Last year it dawned on me. I suddenly realised.
My blog graphics were boring not beautiful.
Our blog post feature images sucked.
They were truly terrible.
Here is a snapshot of what they looked like when we got rolling on the new jezweb blog last year.
Did they make you want to click on anything?
Didn’t think so, me either.
I felt so terribly lame; I’d spent hours writing these blog posts.
Writing, editing, rewriting, culling out the fluff and cliches.
Only to sabotage the blog post with a boring feature image.
What is the point of putting the effort into writing blog posts if I’m going to put dreadfully dull feature images that wouldn’t inspire website visitors to click and read more.
The featured image of a blog is the headline graphic!
Its the graphic that shows up on social media, on the blog summary pages and just about anywhere that is linking to or embedding the blog post.
Having a boring feature image is a sure way to make no one want to click on it.
Our blog post will be dead and buried before it even had a chance to be read.
Images that will make people want to click
It occurred to me as I was reading the blogs on twelveskip.com and saw images like these that I had been making this terrible mistake of being visually boring.
When I landed on this blog I felt like i needed to click on some of these images and find out more.
They were that different to my own boring blog images that I was immediately compelled to write this article!
That got me thinking about about the blog graphics Sally writes for neatfreakme.com which are vibrant, brilliant and eye catching like this one:
If Sally can have interesting blog images then why can’t we?
Making fun, clever, eye catching graphics for our blog won’t take long.
It was time to stop being predictably plain and splash some colour across our blog!
But doesn’t it take time and skill to be visually interesting?
How can we go from boring to creative and do it quickly?
I’ve got it, I know what to do: make them in Canva!
Canva is an incredible online graphic design tool that is quietly revolutionising the way we think about creating eye catching visuals. No Photoshop training required, no software to download, no fussing around with confusing options.
6 Steps to Create Beautiful Blog Graphics
Let’s make some featured images that will glue our eyes to the screen.
Or at the worst we will end up with some featured images that are way way less boring than the screenshots I’ve been using for most of my blog posts.
It’s possible that the blog still might not be interesting enough to read but at least we are going to give it a fighting chance!
Step 1: Open Canva.com
If you haven’t used Canva before it is freaking a-maz-ing!
Seriously, it’s brilliant.
Stop reading and go there, right now.
And then come back here later once you have played with it!
There are a stack of templates to choose from for social media, print and ads.
Cool ey, now back to making our blog post featured image.
Step 2: Choose a template shape
I’ve picked the Facebook Post for this example.
If you want something squarish it works well or Twitter Post if you want a wide rectangle.
You can set custom dimensions if your blog works best with a certain pixel size image too.
Step 3: Pick a layout
The layout gives us the basic structure of the graphic.
Now we have to make this standard layout customised for the blog post we are promoting.
Step 4: Type the blog title
When we click on an element of the Canva graphic there will be boxes for text, a background image and lines.
We click on an element of the design like the main text and then edit that element.
Step 5: Customise the background graphic
Selecting a different background image or uploading one quickly changes the look.
I suggest either pay for the background graphics on Canva or get a stock graphic.
We keep a subscription to bigstockphoto just for occasions like this.
We could tweak the colour of the headline and font too.
Step 6: Download and save the image
Now we can have made a custom graphic that will look terrific on our blog and social media.
Quick tip 1: Give the graphic you’ve made in Canva a sensible name.
Quick tip 2: Make a copy of the image before editing it to make a new one.
That way we are gradually building up a library of custom graphics and ideas.
Now we’ve got no excuses for having boring images in our blog posts.
Instead of being dull we can create beautiful featured blog post images like this.
It looks kinda professional too don’t you think?
Sort of like someone who knew a bit about graphic design made it.
It’s way better than anything I would have come up with in Photoshop that quickly.
And it’s way more interesting than the white screenshots we were using.
Much better than just picking stock images and uploading those too.
I bet Google likes these kinds of custom graphics better than stock images for SEO.
No more boring screenshots or stock images as featured blog post graphics!
It’s not just the featured image of the blog that these will work for either.
We can use these in the body of a blog post to visualise a point or quote.
Images in the blog that are visually interesting or demonstrate a point make it interesting and that is surely going to lead to increased dwell time on the page and more engaged readers.
Repeat after me.
I will not use dull and boring graphics for blog featured images anymore.
That’s the plan anyway; lets see if I can remember to do it each time I write a new blog post.