Well, hey there, champ! 😉
As you know, successful blogs don’t have only valuable content but are also pretty to the eye.
(meaning, they have nice looking graphics all over the place)
Which is not a surprise at all.
Think about it. (if there’s a need for it! 😀 )
If two blogs have similar content, yet one is picture-deprived (or the images appear to be of low-quality or are simply not enough appealing…) and the other is astonishingly beautiful – which one would you choose to visit often?
(Now, that wasn’t a hard question at all, right?)
So it’s not only about the quality of content. (although it is important, for sure)
It’s also about the feeling and the “experience” people get when they visit a site.
If the surroundings feel warm, comfortable, and welcoming, there are higher chances people will stick around longer (and yes, even take the time to subscribe 🙂 ).
On top of all, there is no reason why your blog/website shouldn’t be pretty, too.
So, let’s take a walk and chat a little about how you can make your online presence stand out with the help of eye-catching images…
(now imagine some pretty scenery and the two of us going for a casual walk… with a takeaway coffee in hands! 😉 )
Are you coming?
Why are images important?
Well, my friend, people are visual beings – simple as that.
We are drawn to pretty things, no matter what they are.
Pretty home, pretty clothing, pretty food… and your pretty site! 😉
But just like you might be drawn to a handsome looking guy/lady and then walk away from him/her (because he/she don’t have any other qualities other than good looks), the pictures themselves won’t keep the visitors on your site if there’s nothing more to it.
However, images can easily be the first connection between you and your readers, which is not a thing to be underestimated.
So if you’re planning to make the most of them, you’d better know how to create some eye-catching images which will make people stop scrolling and take a closer look.
Another thing worth mentioning is that visuals and branding go hand in hand.
If you do want to have a branded look (which of course is not a must, but it does make you stand out, look better, and more professional), creating a consistent visual appearance of your online presence is paramount.
How and where can you get images?
By now we agreed that visuals are an important part of your online presence.
So the next question is – how & where can you get them?
If you want to be unique (which is almost an impossible mission these days if you’re taking this word verbatim), then you should take your own images.
Which, depending on the type of pictures you want to have on your blog/site, can be pretty hard.
Say, if you’re a travel blogger, unless you’ve already been to a place which you want to talk about (and of course, took some photos while being there), it’s impossible to have your own images of it.
(ok, yes, it doesn’t make sense to talk about the place which you haven’t actually visited, but that’s not the point here!)
On the other hand, flat-lay photos (which are really popular in the blogging world) can be pulled off pretty easy.
All you need is a good idea, a few nice-looking items (which you probably use/have anyhow), their pretty setup, and -voila!
You just got yourself a few brand-new, one-of-a-kind image to use on your site!
(and yes, you can make them using nothing more than your phone’s camera – here you can take some of mine which are shot the same way – yup, I’m giving them to you for free. 😉 )
On the other hand, there is nothing wrong if you don’t want to take photos by yourself.
With so many sites offering stock photos (paid or free), there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
(yes, you can literally lose yourself in an endless image browsing, so watch out for the time if you have other things to do in a day as well – which is usually the case…)
You can get creative and edit these images later on, as to customize them and get the look and the feel of your brand as if you were taken them by yourself.
And if you want to pay for the images which you’ll use on your site/blog/social media, there are a lot of places you can go to, as well.
What size should the images be?
Maybe even before you start downloading the pictures, you should consider their size first.
Most sites where you can get images from give you an option to choose the size of an image before you download it.
But just because you can download an image in a super-high resolution, it doesn’t mean you actually should.
Well, unless you’re planning to crop that image and make two or more out of it, high-resolution images don’t provide any additional benefits compared to the “normal”/large sized ones.
Remember, we’re talking about your online business here, not about printing an image to be framed and hanged in your living room in an epic size.
Because larger images have larger file sizes.
And do you know what that means for your site?
Slower loading time.
Have a couple of those in each post, and imagine the user experience…
(or lack of it, because there are high chances people will simply close the browser than wait eternally for the page to load!)
Therefore, the highest dimension of any image which you’ll ever need (to place anywhere on the web) most likely should be no greater than 2000 pixels.
When it comes to image size, here’s another misconception as well.
Unless you truly resize the photo, placing an image in a smaller format on your site doesn’t take away its original file size.
