How to Make Powerful Blog Graphics for Free, 5 Ways

By: | May 9, 2017 | Tags: ,

#Bloggers can create and find free blog graphics Are you too busy to consider adding visuals to your blog posts?

After all, you have content to create, posts to promote, and comments to answer, right?

Wrong.

According to WPLoop, “Articles with images receive 94% more views than those without one.”

Also, 65% of all readers are visual learners. In other words, the majority of your readers will understand your information better if your blog post is accompanied by pictures or infographics.

Fortunately, today’s guest author is here to explain where you can find visuals to add to your blog posts. His tips are both creative and free to implement.

5 Steps to Create Stunning Visuals for Your Blog

by Augustus Franklin

 

The first step to enticing visitors to read your blog is to show them a feature image that looks amazing while subtly hinting at the theme of your blog post. There is a treasure trove of tools and stock images freely available online that bloggers can utilize to create their designs.

Here are 5 simple steps to create stunning visuals for your blog without spending a single penny.

1. Identify the keywords that best represent the theme of your article

Your feature image speaks to your audience before your words do. Finding an image that tastefully reflects the idea behind your content requires that you get creative with your keywords when you’re crawling stock image websites for the perfect match.

On that note, putting the title of your article into a search engine isn’t the best way to get the perfect image for your post. Learn to match keywords to your article through association.

Writing an article on “5 Ways You Can be More Productive at Home”? You could try “productivity” for some neat results that are already on a bunch of other websites, or you could get creative and think about what you’d consider as being “productive at home”. To me, getting some writing done or reading a book would be considered time spent productively. There you have it, three new keywords to try out; “writing”, “reading” and “coffee”.

 

While “productivity” gives you a few good results:

#Bloggers can create and find free blog graphics

Being creative with keywords gives you a lot more options to choose from. The below image features search results for the keywords “reading”, “coffee” and “writing”.

#Bloggers can create and find free blog graphics

2. Find the Right Image

There are so many amazing image hosting websites on the internet. But from a blogger’s perspective, I require the flexibility to search for a particular topic and find a decent collection of images that relate to my content. If a website gives me a collection of amazing visuals without context, I can’t make use of them. And I cannot go sifting through hundreds of pictures every time I write a blog post to find the right image that suits the theme of my post.

 

I’ve ranked 5 stock photo sites here that have done a good job of returning relevant results for my keywords. You’re free to modify and reuse the images hosted here for commercial purposes as long as you follow a few general bylines. Most of these sites have their own version of the CCO [Creative Commons Zero] license. As long as you’re not directly selling the images, uploading them to third-party stock websites or using them in projects that have inappropriate content, you’re in safe territory.

 

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pixabay
  3. Pexels
  4. StockSnap
  5. Gratisography

 

For more stock photo resources check out this list by Hubspot.

[Read: How to Find a Wealth of Free Stock Photos]

3. Decide on the graphic size/ the medium/ the text

Are you planning to create a feature image for your blog post, a graphic for an amazing quote you found, or just looking to find the right cover image for posting on social media? Most design tools ask you to select your design preference before you start editing so you don’t have to worry about the dimensions. But in case you’re working with custom dimensions, this article from Buffer will give you a good idea about image sizes.

#Bloggers can create and find free blog graphics

Once you decided on the size and medium, it’s time to decide on textual content. If it’s a quote, then there’s little confusion about the text. But when you’re designing a feature image, it pays to show restraint with text on your image. Don’t squeeze in tiringly long (albeit meaningful, I’m sure) titles onto your image. It’s important that you get your idea across to the reader with as few words as possible. The feature image is only a guiding light to the main attraction, your content. You want readers to look at your image, take in the entirety of it in a single glance, click on it, and head over to your content.

[Read: How to Blow the Roof Off Your Traffic Using Pinterest]

4. Find the right tool to create your blog graphics

Canva, Adobe Spark, and Stencil are a few free resources that offer great flexibility with your designs.

