Blogging began as a digital, public journaling and by nature was all text. As the technology progressed and attention spans shortened, blogs began to include more visuals. Today having awesome blog images is nearly expected.
Images help attract readers attention, make them stop and read, break up the word monotony and help lead the eye down your post. Images are like a digital cherry on a top of your blog post sundae.
Besides making your post visually attractive, blog images make your post highly shareable. A Twitter or Facebook post with an image attracts way more attention, and on Pinterest the blog image is your post’s face and the only way to be found and shared. And as the Pinterest grows, ignoring it as a platform for your blog to be found is simply foolish.
So, hope we agree, awesome blog images are kind of important. Now, I don’t want you to freak out and think: “Well, where am I supposed to get these images? Do I need to spend money on that too?!”
Just hold it right there. If you want to spend money on that, power to you. But you don’t have to. You can create awesome images for your blog posts all by your sweet self. And for free. Say whaaaaat? Yep, you heard me. Free awesome blog images coming out from your very own hands. Bliss.
So, let’s see how you would go about doing that.
To create your awesome images, we are going to use a great free tool at Canva.com.
To use Canva, just create a free account using your Facebook account.
Once logged in, you can either choose from a variety of preset image sizes, or (most likely) create custom-sized images that your particular blog theme calls for.
Each theme would offer instructions that will have the sizes for your images. Usually each post would have at least two images: featured image and larger, longer, Pinterest-friendly image.
Your featured image would be the one that will go along with your blog preview in your blogroll or anywhere else on your blog. Often, these images are wider than taller and so they are not Pinterest friendly. They are great to share on Facebook and Twitter, but you don’t want to ignore Pinterest, a growing source of driving traffic to your blog.
Pinterest images need to be vertical to look good and make an impact, so when in doubt make sure that the height to width ratio is at least 2:1.
So gather your images sizes and let’s start.
In Canva you have an option to use the custom size, so that’s where you will enter the width and height of your image.
Canva will create a blank slate of the image size you want. Now, the fun begins.
You can create images either from scratch or using Canva’s pre-made templates. If you’re intimidated by creating something from scratch, have no fear, you can use the templates and still customize them to the point where they feel yours. If you are using a custom size, you might not have the templates available, but there are also layouts which can serve as a groundwork.
Let’s create a custom, Pinterest-friendly image with a size of 540×800 pixels:
Once you hit that Design! button, a blank slate image of that size is created and presented to you in Canva’s work space:
You can choose to leave the background white, fill it with a solid color or insert an image as a backdrop. Since I have already showed how to fill in a solid color in this post, let’s go with a background image.
To insert a background image, go to Uploads and use the big green button to upload your images, or if you have already done so, choose an image you like. Choose one with a similar proportions (it doesn’t have to be a perfect match):
Once you have decided on the image you want to use, simply drag it and drop it over the blank slate of our blog image. If the image size doesn’t fit perfectly, grab the black circles at the corners and drag them down diagonally until your photo covers that image underneath completely.
Once the image is resized, you can use the controls at the top to change its opacity, so it’s not so dark and the text that we will place later would stand out:
Click on opacity controller and drag the slider to the left until the background image is as light as you need:
Now that the blog image has the background photo that is text friendly, lets add a visual element to make it more interesting. You can do that by using Shapes that can be found in Elements:
Click on Shapes and it will open a drop down with a whole bunch of different solid and border-only shapes. Let choose a right triangle one:
Click on it or drag and drop it over the image:
After you drag the triangle down to align with the bottom corner, stretch it out to fit in nicely. Now lets change it’s color. At the top design bar, click on white square (‘Pick a color’):
From the menu that drops down you can choose one of the main, default colors that are offered there, or use + and specify your specific color’s hex code:
Now, using an opacity slider just like we did before, we can soften this new color a bit by making it translucent. I usually do about 50%:
So at this point, we are done laying the background work and we can begin working with the text.
On the left side, choose the Text tab and then click on Add heading. Don’t worry about size or font style as you can change these later:
Once you clicked on Add heading, the text block will appear over your image and the menu bar to customize this text will appear at the top:
Go ahead and type the text you want. To change the font style, drop the first option on the menu bar currently set to Abril Fatface font. Scroll up and down the list until you find the font style you like and click on it to change your text:
For this example I chose the font style Architects Daughter. Now lets make the font larger, to really stand out on this image. Use the drop down for the font size (currently set to 42) and set it to whatever size you need:
If you don’t like the default color of the text, you can use the color picker option and change the color of the text like you see below. Again, you can use the colors already there or use + to add more custom colors:
Now that you are done with that text block, you might want to add another bit of text, but want it to be different font and size. To do that, go through exactly same steps you just did to add the text and select different font style and size for some visual interest. Here is the result:
You can keep on playing with text font styles and colors, move the text blocks around till they fit and align just right.
Once you are happy with your image, it’s time to download it to your computer.
To download your image from Canva, go to Download and from drop-down choose Image: high quality PNG:
As soon as you click that, Canva will go to work generating your image for you:
Once it is done, the image will be downloaded to your computer and you will get a message of completion and, if you want, an option to share your image on social media or email it:
And you are done!
See, it wasn’t too scary. In fact, I think that was fun!
Now you have your image and you can do with it as you please (ummm, use it in your blog post).
You can use Canva for you blog post images, but also for any image you need for social media.