Service for Medium.com, but I assume there must be a clause that says “You must place an image of at least 1800×1300 pixels above any useful article text, no matter the length of the article itself. The article’s title may, however, be placed above the image.”

Like this:

Totally random example with no offense meant to Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

That is the top of what is otherwise an interesting article about something completely unrelated to the 2000×1333 (1MB) image you see filling up the entire world.

Sure, it’s a cool photo (Kev Soto), but what’s it for? I’m guessing there’s a listicle somewhere (probably on Medium) called “10 Things Every Blogger Must Do To Be Successful!” and item 2 on that list is “Find an image, any image (relevance to the post is unimportant), and slap it right up top for no apparent reason.”

I’m sure it’s been demonstrated that including an “eye-catching graphic” on every post increases “audience engagement” by 47.5% but isn’t it really just a waste of time, bandwidth, and mental well-being?

I’ve been testing Pocket as my “read later” service and here’s what my list looks like:

Not useful article images

Only one of those has an even remotely useful image associated with it. If I squint, those thumbnails look kind of nice, but when actually trying to use the page to find something to read, they’re just distracting noise.

And oh goody! Medium recently hooked up with Unsplash to make adding giant, off-topic images even easier…

But first

I get why people do this, and I don’t expect anyone to stop doing it. I just wish they would.

UPDATE: More (and better) words on this from Hanson O’Haver (The Outline): Not Every Article Needs a Picture

11 thoughts on “Maybe your blog post doesn’t need that 2000-pixel header image

  1. @jack the hardest part is there are numbers to back it up. I’ve seen, in realtime, pageviews go through the roof after swapping in a better image. In a way, not putting in an image is a way of saying “this is going to get less readers than it could” (this is in the world of news orgs, not indie blogs where I think a better strategy is to focus on loyalty)

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