So I get a lot of requests to write an article on how to create blog post images.
As a graphic designer, designing blog post images doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.
If you’re a blogger without any designing background, it becomes difficult to design stunning blog post images.
The struggle is real.
You end up creating a blog post image that just keeps people away from clicking on your content.
But don’t worry:
I have created this ultimate guide to help you create blog post images that will help you catch the reader’s attention and get more traffic.
But first, let’s find the answer to this question:
Why Are Blog Post Images Important?
There are multiple reasons why blog post images are important. Reasons like:
But we are talking about featured images.
So what are we doing here? If blog post images do not contribute to the above three facts, then why are they so important?
I’ll give you just ONE reason:
They help you drive traffic from social platforms.
The ONLY reason I design cover images for my blog posts is that they help me drive traffic from social media.
Different studies have also proved that posts that use images on social media tend to perform better.
This study by Buffer reveals that tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.
Another study by SocialBakers revealed that 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook constituted an image.
And I can vouch for this myself as whenever I shared my blog posts with an image, they performed better.
Here’s an example:
Other than these stats, having a blog post image will help you drive traffic from visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
So it’s no secret that blog post images are important and you should use them.
There are many different types of blog post images and you may not even know about them.
Let’s talk about this now…
Different Types of Blog Post Images
You might not know this but…
There are many different formats of blog post images. And I tend to call them formats because I’ve seen people using different formats and thinking that it’s good for their blog.
The truth is…
You are making your blog look like a fancy circus.
You have to find one format and stick to it. Consistency is very important.
What are the different types of blog post images?
Here they are:
Format #1: Simple Stock Image With No Text
The most basic way to create an image for your blog posts is to not create them. There are a ton of stock image websites and you can easily find an image that is relevant to your blog post.
But here’s the deal:
They are not effective. And most importantly…
They are overused.
It’s so frustrating for a reader to see the same stock image everywhere. Even if you use unique stock images, it just isn’t effective.
Here’s my personal take on this:
As a graphic designer, I feel that using stock images for your blog post means that you’re not serious about your content. It will literally take you less than 5 minutes to design a decent image for your blog post.
And if you’re not doing that, it means you don’t seem to give much importance to your post image and to your content in general.
So if you’re using stock images for your blog post images, then you should pick some other format mentioned in this guide.
Format #2: Stock Images With Text
A much more acceptable format for a blog post image is using a stock image and adding text to it. The text can be an overlay or anything.
These types of blog post images look much better than a plain stock image and are very simple to design.
You can literally design such blog post images using paint.
If you don’t want to put much effort and time into designing blog post images, you can go for this format for your content.
Of course, it’s not the best but it’s not the worst either.
Format #3: Long Vertical Image
You may have seen these types of images used by food, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers. And this format alone can help you get thousands of visitors to your blog.
That’s because this format is widely popular on Pinterest. On Pinterest, long vertical images perform better than horizontal images.
This means that when you share or pin your blog post image on Pinterest, you have a much better chance of getting traffic.
Now, I’m not going to dwell on driving traffic from Pinterest.
So here’s the punchline:
If you drive (or intend to) most of your traffic from Pinterest, then you should totally choose this format.
But keep in mind that this format might not look that good on Twitter and Facebook which brings us to the next format…
Format #4: Combination Of Vertical And Horizontal Image
If you want to drive traffic from Pinterest but don’t want to use a vertical image for sharing your post on Facebook and Twitter, you can then combine both.
You can design two images for your blog post. The featured image can be a normal horizontal image while you can add the vertically long image after the first headline.
This format is used a lot and is really effective. The only drawback here is that you will have two featured images in your blog post.
But you always have the option to disable the featured image from displaying on your post. This allows you to display only one long vertical image in your post while still keeping the horizontal image as your featured image.
Format #5: Illustration With Text
The most commonly used and probably the best format of a blog post image is an illustration or graphic with text on it.
To design such images, you’ll either have to design an illustration or you can use predesigned icons and graphics available for free.
I have often used this format on this blog. The example shown above is from one of my blog posts.
To design the above image, I used a predesigned icon and further added text and background colors to make it look appealing.
Another example of this format is the blog post image of this guide. I designed this image completely from scratch which means designing the illustration myself.
