Creating content takes time.
We all know we need to create content more regularly and more frequently - especially blog posts. And to top it all, we are told that it is now mandatory to include an image for everything we post. It makes it more attractive to humans, and so Google gives us more ranking points by doing so.
So on TOP of having to find a topic and write about it, we have to spend time finding or creating a suitable image. Ideally for free.
So what options do we have?
- Search free image sites, such as Pixabay. Sometimes you get lucky there. But often you don't.
- Pay to get something created / use your in-house designer. If your budgets allow for it - that's the best option. But for many, that's out of the question.
- Buy/re-use a royalty-free image from somewhere such as Shutterstock or istockphoto. That's often a good compromise, but again, you may not get exactly what you want; there may still be some work to do modifying the image; the costs can mount up if you post often.
- Find a low-cost graphics designer to create something to your specification for, say, $8-$10. That can work, but the time spent managing the work can be excessive, and the quality of the result highly variable. I know, I've tried it.
- Do it yourself in Photoshop (expensive) or Gimp (free). Good idea if you are willing to put in a LOT of hours getting your head round them. The technology is overkill for creating blog images.
The other option is to do it yourself using one of the many online graphics design/creation tools.
I've tried a number of them, and of those I've tried, my recommendation is Canva.
The company has been going for a few years but still claims to be in Beta mode. It doesn't seem like it, though.
The emphasis is very strongly on ease of use and the provision of (they say) 1,000,000 images. A large number of them are free, but many you have to purchase. However, with their special licensing arrangement, the cost is only $1 for each of the paid-for images you use.
That is the ONLY payment you ever need to make: the use of the system is 100% free.
And you can, of course, upload images from your desktop and integrate them with anything you create. Which means you can use say, Pixabay images within your Canva-created graphics.
All-in-all I am very impressed with the system and highly recommend it for any image creation except where you need to incorporate advanced special effects.
Note that they include layouts for all main image uses, such as:
- All major social account images (Facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest etc.)
- All major social account posting images
- Blog graphics (I use a different size, but you can define your own size of canvas, of course)
- Real Estate Flyer
- Kindle Cover
- Business Card
- .... and more
Try it, and if you're also impressed, let me know.[Obviously, I created the graphic for this post using Canva. I know it has zero artistic merit (and both my daughters would laugh derisorily should they ever see it) - but it only took me 20 minutes and I used 100% free images, just to show a few examples. Probably I should splash out $1 or $2 on pro-images in future to compensate for my graphics design skills deficit.]