Is your post’s title or is your post’s image seen first in the news feed? Are you maximizing the pull-power of an enticing graphic to bring readers to your content? Is image creation beyond your skill set?
Let’s go step-by-step so you can test this out for yourself. (Oh, and you don’t need to be a graphic whiz, not with the fab free tools available these days.)
Step 1: Find An Interesting Photo You Can Use Legally
Maybe “interesting” isn’t a strong enough adjective, but don’t go to the other extreme. Look for an image that gives visual clues to what your story is about.
Pick a photograph you think your audience will enjoy. No clip art. Go for natural, real, not too “stock photo-ish”.
Find a visual that complements the colors of your site.
Consider taking your own photos?
Hopefully, you’ve realized you can’t use photos from Google Images. Some have learned the hard way. Sara Hawkins (social media lawyer) explains photo copyright in her article, “Law and Etiquette for Using Photos Online“.
A while back it was tricky (and time-consuming) to find suitable photographs online that we could use for free with their owners’ permission, and for commercial purposes. Now there are more and more websites dedicated to making this super easy for you.
Here’s a list of free stock photo sites to browse:
– photo search engine.
– search engine for images licensed under Creative Commons from various stock image sites.
– Founded in 2014 by Tom Eversley, a designer and photographer from England. Over 1,000 free images, with more being added on a daily basis.
– Photos and website by Martin Vorel.
– by Lior Mazliah.
– by Viktor Hanacek, 22-year-old photographer.
– 7 free beautiful photos every 7 days.
Step 2: Make The Photo Tell Your Story
Now you have downloaded your photograph to your hard drive, we are going to need a photo editor to resize the pic and add text. Thanks to amazing innovators, there are free and premium programs to your aide:
– this is for creating stunning visuals, mainly for social media. If you haven’t tried out Canva, you don’t know what you are missing!
Canva has more resources:
Canva Photo Editor
– for when you just want to resize or crop a photo.
– discover how easy it is to learn this new skill.
Or you may prefer the other favorite and also amazing program: PicMonkey’s Photo Editor
There’s also the free open source editing software, similiar to PhotoShop called GIMP which has compression tools.
GIMP is your best choice if you aren’t going to go for PhotoShop.
Choose one and really get to know it. The more you use it, the easier it will be for you to create your eye-catching graphics.
A few suggestions:
Check the size your theme recommends using for your featured image or the main image for your post.
This will vary as usually there are multiple options of how you can display your visual in your post. For example, you may have a sidebar on your blog. If you do, a width of 700 pixels is a good guide. If your choice is a full-width image, then 1060 pixels may work for you.
Resize your photos.
If you upload visuals as big files, like in the MBs, you are going to make your whole website sluggish and the pages will load slowly. Save your graphics as small files, in the lower KBs, as .jpgs in a low resolution. (Aim to keep lower than 100 KBs.) Check the files sizes, you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Your care and creativity will be rewarded.
It’s well worth finding and being creative with your post’s images so your work is enticing, and visible in the news feed. Most importantly – so your post is read!
Have fun. Happy to help you with any questions you may have.
Try also http://monisphoto.com/ – free photos available for personal or commercial use 🙂
Thanks for sharing your photographs Monika. Some beautiful nature shots.