A question I've been asked often lately is "how do you create the images and graphics for your posts?"
I've always tried to add a visual component to all of my posts and pages, but with image licensing issues and complicated design tools, it's not easy to create visually appealing posts without wasting a lot of time.
In this video, I present a simple (and free) solution anyone can use to create better website graphics.
Designing your website? Check out the following articles:
Click here to start using Canva, the free tool demonstrated in the video!
In case you're wondering: my preference for visual content isn't just arbitrary. Here's an infographic with some reasons why design and images matter for any online business:
View larger version and sources here.
With Canva, you have an easy tool that lets you tap into the benefits of visually rich pages and content without needing a designer or Photoshop.
Some other free image editing tools that you should know about are:
Update! Here are some more great tools and resources suggested by readers (see comments below):
- PicMonkey - an alternative to Canva, suggested by Eric.
- YouZign (beta) - another online image editing tool, recommended by Karim.
- iPiccy - a simple photo editing tool recommended by Marlene.
- Unsplash - get fantastic photos, free for commercial use (recommended by Steve).
- Pixabay - a huge collection of free for commercial use images that I like to use.
Do you have other tools or apps you love to use for web images? Let us know by leaving a comment!
i have been using canva for a while and its a great tool to design images for my blog.You said in video that you can only choose predesigned dimensions but i think you didn’t see it.If you look at the top right in graphic selection menu.There you will have an option to use custom dimensions so you can make your image at any size.
Thanks for this comment, Abdul! Indeed I didn’t see that option, but it’s great that custom sizes are also available.
Picmonkey.com is another great alternative to canva….
Thanks for the recommendation, Eric!
Excellent resource, Canva is amazing!
I am using youzign.com and its also a great tool (but still in beta). It helps me to get going with tools and come up with something looking good to start.
Being graphics savvy, it’s a great help.
Thanks for the recommendation, Karim! I’ve added it to the post. 🙂
Super! Getting suitable images (cheap) is something I have struggled with for some time now. This is something I can recommend to my guest authors on some of my guest-author blogs.
…and I see that Canva doesn’t even have an affiliate program (yet). Yet another instance of superb content just given away!
…which is why, when I see an email from Shane Melaugh, I open and read it immediately.
Thanks for your comment, Howard! For high quality free photos, check out Unsplash and Pixabay. Those plus Canva should have your and your team armed with all the images you’ll ever need. 🙂
Shane, I’ve used Canva.com for over a year now. It’s very easy to use. However, there are a couple of issues that I find frustrating. One, it cannot provide any transparent backgrounds. That’s a major limitation for me. Two, there is not an easy way to create a drop shadow for text. Also, I fairly regularly run into issues where the system has glitches and I have to return another day to do my work. That’s pretty frustrating when I’m dealing with a deadline. Other than that, I really love working with it. It’s a whole lot easier than Photoshop.
Thank you for this comment, Debra! As you can tell, I didn’t use Canva as extensively as you did, so I’m grateful that you’ve added some more details as a long-term user. 🙂
Canva is great! It has made the world of nice looking web graphics accessible to all. GIMP is overkill for most people, and confusing to learn, unless you’ve got Photoshop experience. What I recommend to image editing beginners is iPiccy.com.
Thank you for the recommendation, Marlene! I’ve added it to the post.
Canva is fantastic. I’ve been using it since it came out. Mostly their templates work beautifully for me. Occasionally I need something with specific dimensions, and they make that easy to create. Canva is very service oriented. Like Thrive, they respond quickly to questions and requests.
P.S. Canva also has excellent tutorials – another thing they have in common with Thrive Themes.
That’ great to know. Thanks for your comment, Cathryn!
Idid not know that, Cathryn. IMHO, that makes Canva even better. Love me some tutorials, especially when I’m just getting started.
I just recently came across Canva and I’m loving it! One resource I’ve found for beautiful free stock images is unsplash.com
Yes, unsplash is a great source for images. I’ve added it to the post, along with Pixabay, which I also like to use.
