Why Do I like Some Blogs And Dislike Others?
I read a lot of blogs. I’m constantly looking for other entrepreneurs and their stories. I have found the best way to learn is to listen. A wise man once said that you learn nothing by speaking. I’m not sure its entirely true but I love it. Since I started blogging for Long Live The Internet I have been reading a lot more. I like to hear the angles that other entrepreneurs take with their writing.
From reading all these blogs, its clear that some are great and others not so much. Its not necessarily that one person is such a great writer and others are not. Surprisingly some terrible writers actually had blogs that I liked. Others that were great writers had trouble keeping my attention. I started looking at these blogs further and dissecting them. I wanted to know what differentiates a good blog from a bad one.
Assuming that the topic is the same and that the person can tell a good story, what was the difference. To my surprise it was the meaningless cosmetics. The last thing that I ever thought would make an impact, was. How ridiculous. Why would this matter? Well it did. I went back through the blogs that I liked. There were some consistent things that they all had.
Easy To Read
Surprisingly all of these blogs had large font and lots of spacing between lines. They also had lots of short paragraphs and short sentences. This short sentence trick I had learned from using my writing process secret weapon.
Lots of Subheadings
Another thing I noted was that these blogs all had lots of subheadings. It did a great job of breaking up the content and also made it seem less tiresome to read. People who were writing huge sections of words were boring me.
Images and Blog Graphics
The most important factor and one I hadn’t realized were visuals. The pictures and blog graphics made a huge difference. I had completely underestimated how important images were in blog posts. I realized that blogs that had lots of images, were keeping me more engaged. Any images were working. Whether it was screen shots or fancy graphics, they were something to break the monotony of the text.
Don’t Hate Me Writers
Now I’m not trying to trivialize the writing at all. Of course the writing is the most important factor of blogging. You have to be knowledgeable and you have to be able to communicate. If you can’t do that, then it won’t matter how many images and headings you have. On the flip side, there are tons of great writers who can’t build great followings for their blogs.
Now assuming you have the writing down, its time to dress up your blog. The headings and font size are easy to address with some simple changes. Images though are a different story. Some people are very intimidated by graphics or images. Don’t fret. I got you. Lets now take a look at 20 free blog graphics sites and tools to modify them for your own blog.
Our 20 Free Blog Graphics Sites
1. Unsplash – The first of our free blog graphics site is a personal favorite. I have used unsplash for a while now on many of my blog images. Their work is beautiful but often a little dark. Unfortunately the images are not tagged so they aren’t search able either. You have to dig for ones you want.
2. Cupcake – This is a curated collection of images from photographer Jonas Nilsson Lee. He offers these specific pictures to be used in any way you please. A nice selection of high impact shots mostly of nature. Unfortunately they are not searchable either.
3. Flickr – The monster owned by Yahoo. Most people don’t realize that Flickr has the ability to search for Creative Commons and commercially free to use images. This site is probably the most powerful of all the sites I use. The bad is that you have to search through lots of poor quality photos to find the good ones. This site is a treasure trove of free blog graphics though.
4. Bucketlistly – Pete R who is the owner of the site actually created a cool site to let you track and share your bucket list travel plans. This particular portion of the site is to share free high resolution travel photos. There are the standard mountain shots but lots of other expansive shots. They may for a great background to make your free blog graphics.
5. MMT – This site is owned by Jeffery Betts who posts photos each week. Most of the imagery are New York related but there is a nice selection of “real” shots. Less staged and a nice feel.
6. Magdeleine – A nice selection of free photos to use for your blog graphics. The nice part about this this is they let you search the images as well as browse by category or even color. Some great stuff to make free blog graphics here.
7. Design Shock – Our next site is actual one that offers free blog graphics. As opposed to just the background imagery they offer free sets of icons, and other items that you can use in conjunction with images to make your blog graphics. The email a killer free bundle every once in a while that I usually save for use later.
