How to Totally Rock the Photos on Your Website, Social Media, or Blog

It should come as no surprise that articles with relevant images get 94% more total views than those without. Most bloggers know this, but what they don’t know is how to create photos that stand out from the rest.

How to Totally Rock the Photos on Your Website, Social Media, or Blog

Over the last year, I’ve learned a lot about the various options for using images on my blog. I’ve tried quite a few, and the photos I use have grown more professional in time.

Want to totally rock the photos on your site? Read on to learn just how!

The Free Route

When your traffic is small and you haven’t monetized your blog, every dollar counts—I get that.

That was my situation the first year I was blogging, so I learned the free tricks that I could.

If this is where you’re at, here’s what you need to do to get images for your site:

  1. Visit compfight.com and search keywords related to your topic,
  2. Select “Creative Commons” on the left-hand-side menu, and
  3. Browse until you find what you need.

Compfight Screenshot

Once you’ve downloaded the photo and uploaded it to your site, you’ll need to use the caption to credit the photographer.

The nice thing about the free route is that it’s—well—free!

The downside is that it can take an hour (or more) to find the right photo, and you typically can’t edit what you get.

Free resources are great when you’re just starting out, but the minute my hobby became a business I knew something needed to change.

The Pro Route

Most professional platform-builders use paid stock photos. These photos are usually higher quality and allow you to edit them as you see fit. As well, stock photo sites are designed to make it easy to find what you need.

When I started using professional stock photos, I was proud of the results—but it hurt.

I was paying $5-$10 for a typical image, and at least once I paid as much as $20! There was no way I could justify that cost early on.

If I was going to keep using stock photos, I needed to find a source that did at least three things for me:

  1. Offered beautiful images,
  2. Made it easy to find what I need, and
  3. Kept prices cheap.

A guy can dream, right? But then… I found it.

Dollar Photo Club

Dollar Photo Club turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.

Basic membership is $10 a month and includes ten photo credits, which rollover if you don’t use them by the end of each month.

The consistent price makes it easy to budget, and the photo quality is some of the best that I’ve seen to date.

Best of all, if you decide to go photo-crazy and use more than your basic ten each month? You can buy more, still for $1 each.

Think professional blog photos are a ways off? You may just be looking at the wrong sites!Click To Tweet

The Selection Process

Once you’ve gone the pro route, the image selection process can get a little more in-depth. Here’s the method I use:

Step 1: Search for keyword related to blog post topic.
Step 2: Narrow search based on specific needs.
Step 3: Add potential images to post-specific collection.
Step 4: View related images.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4.

DPC - Selection
(Click the image to view a larger version)

Once I’ve got five or six prospects in my collection, I review them and select the final image.
DPC - Download

The Image Editing Stage

When it comes to photo editing, there is one tool I rely on the most: Canva.

It’s relatively new to the scene, but designed to be simple and easy-to-use. Also, it’s free!

Canva offers various image design templates, but for blog posts I use a custom template with 760 x 395 pixels.

Canva Custom Design

Once you’ve finalized the title for your blog post, you’re ready to jump straight in and design.

Here’s the image-editing process I use and recommend:

Step 1: Place “By {author name}” on the image, towards the bottom right.
Step 2: Pick 1-2 words to highlight, and plant those in a script-like font.
Step 3: Add the rest of the title words to the image, in a sans-serif font.
Step 4: (Optional) feature another 1-2 words by making them bold, magnified, or otherwise set apart.

Once that’s done, you have your polished image! (Click here to edit a copy of the image I created just now.)

Some would argue (as Derek Halpern has) that content is not king—design is.

In this case, why not work to master both?

Question: How could you use photos to improve your online platform?

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  • John, this post is very generous and super helpful. Thanks for sharing your secrets.

    • It is absolutely my pleasure, Don! I’m happy to share what’s working for me, in the hope that this will help others like you do the same.

      • Already sent it to a good friend who asked me for help on this topic earlier this week. Shared it widely too. Outstanding info…….

        • Are your tweet photos sized the same as your blog post photos? What about Facebook and LinkedIn photos…are they all different? I’m finally getting active with social media and love the way your tweets look. I need to use photos too.

          • Yup, Don, I use the same size blog photos for each social media site! That’s why the image size is so intentional. It saves so much time, not having to resize each one.

  • This is amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing it John. I wish I had that when I started.

    • You got it, Khaldown! I learned these tricks one at a time as I went, so I’m glad having them all together helped you out.

  • What a great article John! I just learned a ton of stuff from here. Thank you for sharing!

    • So glad to hear that, Adam! Glad I could help.

  • Wole Ososami

    Thanks John for a fully loaded article. I have learnt a lot. Looking forward to put many of these things to immediate use.

    • You’re welcome, Wole, glad you’ve learned so much from this!

  • David

    Thanks John. This is great information. Based on your advise, I’ve used Dollar Photo and Cava and now my blog pics look totally professional
    Davidsandstrom.com

  • Shawn

    Dollar photo appears to be no more. It looks like it was bought out by adobe stock? Do you have any alternative services you use now?

    • Hi Shawn. Unfortunately, you’re right. Dollar Photo Club is no longer open to new members. For now, I still use them and I don’t know of a comparable alternative at this time.

  • Hi John, do you still have other comparable resource? Or curious for corresponding sites?

    • Great question, Vern. I’m using Adobe Stock now myself, but they’re a good bit more expensive than Dollar Photo Club was.

  • Thanks for the quick response John. Yes Adobe Stock appears to be definitely a good but more expensive. I’ll share if I have tried a few more and have that sent over for your thoughts.

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