Blogs need images for a simple reason – visual engagement. Whether it’s for keeping readers longer on your page or attracting new audiences to your site, every blogger should have the capability to create a representative image of what their article is all about.
The problem is, not all of us are designers. Fortunately, there’s a handy free online graphic design software called Canva and in this tutorial, I’ll show how you can create images for your articles within minutes.
What Is Canva?
Canva is an image editing tool that simplifies the process of designing. The software is fairly intuitive and it can be used on a desktop format, iPad and even on your iPhone (no Android app so far).
Most of the templates, colors and fonts can be used out of the box and in-depth tutorials are available for those who wants to learn something more advance. A typical Canva editor looks like this;
On the left hand side, you will find the commands for changing layouts, adding elements, text and background. On the right hand column is where the editing process takes place and when a design is complete, click the commands on the right upper corner to download/share the file.
For the most part, this basic (free) features are sufficient to create a decent looking image. If you are creating websites for clients or working with a bigger team, then Canva for Work which cost about $10 to $13/month, is a package you might want to consider subscribing.
What Can You Design?
When creating a blog, it’s always nice to have at least one image that depicts the main message/keywords of the content. This image can later be used as the ‘Featured Image’ for all your social media posting.
In regards to design, you will be spoilt with many choices within Canva. Here are the varieties;
- Social Media Posts (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook,Tumblr and Instagram)
- Documents (Presentation, Magazine and etc.)
- Blogging and eBooks (Kindle cover, Infographic and etc.)
- Marketing Materials (Posters, Business Cards, Logos and etc.)
- Headers for Social Media and Email (YouTube Channel Art, Etsy Cover Photo)
- Events (Postcard, Wedding Invitations and etc.)
- Advertisement (Facebook Ads, Wide Skyscraper and etc.)
In my opinion, what’s most relevant to you as a new blogger would be social media and/or blog title designs. You can always work on the others, such as eBooks and Email header when you are ready to diversify your traffic stream.
How to Create a Blog Image In 5 Minutes (Or Less)
After experimenting with different designs, I actually prefer a custom dimension for my blog image. This works well as I don’t want a huge image hovering over my article while still looks good on my social media posting (Google Plus and Pinterest). This gives a good ratio between content and visual without overwhelming my readers.
I also like using photo-type of images (versus vector or illustrations) and usually source them from sites like Photopin (requires attribution) or Pixabay (doesn’t require attribution). Remember, this is not the rule of thumb – you just need to find what suits your blogging style and go with that.
To begin, I choose the custom size that I like which is 800 x 600 pixel.
After downloading the image from the free site, you may upload to Canva using the command on the left hand panel. When the image is clicked, it will automatically appear on the white canvas editor.
Next, just adjust the image ratio, key in some text, tweak the font style/size and voila, you’ve got yourself a nice looking blog image like the one below.
Now, over at WordPress editor, upload the image where you want it to align and remember to set it as the featured image on your blog.
Besides that, remember to also optimize your social meta title and meta description for SEO purposes. Here’s an article, explaining the steps in detail using the All in One SEO plugin as an example.
So, Is Canva Worthy of Your Time?
For me, this tool is totally worth it because I don’t have the skill set to design anything sophisticated. With a free online graphic design software like Canva, I don’t have to invest a lot of money or time to produce something attractive.
While that’s been taken care of, I can focus more on creating content that matters and growing my audience for my blog. So if you are just starting out and feel that your blog need some visual touch up, I urge you to give Canva a try.
It’s simple to use and gets the job done very quickly. The only downside is that you might get addicted to it – which isn’t entirely a bad thing though.
Hopefully this quick tutorial has inspired the creativity in you. If you like to know more about building a successful blog, do visit my recommended training platform for more helpful tools and resources.
Have any thoughts or questions about this topic? Please leave them below and I’ll get back to you.
You may also be interested in;
How to Make Your Own Business Logo Brandable
How to Set Up Your WordPress Website Step-by-Step
Philip Colbert says
I have never heard of Canva, but after reading your post, I am definitely getting it on my laptop. I totally agree that every image should be representative of your page or post, however, when my dear Pixabay lets me down – I know I have to create one.
I use Photoscape, but, it can be a bit hard to use at times. Have you a link for Canva so that I can start using it to create some unique images for my site? Thanks.
Hi Philip, I had a look at Photoscape and it does seem complicated. I think you’ll have an easier time with Canva.
Marley Dawkins says
Nice, I’m liking the sound of this Canva graphic design software, like you point out images are something we all need for visual engagement, and to have an image editing that is simple and easy to use with great results. Sounds like something I would try.
I’m no artist, so this is gonna be a great way for me to get some quality images into my content, so bookmarked and will be returning 🙂 Thanks!
Cathy, Thank you so very much for your informative post. It is always good to have image to illustrate what one is really writing about.
I certainly will be trying out Canva on my websites. as from what you are saying, Canva could prove very beneficial to the development of written articles.
Generally speaking, images do enhance the meaning of what is in the intention of a writer. For an example, the sample image you post on ‘How to help your pet to loose weight’ – the way that dog looks – I cannot think of a animal lover who would not want to read further into your post.
Let me ask you Cathy – would you suggest the use of Canva for newbies?
Absolutely Dorcas. Canva is super user friendly and anyone who has the basic skills in using a computer, should be able to manage the design software easily. It’s definitely the next thing I would learn to use after familiarizing myself with WordPress.
Thank you so much for posting this, Cathy. I have been looking for a way to “beautify” my site, and Canva looks like just the ticket.
I have seen a lot of blogs with some really great content, but they are not that visually appealing because there are no, or at least very few, images. I will definitely be giving Canva a try.
Shawn F. says
This is a great review of Canva. After reading your review I am definitely going to check out this online graphic design software tool. I am looking to get into blogging and I think this will be a great addition to my arsenal. I do have one question for you. Do you have any recommendations for beginners like myself?
Hi Shawn, Canva is very intuitive but I would suggest to go with the recommended templates first, if you are just starting out. Keep your designs as simple and clean as possible as those images are easier on the readers’ eyes.