It’s time to take your blogging to the next level with stunning visual content that will grab hold of your readers’ attention and keep them engaged. Having beautiful graphics for blog titles, Pinterest images and social media shares is a necessity online. It can be overwhelming for beginning bloggers to find the right resources but you don’t need to be a graphic designer or photography expert to achieve professional looking results. These are the top four resources I use for both my website and Etsy shop.
My top four resources:
1. canva for work
Canva is free to use but I highly recommend signing up for their monthly subscription service (nope, I don’t get any compensation for referring you, I just really, really love their program). In case you are wondering if it’s worth it, check out the difference in features:
One of the features I love about Canva for Work is that you can upload your own photos and fonts. This includes pictures you have taken yourself or professional stock images. Promise me you will NEVER grab a photo from someone else’s site, Google Images or Pinterest. All photos are copyright protected and you will get into legal trouble over this. Just don’t do it.
If you are wondering how to get started, SmartBlogger has a great post on 3 Simple Blog Graphics You Can Create using Canva.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
2. creative market
Creative Market is like a wonderland for graphic designers. Here you will find stock photos, every type of graphic, all manner of templates and website themes. The prices are competitive and you are directly supporting hard-working artists with each purchase. Best part? Every week you get access to 6 FREE DOWNLOADS!
I combine my downloads from Creative Market with my account at Canva and BOOM! unlimited design potential for a minor investment. Below is an example of this weeks free downloads that are available, just click on the image and get creating!
Powered by Creative Market
3. Storyblocks for graphics
Ok, I know there are “Top Sites With Free Images” all over the web, but guess what? All the other bloggers out there are using them, too. Do you want your blog to look like everyone else? No, I didn’t think so. These free images are limited and available to all. You will elevate your content by using a service like Shutterstock or StoryBlocks (which encompasses all three services for graphic, video and audio media).
Why do I love getting my photos at GraphicStock by StoryBlocks above all others? Because you pay one low, yearly subscription for UNLIMITED downloads and access to high-quality stock photos at a fraction of the price. You get to keep anything you download, FOREVER, along with the license to use it. You can even try StoryBlocks’s FREE 7-Day Trial and if you cancel at the end of your trial, you still get to keep the images you have downloaded. How cool is that?
4. Add high quality Video content
We all know that video is the way to go for viral social media content. More and more bloggers are adding videos to their website as well. But what if you are camera shy or don’t feel skilled enough to shoot your own video? Storyblocks has the solution with their VideoBlocks subscription. You can access over 100,000 studio quality videos with no worry of copyright infringement. Sign up for a FREE 7-Day Trial to try it before you buy it. You will get access to 20 downloads per day that you can KEEP FOREVER at the end of the trial.
*pro tip* for uploading a video to your site:
- INDICATE THERE’S A VIDEO IN YOUR POST by including it in your blog title, i.e “(VIDEO) Epic Adventures In The Grand Canyon”, then embedding it at the top of your post.
- WRITE AN INTRODUCTION to your video. You want to make sure that you introduce your readers to the video with a few short sentences, then summarize the video in a paragraph beneath it.
- OPTIMIZE THE SIZE OF YOUR VIDEO The default size of the embed code for videos reads <object width=”560″ height=”315″> – make sure that the width of the video doesn’t exceed the width of your blog’s content column. Check out this post from the 12 Stars Media blog that talks about ways to customize your embed code to optimize overall viewer experience.
- GIVE THE READER A CALL TO ACTION at the end of the video. This is where you can ask them to comment on the video or give them an opt-in to “Like Us On Facebook” or sign up for your newsletter.
bonus: ADding SOUNDTRACKs
Perhaps you create your own video content so you don’t need to access stock videos. That’s awesome and I’m super jealous because it’s definitely a skill I want to learn. But what about adding background music to your videos? Just like photos and videos, music is copyright protected. Avoid any legal mess and ensure your video will not be removed by using royalty-free music. While royalty-free audio can get expensive (with some sites selling the rights for YouTube use at an upwards of $40 per track) AudioBlocks has a low yearly subscription rate for unlimited downloads.
But wait, what about free audio that is available? Yes, you can use services like SoundCloud where you can find audio suitable for use under the Creative Commons license. This license typically allows the content to be used by others for NON-COMMERCIAL USE. Which means, if you are planning to monetize your YouTube content or website, you will be flagged for violating terms of service. It’s not worth it. Seriously. You want the peace of mind that comes from being 100% certain that you are within your legal rights to use your music selection. Just like VideoBlocks, you can sign up for AudioBlocks FREE 7-Day Trial and create a library of 140 audio downloads that are yours to keep forever.
So there you have it! Four resources to help you create your own stunning visual/media content on your blog. Each of these offer free trials so there is no risk to you when you try it out. That is how I started and realized very quickly how valuable they are. It is worth the investment in your business if you want to achieve professional results.
Have a resource that you love and want to share? Leave a comment below to let us know!
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