Hey there Shane…nicely done (as always)…and yup you can use custom sizes and I see that was noted below. I’ve created a couple of list.ly lists with both tools and places to find images. I’m sharing the links here (hope that’s kewl!)
Here’s one for images: http://list.ly/list/U9c-free-images-to-build-your-business
And here’s one for some tools: http://list.ly/list/6Ud-lots-of-free-tools-for-turning-quotes-into-pictures
Hopefully those will help you and others!
Thanks for the additional resources!
You’re very welcome…wasn’t sure about adding links and figured you would take them out if it wasn’t kewl! Many blessings for the New Year.
the best thing I came across is shareasimage. It is not a free service, but in my opinion one of the fastest (awesome work- and shareflow). Also really great for creating pics on your social sites.
Keep up the great work und einen guten Rutsch! 🙂
Thank you for the recommendation!
For many years, I have been using a free software called “Paint.Net” which can be found online at http://getpaint.net. This powerful software is very easy to use, yet is powerful enough to give you layers, transparency, masking, etc. It can use and create Adobe PSD files. I finally bought Photoshop this year, but because of its complexity, I still use Paint.Net for much of my work.
For vector images, I use Inkscape (also free), but this is more difficult to use than Paint.Net.
Thank you for adding these recommendations, Tip!
Great, I was looking for such type of site. After visiting Canva it seems web designing is easier than before. Thanks.
Glad you like it, Kevin!
I had heard of Canva, but had no idea how good it was until I watched your video.
A quick use of the app would be to do quick updates of your social media cover images to coincide with the various major holidays, thus keeping your FB, Twitter, etc., pages fresh.
And, yes, I am a charter member of the Capable of Creating Horrible Graphics Club.
Best to you,
Yes, good point. This must be one of the easiest ways to create these social cover images I’ve ever seen.
These are all more photo-based tools & websites rather than images or graphics. Is anyone aware of a more graphic based resource out there for things like icons, flat websiet graphics and the like?
Hi Steve, Iconmoon and Flaticon are two good resources for icons.
Canvas is exactly what I have been looking for! Thank you!!
Glad you found this useful, Rhonda. 🙂
This is really i am looking for…
Can i use canva free images for a website? Are they copyrighted?
Is it safe to use images from free Stock Photo sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash? Someone who is not the image author could upload a picture there… and we are still responsible for the copyright infringement if we use that image…
In this sense, it’s never safe to use an image. People have gotten copyright strikes and DMCA requests, even for using their own, original content. Predatory copyright trolls know no bounds.
You can do a Google reverse image search to be extra safe. But like I said: I don’t think you can ever be 100% on the safe side.
I’m on the fence about this, while more customization is good, I have a feeling this is a “in-progress” update, it just feels incomplete and half-way there.
We use badge layout for apps on design approvals (visual projects), so the image being displayed is important. Old layout “feels like” it had larger images,
maybe because the images were cropped more loosely so it’s easier to tell which project it was at quick glance. Now the image is cropped closer, making it
harder to scan thru at quick glance. I find myself needing to click into the project more often than usual. Which makes the whole user experience less
I have a couple suggestions that might make it work better:
1. Increase the height of the window the cover image is being displayed.
2. Let us to choose which image to be displayed as “cover” (like how Pinterest handles cover images of each board, was hoping for this for a long time)
3. Let us adjust which part of the image to show and how tight or loose the crop is (with a fixed window, let us move the image around and maybe enlarge or
shrink it to control what shows thru the window. Pinterest does a limited form of this, which is very useful in making the cover image relevant)
4. Allow Cover Image to be ordered in different hierarchy (currently every element can be ordered differently except the Cover Image, it seems to be stuck
in the 2nd spot, would like the option to set it on another spot in the layout. This one seems like an easy fix, since you guys allow that for every other
Thanks for the informative post! I’m also in the process of starting my own spiritual travel blog and was wondering…how did you find other bloggers who were new to start a Facebook group? I agree with Renata in her comment above; all the bloggers I see on social media are well established and not beginners like me.
When I just started out, I found other bloggers at conferences and meetups. If you find a group where people are learning how to blog you will find beginners.