Does the idea of finding images for your blog posts give you a headache? If so, keep reading.
Serious blogging is a lot of hard work. There’s SEO, keyword research, data research, discovering effective ways of driving traffic to your site, writing, scheduling, editing, you name it. But there’s another vital element that may or may not be in your personal wheelhouse: image creation.
Why Images Are Important
The majority of people are sighted and highly visual. Images tell a story, set a mood, and reinforce your brand. They help create an emotional context that connects to your readers. And it helps them remember you, too. Most people only remember 10% of what they hear, but images bring the recall rate up to 65%. Plus, posts with images are more likely to be liked and shared across a wide range of social media platforms.
Free and Easy Resources for Creating Images
The good news is that there are a lot of great free tools out there for bloggers. Here are the ones I use every day.
I’ve been using Canva since way back in my teaching days. Registration is free and can be done by linking your Facebook or Google Plus accounts or simply by using your email. Once you’ve registered, you have access to a host of free templates, images, illustrations, fonts, and other elements. There’s a Pro subscription plan available for those looking for even more access, and there are design elements and images available for a $1USD fee.
Gorgeous photographs with zero copyright and attribution restrictions. You don’t have to register to download photos, but you can if you’d like to follow certain photographers. You can search pics by keyword or theme. Full info on their use policy here.
Great images for travel, lifestyle, and food bloggers. You don’t have to register to download photographs. And all their pics are listed under the creative commons license listed here.
If you’re looking for lifestyle, creative, and nature pics, Pikwizard a great site to use. It also has a built-in photo editor! Registration is free, and you can use your Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus account to login.
Why Getting a Photograph is Only Half the Battle
So, you’ve found the perfect photo for your blog post. It’s copyright free so you don’t have to worry about getting sideswiped by legal issues. And that’s a great start! But have you noticed that other professional bloggers incorporate text into their featured images? There’s a really good reason for that.
See, incorporating text into an image allows you to include a call to action, or something you’re inviting people to do. And once you have an image like that, you can share it on just about any social media site and— you guessed it— bring traffic back to your blog.
Then, there’s Pinterest. Everyone in serious blogging circles has heard about Pinterest and how it can do wonders for increasing traffic. I was skeptical at first, too, but after doing some research I decided to try it out. And I’ve definitely seen an uptick in my traffic. However, in order to get going and growing via Pinterest, you have to give people something to pin. A standard stock photo won’t quite do the trick. There is a process for optimizing your Pinterest profile and pinning strategy to drive up traffic (and lots of amazing blogs out there have free tutorials on how to do this). But you’ve also got to have images that are optimized for pinning.
What To Do If You Don’t “Get” Visual Design And Words Like Vector Stress You Out
Take a deep breath. Use the free resources above. Do what you can. Ask others for their advice and opinions. Test drive different images with your blogging friends. You’ve got this.