When and Why to Link Images in Blog Posts
According to split testing and heat maps of online behavior, Internet users frequently click on images even if they are not linked to anything. As a blogger, you can use this tendency to your advantage.
When writing a post, ask yourself if you want your readers to go somewhere as a result of clicking on a particular image.
Don’t Link Your Images
More than likely you do not want your readers redirected elsewhere after a click on an image. Your image is in the post to accentuate or illustrate your text. You want your reader to stay on that blog post and dig deeper into your blog, reading additional posts or fulfilling some other action.
That means that as a general rule, you should unlink images on your blog.
As default, when you insert an image on a WordPress blog, the image is linked to the photo URL. However, you can easily unlink it.
Look at the example below. To unlink the image, either delete the image URL or simply click the NONE button. Your image will still be there, but it will not be clickable.
A big problem with images linked to their image URL is Pinterest. Imagine your reader loves your latest tutorial and clicks on the photo of the finished product. Because your image was linked to the image URL, she lands on a page with just the image. From there, she decides to pin your image on Pinterest.
Great, right? You are getting social media love.
No, it’s not great.
That pin will now refer back to the image URL on your blog and not the actual post where you used the image. The image on Pinterest is now isolated from the directions. Most visitors will not take the time to search for the original post and will leave in frustration, feeling rather cheated. You got a click to your site, but it is not going to convert into a reader or subscriber.
Another problem with images linked to image URLs is the trouble they provide for mobile users using touchscreens. Have you ever accidentally clicked an image when you were actually scrolling? It happens to all of us. Then the user has to find the back button and more carefully scroll down. Avoid frustrating your readers by unlinking images from their image URLs.
Do Link Your Images
But is there ever a time to link your images? Yes, there are reasons to deliberately link an image.
If you want that image to redirect to another post or page on your blog, link to it. This is a great way to propel readers deeper into your content. Remember that Internet users like to click on images, so link your images exactly where you want them to go.
If you are selling or promoting a product, always make the product images link to a sales page, a shopping cart, or an affiliate link.
The bottom line is to be deliberate about the linking of your images. If you want to link an image, link it to something useful — a sales page or more great content. If you want your image to just be that — a pretty accessory– unlink it.