I’ve always used Canva to design graphics for my blog. I tried out Adobe Spark recently and I love the look and feel of it. The seamless image resize option remains one of my favorite features of the tool. Unlike Canva, you don’t have to keep using the text box to make changes. With Spark, just grab the corners of your text box and you’re set to resize. The final visuals came out looking good. But I had to spend much longer on Spark to get the design I wanted than I would have had to with Canva. When you’re on a tight schedule to publish posts, spending almost as much time on the images as you did on the article is not a viable option.

The next tool I tried out is called Stencil. But it’s been a few days now since I used it and I can’t think of a single feature that really stood out. I know the visuals came out fine. And yes, there some cool features like the large collection of templates, icons, the simple UI [User Interface]; all very nice and all very much like Canva. Even the joy I felt when I found the text resize bar (instead of the primitive way of manually entering text size), paled when I found out Stencil only gave me 10 free designs every month. Not giving any free templates didn’t tip the scales in Stencil’s favor either. It’s still a good tool for basic designs, but Canva does everything Stencil does and better.

The flexibility that Canva offers in terms of editing images and with simple things like being able to overlay images over the background makes it the overall better option for me. But I won’t deny it, I did enjoy playing around with Spark and Stencil, and I’d definitely recommend that you give them both a try.

What I liked (free version):

Canva: editable templates, more freedom with color, custom dimensions, image overlay

Adobe Spark: seamless text resize, ability to justify text, user interface

Stencil: text resize bar

[Read: How to Use Canva: A Quick Guide]

5. Experiment

At the end of the day, the best images come out of lots of experimentation and your willingness to think out of the box. Always keep exploring for new ways to brighten up your designs and make sure your content matches up to the expectations you set with your stunning visuals. Now that you know exactly what to do, it’s time you decided to do it your own way. Good luck.

Author Bio: Augustus is founder and CEO of CallHub, a California-based Voice and SMS service company bridging the communication gap for political campaigns and advocacy groups. When he is not working, he is either making toys with his kids or training for a marathon. Find him on Twitter.

Host Blogger’s Comments:

Readers, please share so other bloggers know the importance of adding visuals to their blog posts and the resources Augustus shared.

What did you think of his article? What tools do you currently use to make your blog graphics?

I look forward to your answers in the comment section.

Related Post:

How to Use Visuals to Boost Engagement: 4 Ways

This is How You Spruce Up Your Visuals with 3 Free Tools

  1. Susan Velez | at 4:43 am

    Hi Janice,

    I agree with you, I don’t enjoy reading a bunch of articles if it doesn’t have pictures in it. It just makes it easier and breaks up the content to make it easier to read.

    While I get most of my images from Creative Market, I am actually looking for more places I can find images. I think it’s good to have more than one place to get images for your blog.

    You’re totally right about experimenting and tweaking images till you get better with your image creation. I am constantly trying to improve the images on my blog.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, have a great day 🙂

    Susan

  2. Sara Gethin | at 5:38 am

    Thanks, Janice. I’m pretty new to blogging and so far I’ve only tried Pexels for stock photos. I always wondered where other bloggers got their fabulous photos from, so thank you for demystifying the process!

    • Janice Wald | at 12:47 pm

      Hi Sara,
      Thank you so much for writing and your support of my blog. Where did you find my blog? May I ask? I always wonder.
      My guest author, Augustus, wrote a comprehensive post about resources for bloggers to find photos. I’m glad you enjoyed.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #73My Profile

  3. Hugh Roberts | at 9:04 am

    I tend to use all my own images (unless it’s for a challenge) for my blog posts and I use Canva to create them. I agree that a blog post without images is not at all inviting (especially when there is block after block of paragraphs). I tend to pass them by straight away. Adding some eye-catching words and/or colour is also a great way to entice the reader to read on and maybe even leave a comment.

    • Augustus | at 9:58 pm

      Exactly Hugh! An article can be amazing and still be overlooked because it gave off the wrong initial impression. That’s where visuals can work their magic.

  4. Cori Ramos | at 9:24 am

    Hi Janice,

    Thanks for sharing these resources with us. Unsplash and StockSnap are new to me. I also have a membership to Haute Chocolate and get free stock photos but they also have a paid member with awesome images.

    I use Canva to create all my images…I love that tool! 🙂

    But what I really would like to do is create my own. I’ve been collecting props and backdrop. All I need is to start snapping and see what happens. 🙂

    Have a great week!

