Five tips for the Perfect Blog Graphic

If you are a blogger, you probably know by now that your images and graphics can make a world of difference to the reach that your content gets, given today's social media environment. Most bloggers pay a lot of attention to their graphics and it really pays off for them. But that's easy for those who write about travel, DIY, tutorials, cooking or photography. If your blog is more personal and text-oriented, you may feel that they have an unfair advantage, especially on social media. It's true to an extent - that kind of content gets more exposure, but there are also many readers out there who appreciate good writing. Your writing should speak for you, but that doesn't mean you cannot have great images to go with your blog posts. 

Five tips for the Perfect Blog Graphic

Here are some tips that can help you create graphics that are eye-catching, and shareworthy:

Resize the pictures

Do not upload your photos directly as you transferred from your camera. There are two important aspects to online images - size and weight, and they are interrelated. Size refers to the dimensions of the image in pixels. The higher the number of pixels, the heavier your image will be. And how does that effect you? A heavier image (say, around 5 MB) will take longer to load than a lighter one. 

You may not notice the difference, but when all your images are that heavy, your site will become slow, and that can have an impact on your SEO and Google Page Rank. In any case, nothing good comes from having a slow site! You don't even need complicated software to resize your images - Paint in a Windows PC and Paintbrush in Mac will do that for you. In fact, you can even batch resize your images using software such as Free Picture Resizer

Extra tip: Please do remember to do this for your images in the sidebar too, especially your blog button.

Choose the right dimensions

As I mentioned above, dimensions of your image directly have an impact on your size. More importantly, they can make a difference to how your content appears on social media. First, let's tackle the actual dimensions you should be using. Anything between 400 to 600 pixels (in width) is great for a blog graphic. If you are using a collage or would like to use large images, you could go up to 800 pixels in width. You rarely need to go beyond that, unless you are creating an infographic. 

Now, the actual shape of the graphic really depends on what your design is, but in my experience, a square or vertical image works best. This is because a rectangular image will probably get cut off in Pinterest or Facebook. 

Extra tip: Don't be afraid to use large images, especially if you have a lot of text.

Use your image source correctly 

If you don't have your own photo, you can download them from any of the royalty-free photo websites available. Some of them are Wikimedia Commons, Free Digital Photos, Public Domain Pictures, and Morguefile (here's a list of some more). But remember, even if you are downloading from one of these sites, you may have to give a credit line. It's a complete no-no to pick up something from Google Images and link back to the source. This post on Steam Feed provides some guidelines for using images correctly, but all you have to do is read the terms before you download a free photo from anywhere. It's not like the cops will take you away in handcuffs if you don't give due credit, but it's just not the right thing to do, and a disrespect to the photo owner.

Use a free design tool

When I first started blogging, I had no idea PicMonkey existed! Ever since I discovered it, it's changed my life. I love how easy it is to use. Even though I am comfortable with Photoshop, it's so much faster to do a quick online edit. The talk of the town nowadays, of course, is Canva. It's like designing heaven, and may appear a little daunting if you are used to the limited choices on PicMonkey. Whatever works for you, use these free design tools to make fantastic graphics. I advocate online image editing because it's faster than desktop software. If you spend a good amount of time writing a couple of blog posts per week, you want to be able to make the accompanying graphics quickly (though not sloppily, as explained below).

Extra tip: If you are ready to take designing to the next level, you don't have to spend on an Adobe Photoshop license. You can use a free software like GIMP.

Design creatively, and carefully

Think about what your post should translate into visually. Use one strong element - it can be a photo, background, or just the text. You can use a simple photo with headline, a quote, illustration, or font design. There are lots of tutorials to give you inspiration. Your image should instantly tell the viewer what to expect from your content.

Just remember not to get carried away by the bells and whistles. Don't use too many effects in one image. Don't clutter the design. Use white/blank space effectively - this is especially important in the context of Pinterest and Facebook, where your image will be jostling for space with many others. Think about what will make your graphic stand out from among the rest. 

Extra tip: Watermark your images so that they identify you, or your blog. You can do this by using your URL, blog name, or image watermark. 

Go ahead and make your writing extra special with a perfect image to go with it!

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mumturnedmom said...

Great tips Tarana. I do most of this already, as I have quite an image heavy blog (!) but I also make sure that any post that is just words has a headline image too. Graphics are really important to the impact of a blog piece, it's a very visual medium. #sharewithme

FarZain said...

Thank a ton for these tips, Tarana. Very helpful for a beginner like me.

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

Wonderful tips! I'm currently a devoted PicMonkey user, but with all the talk abut Canva, I'm thinking I really need to check it out!

Kim Carberry said...

Great tips! I love PicMonkey too!

Let's Talk Mommy said...

Thanks for the tips. I am obsessed with PicMonkey had no clue when I first started blogging but it's helped loads. There is so much I still have to learn. Glad to get to read great post like this to help me along the way. Thank you so much for linking to Share With Me. I love your blog and you always have amazing posts linking up. I have not heard of Canva I might have to give it a try. I bought photoshop elements but have no clue how to use it. Nightmare. Picmonkey is so much easier. #sharewithme

Tarana Khan said...

I love your photos, Sara! You're so good at using them in your posts :)

Tarana Khan said...

You're welcome, and do get in touch if you have any questions!

Tarana Khan said...

I have the PicMonkey habit too, so I only use Canva when I have enough time!

Tarana Khan said...

I'm sure you'll like Canva, Jenny! Thanks for your kind words :)

Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One said...

Great tip about batch re-sizing. Off to investigate this as I take so many photos and it takes me hours to sort out some of my posts!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips! I found you on Bloppy Bloggers. I use Morguefile, but had not heard of the others you mention. I will check them out! I also started using PicMonkey a few months ago and just discovered Canva, though I have not yet used it. I am going to try it out for my next post. Thanks again - very informative!

Unknown said...

It's great to find out information like this. I know most of these things, although I don't always practice them, it is good to be reminded, and to hear reasons why I should. Will have to check out Canva. Thanks #sharewithme

Tarana Khan said...

It's a very useful and time-saving tool!

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Susan. You must give Canva a try, and I'm sure you'll like it!

Tarana Khan said...

Thank you, Mel!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! I need to be better about uploading smaller sizes to my posts!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for compiling these tips, Tarana. I fell in love with picmonkey as soon as I discovered it too!

Peggy said...

Thanks for mentioning Canva - love your tips for blog graphics!

Mummy to boyz said...

Great tips, thank you for sharing I've never heard of Canva before

Pamela said...

Thank you, Tarana, for all your tips. You've certainly helped me become a better blogger. ~Pamela

Tarana said...

Glad you found it useful, Pamela!

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