How to Create Stellar Blog Graphics without Breaking the Bank
When I first started blogging, I had virtually no concept of imagery.
Besides the very brief (and utterly random) artistic phase I had as a child, I consider myself completely inept when it comes to imagery. These days anything and everything graphically oriented falls entirely outside the realm of my comfort zone – that’s probably not going to change anytime soon, either.
Needless to say, learning to create stellar graphic images on a tight budget was a huge hurdle to leap during the early days of my blogging ventures.
I won’t lie to you – it took me about 6 months to finally find my groove when it came to imagery.
While that’s a truth I find incredibly embarrassing to share, I really think it’s important for others to know. There are many components to blogging that come naturally to me; but there are several other components, namely blog imagery, that just don’t.
Thankfully, with a bit of fumbling, failed attempts, and some worthy advice from a handful of well-meaning blogging mentors, the light bulb above my eager blogger-brain finally flickered on. Everything started to come together.
So, what is the secret to creating stellar blog images on a tight budget, you ask?
Access to royalty free images
A reliable editing tool
Yeppers, it’s really that simple. But if your head is spinning – fear not. I’m going to walk you through it all step-by-step.
Let’s get started.
Why Images are HUGELY Critical to Your Blog
A blog without images is like the end piece of a loaf of bread. No one wants to eat it, it looks horrible, and it has no flavor.
Perhaps, you’re a fan of the end pieces of a loaf of bread. That’s fine – but you’re in the minority. The same goes for blog readers.
Visual content on your blog (images, graphics, etc.) hugely affects your blog engagement. Did you know that blogs with imagery could generate up to 94% more views than the average, stale image-less blog post?
You need images. Plain and simple. But they must be decent, attractive images.
So, how do you accomplish creating awesome blog imagery with a rather unforgiving wallet?
Step One: Find Royalty Free Stock Images
Stock images can be a great way to get a step ahead when it comes to blogging. But be wary: some stock imagery sites are just horrible (sorry for the brutal honesty, but it’s true).
If you’re looking for a few reliable sites that offer free, royalty free photos for you to use, check some of these out:
Pexels – visit now
Pixabay – visit now
iStock Photo – visit now
StockSnap – visit now
Unsplash – visit now
Startup Stock – visit now
Step Two: Use Canva to Edit Your Images
Canva has been my HERO. I think of it as the free graphic design tool for dummies. It’s simple, intuitive, and it creates stunning imagery. There’s really no need for a fancy schmancy tool like adobe creative cloud. Thanks to Canva, you get beautiful images for the whopping price tag of ZERO dollars and ZERO cents.
How to use Canva
1. Login to Canva and choose what size you’d like your image to be.
You can choose from pre-sized templates perfectly configured for social media, blog graphics, or anything of that nature, or you can choose to set your own dimensions (there’s a button in the top right corner of the screen).
2. Change your background
This is your blank screen. You can choose to add shapes, free photos, frames, illustrations and lines. Canva also has some pre-configured designs that are available for you to use for purchase or for free, depending.
Click on a color to make it your background.
If you want your background to be an image, click on “layouts”
Next, click “uploads” to add a picture that you already have.
If you don’t have your own photos uploaded into Canva, you can use the royalty free stock images they provide.
Free photos can be accessed under the Elements tab.
3. Add text over your image
Sometimes it’s hard to see text over an image, so you’ll want to add an image overlay. Click on shapes and drag a rectangle over the entire image. Change the transparency to something that will allow you to see the underlying image.
A successful image overlay allows you to see the image but makes it possible for the text on the image to be readable. To add text, click on the “text” tab on the far left and drag a design onto the screen or just use the regular text features.
4. Download the image
You’ll notice a “download” button in the top right corner of your screen. Click on it and choose to download it as a png or jpg.
Step Three: Keep Your Branding Consistent
It won’t matter that you have beautiful images on your blog if there’s no consistency among them. Sorry, but it’s true! Branding is a huge component to visual appeal, and it’s something that many bloggers fail at. I’m no exception – take a look at this mess of a picture:
Ugh, this picture is super embarrassing for me – there’s literally nothing good about it at all. Sure, all of these blogs have decent imagery but there’s absolutely NOTHING consistent about them besides the fact that my URL is there. Major fail, Eden. You get the point – branding is important – but what’s the process behind creating a brand and reflecting that in your imagery?
Use your target audience to create your branding
Your brand should depend, in large part, on which audience you’re targeting. Are you targeting women, men, or children? Find other blogs that target the same audience as you and explore their options. If you find a common trend among blogs within your niche, you’ll want to do something similar. Feel free to mix things up (your blog should be unique, not a rip off of someone else’s work) but use other sites as creative inspiration.
How to find a color scheme
If you’re feeling stuck, fear not. There are actually resources online for creatively stumped people like you (I’m definitely included in this category) to find the perfect color palette.
Take a look at Adobe Color CC, for example.
It’s the go-to palette generator that will help you find a palette according to color rules. Mind blown.
If you’re not geeking out from that alone, I’m not done just yet. You can go so far as to upload a photo and Adobe Color CC will match the colors for you creating a “color mood”.
Not into Adobe Color CC? Try Paletton instead. Paletton is yet another savvy tool to help you generate the ideal palette of you. It’s super easy to use and works well. Enter the base RGB in the bottom left corner of the screen and it will generate a palette for you. Isn’t it simply magical?
How to choose your font scheme
We tackled color schemes, but don’t overlook your font choices. The most fundamental rule for font choice is to ensure that it’s readable across all systems and by all people.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right fonts for your blog (and blog imagery, of course):
Choose a font for your audience (bubbly fonts are great for kids but not for adults or business-geared blogs).
Sans and sans serif combinations are usually great go-to choices for fonts (usually it’s Serif has the header and sans serif as the sub header).
Don’t combine more than 3 typefaces on your site – it’s overwhelming and confusing.
Make sure your font is readable on all browsers
This is likely the most popular source. Visit the site to test out custom text with different fonts. It’s fun, try it.
Wrapping it up – final thoughts
Now that you have access to free stock photos, you know how to create decently attractive imagery in Canva, and you have the resources to develop a consistent brand image, you’re well on your way. In fact, you’re well beyond where I was when I first started blogging (let’s not bring up that awful photo again…).
There are many things you can choose to spend money on when you run a blog, but creating images doesn’t have to be one of them. So save your wallet some tears and get to stepping on creating yourself some budget blog images.
Post By Eden Fried
Eden Fried is a blogger and web designer. In the beginning of 2016, Eden quit her day job and ditched her plan to head to law school all so that she could start her blog full-time. Now, Eden spends her days teaching others how to launch a successful, profitable blog.
Sign up for her free 30-page e-book on how to start a profitable blog.
When Eden’s not at work, you can find her at the gym tossing around some weights or at home (under the covers) snuggled up to a good book.