Photo credit: Kaboompics
Ever heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words?” You probably have, but have you likely haven’t actually sat down and considered exactly what that means for you and how it affects your blog. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything. I’ll spoil it for you: you need to have visual content on your blog.
Visual content is a game-changer.
On my other blog, I only started implementing blog graphics a couple months after I created the site. At the time, that blog was growing at a snail’s pace. I was getting only a few views every single day and this was after I had been running the blog for a few months. Yikes, right?
I had no idea what I was doing differently from all the other bloggers. It seemed like everyone else was starting blogs and growing them to thousands of views within only a couple weeks. What was wrong with my blog? Eventually, I decided to actually sit down, study some of the popular blogs in my niche, and examine what had lead to their success. The differences between us? Well, there were a lot of them, but one in particular stood out to me: all the successful bloggers had at least one blog graphic in each of their posts.
It seems like a minor thing, but it totally makes sense, especially considering:
- The brain processes visual content 60 000 times faster than text.
- 40% of people will respond to visual content better than text.
- Articles that contain images get 94% more page views than those without.
Can I take a moment to just say–Whoa? I was totally missing out! It was a huge aha! moment for me. Once I started implementing graphics in my post, I noticed higher engagement, more views, and that my posts were being shared more. Um, cool, right?
You definitely need to utilize visuals on your blog. And no, you don’t need Photoshop.
Fun fact: I actually do have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I think that Photoshop can be really helpful for larger projects like creating workbooks or e-books, but blog graphics? You can do that entirely for free.
And I’m going to show you how.
1. Use Free Stock Photos
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to have epic blog graphics! I definitely am not. I own good video equipment for when I’m creating video tutorials, but for just plain old photos? I use a point-and-shoot camera, my phone camera (iPhone 6), or more often than not, amazing free stock photos.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of fantastic resources out there for stock photos that you can use for your blog, 100% free. Yes, really! For most of my blog posts, I use stock photos from some of my favourite stock photo sites, since photography is definitely not my strength.
Personally, some of the best photos I’ve used are from Unsplash, Kaboompics, and Pixabay, but there are numerous great stock photo sites out there. I’ve used dozens and dozens of different stock photo sites throughout my entire time as a blogger. I also recommend (remember to check the licensing and attribution rules!):
Here’s something to remember, though. When you’re looking for free photos to use on your blog, only search on free stock photo websites (NOT Google Images!) While there are some really great images on Google Images, those images also belong to the photographer and using them without getting permission first is illegal. The last thing you want to do is get sued for doing something you didn’t know was illegal.
Photo credit: Kaboompics
2. Upload The Photo To A Free Photo Editor
Yes, there are some amazing free photo editors as well! These aren’t just basic editors that can add some text on top of the graphic. These are flexible, powerful photo editors that you can use without spending a time. Pretty cool, right?
The two most popular free online photo editors are Canva and Picmonkey. I’ve used both numerous times, and they are both extremely easy to use. There are a few minor differences. Canva has more editing options available, and also requires you to create an account whereas Picmonkey doesn’t require registration is a bit more limited, but both will work for creating a basic blog graphic for your site.
Once you upload the graphic to the free online photo editor, you’ll be able to customize it however you want. You can edit the photo itself by adding a filter, cropping it, or changing the color or focus OR you can add helpful overlays, like shapes, text, other photos, and more. There are lots of options available for both sites, and it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to go from uploading the photo to finished product.
3. Use Graphic Templates
Once you’ve created a few graphics for your blog, you’ll probably start to notice some common themes between all the images. Maybe it is a particular overlay you like to use. Maybe it is a font that matches your website branding. Maybe it is a certain placement of text that you’ve used a couple times. Either way, you may want to consider creating a blog post graphic template.
A graphic template is the particular layout, style or other type of “template” for all the images you use for your blog. You may have noticed how I always use vertical images with pink and blue rectangles + text for all my graphics on Fierce Blogging. The photographs are always different, but the rectangles and text style always remain the same.
Not only does this speed up the blogging process, since I don’t have to spend time trying out different fonts, designs, and layout, but it also helps my blog branding stay consistent. There is no other blog that uses that exact same template so when a graphic from one of my posts pops up in your Pinterest feed, you’ll immediately recognize that it is from Fierce Blogging, without even having to glance at the name or click on the post.
If you don’t already have a blog graphic template that you can use, it is absolutely something you should consider working on.
When I first started out blogging, I had no idea how powerful blog graphics could be and how easy they are to make. You absolutely don’t have to be a professional designer and with so many of the great free programs out there, you can learn how to create classy blog graphics within a few minutes. If you haven’t already tried it out, you need to get on that. It’s so easy–no fancy Photoshop required!