    Cori
    Cori Ramos recently posted…Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For Mom BloggersMy Profile

  5. Ramit | at 2:33 am

    Hello,
    Supplementing the articles with images is an easy and effective way to attract and retain user attention.
    However, one has to learn to do it in the right way.
    Your article makes it easy for us to have images on blog posts.
    It reminds us the importance of adding images and shows us how to go about it.
    Great effort and Thanks for sharing.
    Regards.

  6. Joy Healey | at 3:58 am

    Hi Janice and Augustus

    Thanks for a really useful post.

    I used to hate doing images when I first started blogging, and definitely found the images creation took longer than the writing part, which is what I enjoyed about blogging.

    Since I’ve persevered, and been introduced to tools like Canva and sites like Pixabay, it’s become easier. So I encourage anyone else to carry on with images. It does get easier as you practice.

    Looking forward to trying out Adobe Spark, and the other free image sites that were new to me.

    Final tip on creating images…. I once remember spending ages looking for just the right free image of a bath-tap. Then I remembered my Smartphone and the bathroom! Job sorted, I was able to snap it with exactly the background props I wanted.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • Janice Wald | at 12:57 pm

      Hi Joy,
      Thanks for writing to comment on the graphic design post I published this week.
      I can relate to your story about the bathroom faucet. I like to take my own photos but creatively is definitely involved– we need to think “outside of the box” often. Creativity is part of the fun of blogging.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #73My Profile

  7. Pospi O Otuson | at 5:15 am

    Hello Janice

    I read an articles relating to this last week. Though not as interesting and well understood as this. Thanks for this helpful article.

  8. Melinda | at 4:13 pm

    Thanks, BBFFJ, and Augustus! This is such great info for me!! I need to be held by the hand to learn new tech things!!
    BBFFJ, I’m writing a post today, saying you help with learning all kinds of new tools, and this is today’s post! Serendipitous, yes?
    Melinda recently posted…Mental MinusesMy Profile

    • Janice Wald | at 8:52 pm

      Hi Arvind,
      So glad you found the post so helpful. Thanks for writing to tell me. Click the backlinks in the post– Canva, etc. You should find those helpful as well.
      Janice

  9. Leanne | at 10:32 pm

    I love Pixabay and Canva – they are my two go-to resources for my blog pictures. The size is right for pinterest and for FB and I can adjust the colours if I feel like it afterwards. I just wish I’d known about all the copyright stuff when I started – it would have saved me all those hours of going back and re-doing all my old blog pictures to make sure they weren’t breaching copyright!

  10. Venu | at 9:26 am

    Janice Wald, you are spot on. Thanks for the excellent article. Most of the consumers are visual learners and there’s no avoiding that. Reading a lot of text can be overwhelming and boring for people who are not much into words. They want graphics, images and infographics and this article discusses in detail the tools you can acquire for free.

    • Janice Wald | at 1:02 pm

      Hi Venu,
      Thanks for your comments; I agree with what you wrote. I use at least one graphic, and I often use screenshots. I wish I had time to create more infographics.
      Do you use Pinterest? Do you find your infographics do well there?
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #73My Profile

  11. Ryan Biddulph | at 11:52 am

    Augustus, smart tips 😉 Big fan of visualizing the keywords of an image then picking the image itself. We need relevance to make things pop.On the flip side, if there is a disconnect between the keywords or title of the blog and the image no amount of fancy copy or eye-popping imagery will make a powerful impact. Gotta just get that alignment down pat to make things really go. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Janice Wald | at 1:05 pm

      Hi Ryan,
      I agree with what you wrote: there needs to be an obvious connection between the content and the picture. For example, recently I blogged about being an influencer. I didn’t know what picture to use. I used a ladder to show influencers ascend to heights of influence in their niche. My husband didn’t get the connection. I didn’t want to use another laptop; so many people use that. What would you have picked? Thanks for writing.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…Blogger’s Pit Stop #73My Profile

  12. Sheeroh | at 11:45 am

    Very helpful post. I looove Pixabay. I’ll check out the four other options too. As for blog graphics, I use SnagIt. I’m quite curious about how Fotor works. Thanks for sharing that as well.

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