How Using Non-generic Graphics Might Increase Your Blog Traffic

When people ask for tips to increase traffic their book blog, I usually recommend a couple basic things that result in direct increases: comment around more on other blogs and utilize Pinterest. I would say these are the biggest ways we’ve increased traffic at Pages Unbound over the past couple years (and I can also see a decrease in traffic when I don’t put as much effort into these things). However, there are also less direct ways one can improve traffic, like working on SEO or posting more frequently. And one of these “minor” ways that a lot of bloggers overlook is by having custom, specific graphics for every blog post.

For a discussion post, a custom graphic means having something that specifically says the title/topic of the post. For a book review, a specific graphic could just be a picture of the book cover; it doesn’t have to be something you ~create~ in Canva or a similar program. The basic idea is that you want a graphic in the post that tells readers exactly what the post is about and that differentiates it from all the other posts on your blog.

Making an original graphic for every post is time-consuming, of course. I myself used to default to generic heading graphics that said things like “Discussion Post” or “Movie Review,” and I only really started doing specific graphics for every post when I made a concerted effort to add our posts to Pinterest, and I needed more original title graphics for that. However, even if you aren’t going to use Pinterest for your blog, unique graphics for every post will help your posts stand out where you DO share them, whether that’s on Facebook or Twitter or just the WordPress reader.

The WordPress reader post preview generally pulls in either one graphic/photo from your blog post, or four, depending on how many are in the post. (See examples below.)

Personally, I am MUCH more likely to be interested and click through to a post if 1) there is a graphic at all and 2) that graphic tells me specifically what the post is about. If I see an orange square that just says “book review,” that does not catch my eye. And it also makes it difficult for me to distinguish between posts from the same blog. I know I’ve seen the orange “book review” heading before, but have I seen it for THIS post? I don’t always remember, and I don’t always keep reading to find out.

Social media, of course, similarly provides scrollers with a preview of the post you are linking to, and I also am more likely to click on a link on Twitter or Facebook if there is some kind of graphic that tells me exactly what the post is about. If I see something that simply says “book review,” it’s hard to see what book the review is for, and I don’t have the cover image to give me a hint as to whether the book is MG, YA, adult, fantasy, nonfiction, etc. I don’t have a lot of free time to devote to reading things I might not be fully interested in, so I usually keep scrolling.

I’m not saying that switching up your graphics and putting a unique one on each post is going to miraculously increase your traffic by 50% or anything, but it’s my personal opinion that this IS a a thing that affects how many people click through your links, whether they see them on social media or on the WordPress reader. Having a unique graphic that says what the post is about can quickly catch readers’ attention and make them less likely to simply scroll on by.

What do you think? Do you find yourself passing on generic graphics more than specific ones?


15 thoughts on “How Using Non-generic Graphics Might Increase Your Blog Traffic

  1. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    I have been reading a lot about Youtube thumbnails recently and how critically important they are in getting a viewer to click a video – some of the principles behind that apply here as well. Like you note, a distinct graphic may be the one thing that really catches someone’s interest and gets them to click on a post. For my part, though, I mostly rely on post titles to help me decide whether I’m going to click. A specific graphic might encourage me to click more on posts from bloggers I don’t know, though.


    • Krysta says:

      Have you ever noticed that on Youtube a bunch of thumbnails have attractive women on them, but then there aren’t really any women in the video? I guess that’s one way to get traffic, but I’d prefer a relevant image….

      I do look at titles in my reader, so that will help, but I also look at the graphics. I am more likely to click on a review with an image of the book cover than I am to click on a post with a generic “book review” image just because I might think I’ve already seen that post before since the image seems familiar.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. _tirilu says:

    You make a very good case. I used to take a unique picture for every post that I would also use for Instagram but first, I haven’t done anything for Instagram in a long while and second, it’s just so much work. I don’t really like doing it anymore.
    Maybe I should think about getting a pinterest for my blog though. At least for the discussion posts. You are absolutely right about wanting to read posts with a good graphic. I guess we are all more visual people. If it’s pleasing to the eye then it’s more likely to be read. And if you’re active on your and other blogs. I should probably be more active in general. You gave me some things to think about. Thanks. 😉


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, I take fewer Instagram photos, as well, because I don’t really have the time, but I think even the normal book cover is helpful as opposed to a generic graphic that says “review” since the cover shows me what book it’s a review of and can help me decide if it’s middle grade fantasy or adult romance or YA historical fiction, which could be unclear if the title is something generic like “The Winter Queen”!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    I agree with you. I don’t like to red posts that doesn’t include any pic/graphic. Some bloggers don’t even include book cover with review or list post or recommendation posts. I recognize book from cover more than the title or author and when there isn’t even cover it gets difficult to know if it was the same book I saw somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes! The cover helps me know if I’ve seen the book before, too, and it can help me figure out the age category or genre if I haven’t heard of the book before! There are books that I thought were fantasy only to click through to the review and see they were adult romances!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tales from Absurdia says:

    Great post.

    I always find making graphics a massive chore, and something I typically do quite grudgingly.

    For some of us, writing the post is the bulk of the work, but if you don’t also put the effort into your graphics, it’s unlikely people will read your hard work.

    I’ve upped my game a bit recently though, and it definitely shows.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      It was definitely something I was reluctant to do at first because it does take time, and blogging takes so much time as it is, but I really do think it’s made a difference in terms of the blog’s traffic. It does help that now we have a pretty good selection of Canva templates I can switch the photos and text in, so I don’t have to entirely create everything from scratch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. BookerTalk says:

    When I started blogging I just used the books cover for any reviews but realised after a while that with so many bloggers doing the same thing, my posts wouldn’t stand out. So I began creating my own collages – they took far too much time and I can’t say that my stats changed. I’ve evolved now to a simpler but still unique graphic which combines the book cover with the words book review, author name and title. These are much quicker to produce and because they are based on a template, it has the benefit of building a brand look and feel.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, I think just the book cover is fine because it still tells me what the post is about. It’s mostly confusing to me when the graphic for the post is just something that says “review” that goes on every preview post, without a book cover at all.


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