Recommended: Canva — for graphic design

Why you should be including images in your blog posts

If you’re going to make the effort to do content marketing, it’s important to create attractive and professional graphics to accompany your articles, emails, and blog posts.

You do want people to read all that content you slaved over for hours, right? 

Adding images and graphics to your posts is one surefire way to increase audience engagement. Studies show this to be true, particularly on social media. 

For example, tweets with images get 35% more retweets on average than those without. And on Facebook, users engage with photos at an 87% rate, while no other post type on Facebook tops 4%.

When an article is shared on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, the social media site will pick an image from the article to go along with the “social share” post.

If you don’t have an image in your article, the social media sites won’t be able to grab one for the link preview, and others will be much less likely to engage with your content when it is shared.

Here’s how this works on Facebook. This is an example of a link shared to an article without any images:

Now here’s what a link preview looks like when the article contains a high-quality image:

Much better!

How to make your own graphics for your blog or website

It used to be difficult and/or expensive to create custom graphics like these. Now, thanks to free online tools such as Canva, it doesn’t take a lot of time or expertise with photo editing software to do this sort of thing.

I have no formal training on graphic design software but was able to make the featured image for this blog post myself in Canva in about 10 minutes using one of the pre-designed templates. And if I wasn’t so obsessive about getting it just right, I probably could have done it much faster. It will take you longer if you're new at it, but once you get used to the interface, making graphics will be a breeze for you.

Canva makes money by charging a nominal amount (usually $1) if you use one of their stock photos available in the app. It’s free to make graphics with your own photos or photos in the public domain.

Where to find free stock images for your designs

There are a good number of sites where you can get free images to use in your Canva designs. I’m a big fan of Unsplash

For even more free photos, see WPMUDEV’s post The Best Places to Find Free Stock Images for Your WordPress Site.

For more recommended apps

I've added Canva to my list of Recommended Apps for Accountants and Bookkeepers, which is now up to 34.