How to find or create
a blog post image
for your WordPress website
A free, simple and quick process for finding, editing and creating a unique blog post image in WordPress.
Running a business means you’ll find yourself repeating certain tasks. Again and again. When I realise I’m doing this, I’ll do one of two things:
- Automate it
- Wrap it up as a process and keep streamlining it until it becomes easy
When I find something that works I generally stick with it until I find something about it I don’t like any more.
Sourcing images is no different. I haven't managed to automate it yet but I do have a process I follow, for now. Of course, it can and will change some day.
I don’t yet have a cool and recognisable brand gimmick like the Flickr Lego images used at Nerd Fitness (maybe some day). But at least this is repeatable and gives a consistent look to the blog posts on WPStrands.
Note that this isn’t yet another one of those lists of all the great places online to find free images. This is just what I do.
A process for creating original blog post images in WordPress
A process for me has to fulfil a few requirements. A process has to be easily repeatable and it has to give consistent results.
Here’s my process in all it's uncomplicated simplicity:
- Find an image somewhere reliable
- Edit the image in a consistent manner
Finding your WordPress blog post image
To find images for blog posts, social media or whatever, I generally go to these same places over and over again.
I can’t remember when I found Unsplash but I’m glad I did. It has tons of excellent images from talented and generous people worldwide.
The interface is minimal. Downloading works beautifully. And there are no silly captchas or sign-up forms to get in my way.
The only drawback to Unsplash is that it can be hard to find an image that represents exactly what you have in mind. To that end it definitely helps to think outside the box.
It also helps to pay attention to the details in an image. The resolution is often so high that you can use a small part of the image that isn’t the central focus, resulting in something completely original and unique that makes me feel very creative indeed.
I used to use Pixabay a lot. But since I discovered Unsplash a few years ago I now only return to it in a rushed emergency.
Again, it’s free but as time goes on you’ll start seeing other sites on the web using the same images. This makes me uncomfortable.
When I download, resize and edit an image, I come to think of it as “my own”. Which it is in a way. But not really.
If I see that same image used elsewhere I get this "pang".
Maybe it's a pang of guilt for "stealing" someone else’s image?
Or maybe it's a pang of shame for being too lazy to come up with something completely original myself.
I don't know. But I don't like the pang so Pixabay is only for dire emergencies.
Plus, they use a silly captcha that gets in my way.
My own photos
For some sites I'll sometimes use photos I’ve taken myself, mainly with my mobile phone. Some of these are so bad and blurred that they make an interesting blog post image or background or something. But this isn't reliable so I rarely use this as a source any more.
Tools For Editing your wordPress blog post image
- Irfanview: to resize and save in the format I want, usually JPG
(For screenshots I use Greenshot. Also great, also free)
- Canva: to add text
Yes, I love free and open source tools and - once they do the job I need - I'll never stop using them. And I love the bonus feeling of helping the open source and free software communities thrive.
Editing your WordPress blog post image
You know that "thing" Google has about speed on the Web? Almost always, the image I now have from Unsplash (or other source) is far too big for a lean and healthy website to display in a reasonable time. So that image has to be modified i.e. optimisied.
I’ve used the free image editor Irfanview for years. And it will take something *amazing* to make me switch at this stage. I use it mainly to resize the images I’ve downloaded.
Then I head over to Canva. Here's the template that I just copy and rename for my current blog post image: it's free for you to copy and use.
I upload the resized file I've just saved from Irfanview. This I use as the background of the blog post image.
Then I change the text to something relevant for this latest post.
A bit of re-positioning and some subtle colour changes might be in order but that’s it.
I hit download as JPG and I have the featured image for my blog post and for Social Media posts promoting that post. I'll often edit this once more in Irfanview just to save an optimised version more suitable for the website.
How do you come up with a good blog post image?
So what do you use? Do you do it yourself? Do you get someone to do it for you? Using free tools or something more professional? Let me know below; I might learn something.