8. Gratisography – One of my personal favorites this site offers cool pictures. All pictures are photographs taken by Ryan McGuire. They have a cool edge to them. These aren’t your traditional landscape photos. They are sweet.
9. Foodies Feed – If you are looking for food shots then this is a great option. They offer a nice selection of food related images that you can use for your blog. Often there are a couple angles of the same shot which is useful to find one that works for the specific blog graphic you are working on.
10. Life of Pix – This site is a collection of photos submitted by others. You can use these images free of charge. I particularly like the curation here as the images seem a little more real. They are not as scenic and mostly great captures of moments.
11. ISO Republic – This is a great collection put together by Tom Eversley. Tom is a designer and photographer from England. He put the site together to offer designers a cheaper option. His images are categorized and there are some great shots here to use.
12. Super Famous – This is a collection of images from Dutch designer Folkert Gorter. He is based in LA now and the photos are predominantly scenery and nature. Nice powerful shots.
13. Morgue File – A large collection of images from various different photographers. This site has great variety and the ability to browse by category as well as color scheme which is cool.
14. StockSnap.io – Stock Snap offers some great punchy imagery. As opposed to the somber blue over-toned landscape shots, they have a great variety of vibrant photos. They offer this site to drive people to their new graphic design tool. Its similar to the tools we are going to outline below to help you build your free blog graphics.
15. re:splashed – A collection of 400 images. You will notice some of the images from other sites but they have a nice mix of both nature and society shots.
Sites to Customize your Free Blog Graphics
Now that you have all of these amazing images and stock files, you need to do something with them. Its not enough to stick one of these beautiful pictures in your blog. It works to some extent but you really need to personalize it. Our final couple of sites are just for that. These sites will let you turn your images into amazing free blog graphics.
16. Canva – This site is my top recommendation for building your free blog graphics if you have no experience. Canva allows you to upload images that you may have downloaded from any of these sites above. Once you have the image they have templated designed themes. You can add graphics on top of the images as well as text. The program is incredibly powerful. I probably should write a post just about using Canva and how I use it. I highly recommend you signup for this free site and start playing around. If you are graphically inept or even more advanced, this site is great. I use canva to make my free blog graphics as well as Instagram posts and Facebook images. Its a winner.
17. Pic Monkey – The major competitor to Canva Pic Monkey offers almost the same thing. My allegiance has been with Canva because I started using them first. Pic Monkey’s free version has banner ads on the page. You can upgrade to a paid plan that has no advertising. Pic Monkey is also a great tool to make free blog graphics. You can upload images and lay text over them. You can make collages or all types of different graphics. Surprisingly the main thing that I love about them is the ability to crop an image. It sounds so simple but this is missing from Canva that I find annoying. Another sweet option on Pic Monkey that Canva doesn’t offer is the transparent background. You can make images that are transparent for use on your blog. Both huge features that Canva lacks. In summary if you can get over the ads its a great option to make your free blog graphics.
18. Pixlr Editor – If you are looking for something a little bit more sophisticated then you should take a look at Pixlr Editor. This is closer to a full featured Photoshop type program. Its more complicated to use than the two prior options. In summary if you are looking for something like Photoshop but don’t want to drop the money on it, Pixlr Editor may be a great choice for you. Its a more advanced way to customize your free blog graphics.
19. Paint – The original basic image editor that comes with windows. This program is bad and leaves a lot to be desired. If in a pinch though you can modify the images you got and add some text over them. This is probably the worst of the options. The only reason I can see using this is if you are stuck on a plane and don’t have internet access to use one of the three other free blog graphics programs I mentioned above. This is a last resort.
20. Adobe Photoshop – The grand daddy of all photo editing programs, Photoshop is serious. This is not a beginners tool and has taken me years to figure out a fraction of the things it can do. Its incredibly powerful but for that you will pay. Photoshop is not free although now Adobe offers a monthly subscription plan. Unless you have exhausted your other options, I can’t recommend spending the money on Photoshop. The program though allows you to literally do anything, if you can figure it out.
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