You don’t have to go that further unless you’re a graphic designer. If you have basic designing skills, you can design stunning images without creating your own icons or graphics.
Format #6: Illustrations With No text
These types of blog post images have started to become popular. But it’s not your average kind of blog post image.
These illustrations are really good. Like really really good!
To design such images, you need good designing skills. But if you’re not a designer, you may have a hard time designing such images.
Format #7: Animated Blog Post Images
Yes, you read that right! Animated blog post images are a thing and more and more blogs have started using this.
These instantly attract the reader to click on the blog post to read it.
They can’t be used when you’re sharing your post on social media. That’s because they would appear as a still image.
So, if you’re ready to put some effort into creating an animated blog post image, then bravo!
Which type of blog post format should you pick?
I’m going to be completely honest with you:
I cannot answer this question.
Your blog post images totally depend on the type of your blog and your designing skills. It also depends on personal preference.
But I can tell you this:
The most preferred format is an illustration with text. These are easy to design and if you’re looking to pick on a format for all your future blog posts, this is the perfect one.
Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post Image
What makes a perfect blog post image? What’s the difference between a good blog post image and a bad one?
Here’s the anatomy of a perfect blog post image:
#1 – Headline
This one is so obvious. A good blog post image should have the title of the blog post in it.
Having the headline is very important as it helps you drive more traffic from social media. This is one of the reasons why plain stock images with no text aren’t effective blog post images.
You can also get creative with the headline and use a different headline in your image. This really works when your post title is very big and you want a small text on your image.
Your headline should be clearly visible to the reader. To ensure this, make your headline big and use a font that is easy to read.
The font is the most important aspect that makes the headline look good. I will cover more about font selection later in the guide.
For now, let’s move on to the next aspect that makes a perfect blog post image.
#2 – Relevant Post Image/Graphic
Depending on the type of blog post image you are creating, you should use an image or a graphic that is relevant to your content.
So if you’re creating an image for an article about social media marketing, you should use a graphic of social media platforms or find illustrations related to social media marketing.
In case of stock images, you can use a stock image showing any social platform or someone interacting with a social platform.
A blog post image loses its essence if you use an image/graphic that is not relevant to your content.
It also makes the reader not click on the article to read it.
#3 – Website Logo or URL
I’m telling you this right now:
DON’T include both your logo and website URL in a blog post image. It’s an overkill.
Either use your website URL or the logo.
I personally prefer logo as most people don’t tend to read the website URL in a blog post image but they often check out the logo.
If your logo is memorable to your audience, they would click on the article to read it. A logo helps you build an image of your brand and it’s up to you make the most out of it.
There’s nothing bad about using the website URL but if you do have a logo, why not use it?
#4 – Proper Format
I showed you 7 different blog post image formats.
Choose one and STICK to it.
You have no idea what a mess your website would look like if you have used different formats in different posts.
Having one format also helps your brand appear consistent.
This is why I always redesign my old blog post images whenever I decide to change my image format.
#5 – Aligned To Your Brand
The BIGGEST mistake you are making with your blog post images is this:
They are not aligned with your brand.
Here’s what I mean by this:
Your blog post images should be relevant to your brand, it’s tone, messaging, and color.
Look at CoSchedule’s blog post images:
No, their blog post images don’t have the same colors but they are using the same fonts and they have one or two ways of designing a blog post image. This makes it easy for their audience to recognize them.
#6 – SEO Optimized
A good blog post image is not always about how good it looks.
You have to keep in mind that your images are SEO optimized.
Always make sure that the filename of your blog post image is relevant to your content.
For example, Your filename shouldn’t be “2443.jpg” or “final-image2.jpg”. It should be related to your content like “SEO-guide.jpg”.
#7 – Reference An Incentive
I learned this one from Melyssa Griffin.
She creates awesome images for her blog posts. Here’s an example:
In all of her blog post images, she references to an incentive.
And this method is so effective. As evident from her blog post images, she designs long vertical images that can be easily shared on Pinterest.
Anyone who looks at the image would click on her article right away as she mentioned an incentive in her post.
#8 – Placement
So where should you place your blog post image?
This question baffles me because there is no right answer.
But here’s what I think:
You should place your blog post image either after the first paragraph of the article or after the first heading.
