Choose Your Header Carefully
These days, most blog templates come with a photo for their header image. Many people elect to change their header image for something they prefer or choose a photo they feel is symbolic of their blog’s purpose.
What does your header image say about you? As most of you know, header photos of cars have become quite popular since John Chow used a picture of a red Corvette Z06. I would imagine that John chose the photo based on the fact he liked the car. Other than that, what else can a car say about you? …that you like cars? …that you travel in the fast lane? …that you aspire to great wealth? — the cars depicted are not jalopies!
When I first started my blog, I didn’t put a lot of thought into the choice of header image. I have always liked cars and admired the success of John Chow, so I thought I would emulate his site, johnchow.com and use a car photo of my own. I chose the Aston Martin DB9 because it is a classy car that is not too extreme. I thought the car communicated a sense of power while the surrounding countryside represented tranquility. Other than these reasons, I didn’t put much thought into what that photo said about me or my blog.
Recently I decided to put more thought into the choice of header image, which has caused me to define more carefully the purpose of my blog and to decide exactly what I want the image to communicate. The photo I am using now reflects more accurately where I am at in life and what I seek to convey in my blog.
Which Road Would You Take?
As you can see in the header, there is a picture of two roads, a highway and an exit, separating to form two distinct paths. No one is present on the highway, which to me conveys freedom and mastery. The beautiful sky and terrain are inviting, suggesting limitless possibility. I feel like that is where I am at in life right now: more than any time previously, the master of my fate, cruising at a good speed down the road of progress; as always, there are different routes to take: one must choose carefully. I have heard the photo described as “evocative,” which means “to bring strong feelings to mind.” I agree that the photo has a kind of “dreamy” state to it; over the past several months, my life has often felt dream-like. To me, this photo also says, “There is no one path to success.”
Find Great Header Photos
An excellent place to find great photography for headers is SXC.hu. That is where I source most of the photos for my blog. A great thing about SXC.hu is that the photos are all royalty-free and absent the cost of stock photography. They have an incredible collection of stock photos in high resolution.
Tips on Choosing a Header
- I would advise you to stop using stock header images. Thousands of people use the same header image. Do you want your blog to be confused with other, similar-looking blogs? I know that when I go to a blog that looks unmodified, my first reaction is that the blogger has nothing unique to say because s/he didn’t take the time to change its look.
If you don’t know how to change your header photo, then ask someone to help you. (I would be happy to offer assistance here.) It is actually VERY easy and can be done in as little as five minutes.
- Use an eye-catching photo to get people’s attention. Remember, this is usually the first image people see when they get to your site. If it is not eye-catching, people may not even read your content because your site did not catch their attention. Don’t settle – choose a GREAT photo!
- Select your image for reasons other than you just like the photo. Photos communicate information on many levels. It is important to put serious thought into what your photo says about you.
- Consider using a photo of yourself in your blog. I think there is a lot of power in putting a “face” to your blog. One key way of improving your blog stickiness is to make yourself more familiar. If readers see your face and read your writing more than twice, they will start to feel as if they know you. That is key when trying to build strong readership.
I recently added my photo to the top of my header and have already noticed my subscriber count go up. Like I said, there is a lot of power in becoming familiar to people; a photo of yourself helps accomplish that.
Put Some More Thought Into Your Header
Readers of this blog know that I believe that everything we do says something about who we are. One of the first things we see when we visit a new blog is the header image, so doesn’t it make sense to put serious thought into what it says about you?
If you are going for a more thought-provoking header image, make sure to ask your friends or family what they think your choice says about you. You can even ask me! I would be more than happy to help you select a good header photo.