Meaning, it’s still the same picture with the same file size (which is usually large, because we’re talking about high-resolution images here), but it is only displayed as a smaller one.
So the net result when it comes to site’s speed remains the same.
(and since it’s worthy of repeating, I’ll say it again – the page/post will load slower)
Here are some other quick size-notes as well.
You’ll need different sized images depending on where you want to place them on your site.
Do you need an image for a header, a hero image (if applicable to your site), images for sidebars, inside of posts, or as a clickable call-to-action?…
(ok, you should use all of those at some point, but think about a single one which interests you at the moment 😉 )
The answer? Consult your site theme.
When customizing your theme, a suggested image size which works the best is stated where an image should be. So follow those instructions.
And please, figure out your post text width, and then use the images of the same width. That will make a post look so much cleaner and easier to read.
(I have to admit, my eyes -and my brain- sometimes hurt when I read a post which has smaller images left-aligned, then right-aligned, then centered… and text is everywhere in between. It’s not only visually unappealing, but it also makes the post harder to read.)
Also, don’t be lazy, and create at least one “pinnable” image for each of your posts, pretty please.
(you know, the “elongated” ones, which Pinterest is full of)
Pinterest recommends 2:3 ratio, or about 600 x 900 pixels – width x height (for now), but you can go as high as 800 x 2000.
(I know it’s not the same ratio, but it doesn’t matter! Just think of the pins which catch your eye. I can bet they fall into the “tall” category!)
Even if you’re not a Pinterest user (by some strange case! 😮 ), you can never tell whether your visitor is the same as you.
And with so many people pinning all sorts of things from the web, you’re missing out an awesome opportunity to spread the word about your site/blog -almost completely effortlessly and totally for free. (um-hmmm! – stares and wiggles eyebrows 😀 )
I can’t even count how many times I read a good post and wanted to pin it, but the lack of “pinnable” image prevented me from doing so.
(it really makes me sad on some level …)
So, don’t be that site/blog, ok?
See what I’ve made here? (pssst… pin it – wink, wink! 😉 )
How to edit your pictures?
Now it’s time to get real.
When was the last time you saw a raw image online?
(ok. Let me rephrase it. When was the last time you saw a pretty raw image online? 😀 )
In today’s world, image editing has become a norm.
Here’s one no-brainer example – every Jane Doe will first edit her selfie, and then post it on Instagram.
(am I right, or am I right? Come on – at least just a bit!)
And even though you might not make any change in the picture itself, you could very well need to resize it or crop it.
(we’ve talked about this already, ok? 😉 )
Therefore, getting to know at least the basics of image editing is one handy skill you’ll use a lot when you create your online content – no matter its type.
(and maybe even to beautify your personal/home images, as well 😉 )
Ok. Now for the “how” part.
If you don’t have some software for image editing (such as Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape, or Gimp) – or just don’t want to use them (because each one of them does take some time to figure out how it works, or some are simply – not free 😀 ), there are other options as well.
For simple editing (like the one I mentioned above) you can use really basic tools such as Google Drawings (a part of Google Drive) or Free Online Photo Editor and piZap for some additional filters and effects.
Although you can do quite enough with these basic tools, if you want something more than just simple image editing – such as adding overlays, inserting the picture in a picture (and whole bunch of other fun stuff), here are some graphic design software for you to check them out.
One of the most widespread (and well-known) online graphic design software is Canva.
It’s no wonder why everyone uses it – it’s user-friendly, basically free, and you can do a whole bunch of things in it. It’s definitely worth checking it out. (if you haven’t already)
PicMonkey is another online graphic design software which many recommend, but after a free 7-day trial, you have to pay to continue to use it.
It’s also more social-media oriented. (by that I mean that templates are primarily made for posting/designing various social media accounts)
Oh, and let’s not forget. There are many phone apps you can use (paid or free) which have quite good image filters, effects or anything else you might look for.
So, if you followed all the steps, you have only one thing left next.
Place your beautiful new image on your blog, and hit publish!
What a masterpiece! 😉
And that’s it for now, my fellow superhero friend!
If you liked the post, please do share it or drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
And don’t forget to take my free stock photos for bloggers as well! 😉
Make your online presence beautiful!
See ya! 🙂
Pssst... Here are more related posts just for you, dear! 😉