Brian Dean from Backlinko in this video revealed that showing the post content in above-the-fold helps in decreasing the bounce rate.
People stay on the page for a longer time as they get the content right away on their screen without having to scroll down.
This is why he uses small a blog post image on the side of his content.
You should leave the above-the-fold area for your post content and place the image below the first paragraph or after the first heading.
You can also do what Brian Dean does and place a small size image on the side of the content.
Tools To Create Blog Post Images
Everyone who asked me to write this guide had one question:
What tools do I use to design blog graphics?
That was the moment I realized:
A person with little to no designing skills will have a hard time using the tools I use.
This is why I have mentioned some tools you can use to design blog post images. Later in the guide, I will also show you how to design images using these tools.
#1 – Adobe Photoshop
This is the tool I use often to design images for my blog posts. You can do so many things to design stunning images.
Now, I don’t want to write a review of Photoshop here so I’m just going to show you the blog post images I’ve designed using Photoshop:
If you’re not a designer, I would recommend you to use the other tools mentioned below. That’s because once you start using the other tools, it would be easy for you to get started with Photoshop.
#2 – Adobe Illustrator
This is heavily used for vector graphics so I use this tool only if I want to use some vectors in my blog post images.
Here are some of the blog post images I’ve designed using Illustrator:
Again, you should pass on this tool as well if you’re not a designer. The next tool in the list is what you should use for designing images.
#3 – Canva
This tool has helped a ton of bloggers create really awesome images for their blog posts.
And if you don’t know how to use Photoshop or Illustrator, THIS is the tool you should start with.
Canva is very simple to use and its library contains tons of stock images, icons, fonts, and other elements.
You can add a logo to your image, use your desired fonts, and choose any format you want.
I don’t use Canva for designing blog post images but here are some stunning blog post images designed using Canva:
Places To Get Stock Graphics & Images For Your Blog Post Images
So where do you find images and graphics for designing blog post images?
There are many stock photography websites to find stock photos and there are many websites for graphic designing resources.
Here are the best ones that I personally recommend.
#1 – Pexels
Pexels is my favorite place to get stock photos. You can find stock images related to almost any topic you want.
Stock photos from Pexels can be downloaded in different image resolutions very easily. And most importantly…
All the stock photos on Pexels have Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means that you can…
This is why I always recommend Pexels for using stock photos. A lot of people use other stock image websites without knowing the different types of licenses for images.
Using a stock image without the right attribution can get you into trouble.
So, always make sure you are using your stock images without any license violation.
#2 – Pixabay
Pixabay is another stock photography website with over 1.4 million royalty-free stock photos. But apart from stock photos, Pixabay also has illustrations, vector graphics, and videos.
All the images and graphics on Pixabay have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license which means you can use these images and graphics without any attribution.
#3 – Flaticon
When it comes to high-quality icons, Flaticon is the answer. You can find over 800,00 icons in various formats.
There are also icon packs available so that you can use similar designs in your content. You can find social media icons, business icons, SEO icons, and more.
But here’s the catch:
You will have to credit the author if you’re using any of the icons for free. If you intend to use the icons without crediting the author, you can subscribe to their premium plan which costs $9.99 per month.
#4 – Freepik
You can find some really stunning graphics and illustrations on Freepik. This place has a ton of vectors, photos, and illustrations to offer for free.
Not all the graphics and illustrations on Freepik are for free. But to use the free illustrations, you have to add an attribution to the graphic.
You can also get their premium plan which will allow you to use all the premium graphics and free ones without any attribution.
The premium plan for Freepik starts at $9.99 per month.
#5 – Shutterstock
Shutterstock is a big name in the stock photography industry but it’s gone a little downhill with the advent of websites that offer photos and graphics for free.
Nevertheless, Shutterstock still offers premium quality stock photos and graphics.
But the pricing is a bit expensive if your only purpose is to design blog post images. Here’s what their pricing looks like:
So we have discussed everything about creating blog post images.
Wrapping It Up
Designing a blog post image is very simple if you know what type of image you want to design. The tools only help you design your image.
Yes, some tools are better than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t design your desired image.
All the images I designed above can be designed using either of the three tools mentioned in this guide.
If you are still not confident of your design skills, visit different blogs. Check their blog post images and try to design their images.
This will help you understand different ways of designing blog post images and will also help you find your style.