Naked Blog Posts and Why I Might Prefer Them

naked man
Image by efes from Pixabay

When I first started blogging in 2005, few of my posts included images of any kind. I wrote these naked posts because this was what the atheist bloggers I followed were doing. I didn't understand how images could be helpful. They give readers something to look at, and they are helpful when sharing posts on social media. They may even have some benefit for SEO, though I've given up trying to unravel that mystery.

All these years later, I find myself missing the naked posts at times. Messing with images is a hassle. One has to find them, compress them, convert them, and add alt text to them. To make matters worse, Google keeps changing the format they want. Using JPEG files isn't good enough; now they want WebP files. They'll demand something else tomorrow. Messing with images takes already limited time away from writing.

I've been trying to pay more attention to what I see on other blogs lately. Most do use images, but some don't. And I have to admit that I find something appealing about visiting a post with no images. The naked post focuses 100% of my attention on the words. There's something I like about that. The thought that keeps coming to me as I read these posts is that some posts don't need images.

I know, I know! "Too much text will turn off your readers." It has never turned me off, not when I'm looking for something to read. "You need something to break it up or to catch the eye and stimulate interest." That seems to be good general advice, but I don't know that it applies to every post. Then again, I suppose it could be me to which it doesn't apply.

When I pick up a book (you know, those things with pages people used to have), I don't expect images. When I find them, I rarely look at them. They distract me from reading. And when I have that book open, reading is what I am looking to do.

I then think about one of my favorite blogs of all time. It disappeared without a trace several years ago, and I have no idea what became of the author. I can't recall his name or the name of his blog. I enjoyed it so much because every post provoked thought. I looked forward to reading it. So what? This blogger never included an image in any post, not a single one.

"That was then, and this is now. Nobody could get away with that today." Except that isn't true. I can think of one popular blog I read now that never has images and at least a few more than rarely do. I enjoy these blogs every bit as much as any that use more images. Could it be that images in blog posts are less necessary than some of us think?

Most blogging experts recommend at least one image in every post, and many say that 2-4 images are better. If I focus on the utility of images when sharing posts on social media, I have a hard time arguing against this. People are more likely to click on social media links that contain images.

But what about if I focus on my experience as a reader? If I do that, images don't seem necessary. I'm not even sure they are preferable. Then again, I have to consider the possibility that I'm atypical in this respect. Others may find an image far more valuable than I do.

I'm curious what you think. From your perspective as a reader, would a blog post without an image be less appealing than one with an image?