The most common question I get asked as a blogger is “how do you create those feature images for your blog posts?”.
The answer is this: I’m actually a Graphic Designer so I put them together myself. Sorry, I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear as many of you will not have been trained in the ways of graphic design, but don’t worry – I’m here to help!
Having great visuals for your posts is super important. Sometimes, a photo by itself isn’t going to get your message across. Engagement is much higher when someone can glance at an image and immediately know what to expect if they click through to the post. As I mentioned in how to be a pro at Pinterest, you often only have a fraction of a second to grab someones attention, so having a bold and appealing feature image is a crucial part of becoming a successful blogger.
I use Adobe InDesign to create my post visuals and will be using this in the following examples, but you can use anything from MS Paint to Photoshop!
Here’s how to create feature images for blog posts that are sure to stand out and look awesome. Click on the images for larger versions.
1. Start with A GREAT PHOTO
I try and pick photos with myself in them if it a post about me, my opinion, or my stories. If it’s a general travel post, then a photo from the destination or with a recognisable landmark is a good idea. People like to click on images they can relate to.
Also try not to choose photos that are too busy. It needs to be something that can easily be glanced at. A good way to test this is to shrink the photo down to thumbnail size and see if you can still tell what the photo is taken of.
Once you’ve chosen a photo, use my photo editing techniques to make your photo look fabulous! You can experiment with colour filters, washes, or anything that might make the photo look more interesting. I often choose photos that I’ve put through Instagram and added filters.
2. CREATE YOUR DOCUMENT
Open your editing program of choice. I use Adobe InDesign, but some other good choices are Photoshop or Corel Draw. It’s best to use a program you’re somewhat familiar with. If you haven’t used any editing programs before – you may as well start now!
Pro tip: If you’re not sure how to do something or how to use a certain tool – Google it! Someone will surely have written a tutorial.
Create a new document for web (1). This usually means the colour settings are in RGB, and the document size is measured in pixels. I use the dimensions 900px x 600px (2) for my post feature images, and I also create a 1000px square image for use on Facebook and Pinterest.
Drag and drop your chosen photo into your document (3), and resize it to fit within the frame.
3. ADD shapes and TEXT
Add coloured circles or boxes to be placed behind your text if you wish. You can do this by selecting the shape tool (4), selecting your preferred shape, and drawing it onto the canvas. I’ve made my circle white and changed the transparency (5) to 75%.
Draw text boxes using the text tool (6) and fiddle with the fonts and text sizes (7) until you have something you’re happy with.
Making the text bold and easy to read is a great way to grab people’s attention. Cursive fonts or thin fonts might look nice but they aren’t all that easy to read. I use a cursive font for my blog name, and a bold simple font for my post title.
You can also add straight lines using the line tool (8) and change the thickness or style (9) by changing the stroke type.
4. Save your image
It’s a good idea to save your editable file (such as .indd for InDesign, .psd for Photoshop, etc) so that you can go back in and edit it for your future blog posts. Once you’ve saved the editable file, you’ll need to save a different version for uploading to the web.
The best file types for web are .jpg or .png, though .jpg is probably better for images such as this one as the file size is smaller which therefore takes less time to load on your website.
Go to File – Export (10) (or some programs may have it as ‘Save As’) and save your image.
I put this image together in about 10 minutes. Now as I mentioned, I’m a graphic designer and well practised at using InDesign so please don’t feel like you should only take 10 minutes to put together yours, it will probably take much longer in the beginning.
It’s a good idea to choose a few fonts and image styles that you regularly use for your posts, as it will take less time to put together than starting from scratch. Once you get a consistent style going and get into a rhythm of making your feature images, you’ll find it takes barely any time at all.
How did you go with creating your feature images? Got any other tips to add? Share with us in the comments!