This article is all about using images in your EHow Articles, which is a VERY important step in the process. Why? Four reasons:
- Pictures can help with optimization.
- Images add to the appeal, quality, and value of your finished work.
- Images draw the reader's eye, and keep them around longer.
- You have a better chance of being featured on the front page of eHow.
There are many different places you can go to find high quality, free, stock photos, but I highly recommend Stock.XCHNG. It's easy to use, has tons of free photos, and they provide a place for you to comment, gaining a backlink for your article in the process! Go to the website and sign up for an account to enable you to comment. I'll touch on this part of the process more a little later.
Finding Images to Use on Stock.XCHNG
Finding a picture on the site is easy. You just search in the search box for a keyword. Admittedly, the search function is a little crappy - and you can't search by category, which stinks when there are a ton of results. However, with a little digging you can find plenty of nice photos there.
The site also offers premium pictures - which you must pay for. However, it's easy enough to bar these from appearing in your results. When you perform a search, you'll get a screen like this:
Just click the close button on the top header bar (outlined in red) to eliminate premium results. The free results are in the bottom section. These are the ones we want to look at. Once you've found an image you like, click on it to check the restrictions. If you hover your mouse over a picture you can see a larger preview before clicking.
When you click on a picture, you'll see something like this:
If the area under Availability (highlighted in red) says "Standard Restrictions Apply", this means you're free to use the image on your eHow articles. Sometimes there will be special instructions here, such as the person must be notified, and/or credited when you use the photo.
This is really no big deal, and I recommend that you credit, anyway. But always follow any instructions here. If written approval is required, which you run into rarely, I usually just pass it up.
Crediting Photographers from Stock.XCHNG
Even if it isn't specified that you should credit, it's still a nice thing to do, especially if you leave a comment stating where the photo has been used, which I also recommend.
Simply click on the username in the side bar, under where it says "Uploaded By", and you'll be taken to the profile page. Copy the users real name and paste it into the credits on your eHow article. If the real name is hidden use this formula: sxc.hu/username
Saving Images for Your EHow Articles
This is where the optimization comes into play. When you save your images, you should save them as the name of the keyword phrase. For example, I would save the intro picture for my article as relieve_sinus_pressure. Your readers can't see this, but the search engines can.
For the pictures in steps, save them as relieve_sinus_pressure 1, relieve_sinus_pressure 2, etc. This will boost your optimization even further. To save an image from Stock.XCHNG simply right click, and select "save image as". Then rename, and choose a directory.
TIP: I usually try to get an intro picture, and a picture for each of my steps. This can get confusing, so I create a new folder for each eHow tutorial, and save all images used for that article, as well as a copy of the text, into the folder.
Other Place to Find Images for EHow Articles
Sometimes Stock.XCHNG will not have the image you want. When this happens you have alternatives. Read my blog post for other free stock photo sites, if you are in need of ideas.
You can also get images from Amazon. This is especially helpful for articles about products. For example, I recently wrote "How to Use Pine Nut Oil for Health", and the pictures are from Amazon.
You could say "Pine Nut Oil Pictures from Amazon", or just "Amazon.com" in the image credits. Public Domain photos do not need to be credited, and if I use Wikimedia Commons, I simply put "Wikimedia Commons" as the image credit.
UPDATE: There has been much ado about Copyright Infringement on Ehow. I would recommend only using Amazon pictures if you are actually promoting one of the items. Otherwise, you could be violating TOS. If you're promoting a particular item for Amazon, I don't see any problem with using the picture, but this is dangerous territory. If you aren't sure, don't use the photo.
Do I Really Need an Image for Every Step?
The short answer is, no, you don't. However, if you want your articles to look professional, and well thought out, then you do! Sometimes its impossible to find a photo that fits, and that's okay. I check STOCK.XCHANG first, then Wikimedia Commons, and then Amazon. If none of these sites have an appropriate picture, I move on. You can't win them all.
UPDATE: You don't NEED a picture for every step, and if you're spending too much time trying to find images, this can be counterproductive. You only really NEED one picture - and that's for the intro. If you happen to see pictures that would fit the steps during your search, by all means - use them. But, don't worry too much about it. As long as you have one high quality photo, that's enough.
A Word on Image Captions
It's become a common practice to stuff keywords into every image caption. This is not necessary, and makes it look like what it is - keyword stuffing. Only add an image caption if it's needed. For example, the picture above is Ginger Root. Everyone might not recognize this by name, so I would place a caption under it, saying simply "Ginger Root". If it's obvious what the item is, leave out the caption.
Leaving a Comment After the Article is Published
This is a great way to get a backlink to your article after it's pulished, plus it will be much appreciated by the photographer, and may even get you a curiosity click or two. When I am uploading an eHow article, I open a new tab in my browser for each picture I save. Then, after I've published the article, I go back and post a comment saying, "Thanks! I used the image here: http://www....." into each one of the photo comment sections. Note that you can only do this on SXC, and not Amazon or Wikimedia Commons.
Opening a new tab for each image, and keeping them open until you publish the article and get the URL will save you a lot of time and effort. Simply go to each tab, paste the comment in, submit and close. Then you're all done!
Adding images to your eHow articles will improve your chances of having an article featured on eHow's front page, keep your reader interested, make your articles look more appealing and professional, and help with your search engine optimization. Yes, it's a little more work, but it WILL pay off in the end.
Other posts in the eHow tutorial series: