On average, only 20% of your audience will actually read your article in entirety. Having high-quality graphics accompanying the content on your blog goes a long way in making a good first impression with your visitors. Feature images are like book covers, they help make your site look more credible and interesting. For people who create content or run an online store, your blog graphics are like anchors – it gets people interested and helps keep them there.
Human beings are visual creatures. Our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. That means people are much more likely to engage with your visuals first. It also means you'll have higher click-through rates and more images shares through social media.
The key to having visually appealing blog graphics is consistency, proper alignment, and hierarchy.
You don't need to be a designer or master Photoshop to have nice visuals for your content. All this takes is a free trial of Photoshop (which you can get here) and some practice. Let's get started!
Imagery is the main component of your blog banner graphics. High quality photos are a must because it makes your blog/store look more professional and trustworthy.
You'll want to keep background images simple, and the contrast of overlapping text high. For example, with light background images opt for darker text to improve readability. Simple images (photos with 1 person or focal point) tend to be easier to work with because it gives you more space for displaying your text. If your photos are more complex, add a saturated colour layer over top to help simplify the background.
Blog posts with images get 50% more shares than those that don't
Finding quality imagery will also be important. Thankfully, there are lots of resources on the web for commercial-free photography that you can use on your site. Many of these sites have already been tapped by bloggers and if you do a quick search on Pinterest, you'll come across the same image more than once. Try taking your own photos or paying for professional imagery every once and a while to make sure your graphics stay unique.
Typography is one of those aspects of design that is hardly noticeable. Until it's bad. The key to having good typography is having appropriate hierarchy and solid font pairings.
Firstly, hierarchy draws attention to what's most important on your graphic. It brings order to your copy and highlights what your readers need to see. Secondly, having complimentary font pairings can have a massive effect on the overall feel of your visuals. It makes your content legible and enjoyable to read.
Along with typography, colour is also a great way to emphasis important content. Pick one dominant colour, with secondary and accent colours to compliment. Anything more than 3 colours can be distracting and inconsistent.
It's important that you don't reinvent the wheel. Find what others are doing with their blog graphics and see what tricks you can borrow. I recommend Pinterest as a great starting point for finding design inspiration. By taken advantage of pre-existing palettes and professional colour options, you can jump right into your designs.
4. Shapes, Icons & Patterns
Symbols, like imagery, can help visualize your message quickly. For example, an icon of a pencil usually reminds someone of school or education. Icons can also be used to highlight key points and create consistency throughout your content (eg. all educational posts are tagged with a pencil icon). Shapes and patterns are elements you can use to add that extra level of polish to your graphics.
5. Use existing templates
If you run a blog or ecommerce store, it can time-consuming to not only produce content itself, but design graphics to accompany each post. There are many resources to help you get started. Many of these graphics are also completely editable, so you can re-use them an infinite amount of times by changing colours, copy, and images. They are also made by professional designers, which takes the guess work out of finding quality fonts and colours to use.
In a more visual web, your content is just one part of the equation. Take advantage of pre-existing blog graphic templates that will help you get noticed.