Five essential graphic design elements every blogger should create to help market and promote their blog.
While there are oodles of creative ways to use graphics on your blog, there are some that are more essential to your success than others. Customized images can serve many purposes in efficient ways, and the importance of using them can’t be understated.
Creating templates to use in branding, titling and promotion doesn’t need to be overly complicated, though. This post will break things down to the absolute must-have graphic design elements for your blog. Once you learn and feel comfortable in creating these, you can expand into other types of graphics.
Sharing who you are is paramount as a blogger. You share your knowledge, experiences and opinions throughout your content. Your audience will get a sense of your personality as they browse your posts and become regular readers. But first impressions are EVERYTHING in today’s digital age.
Some introverts may balk at the idea of posting a personal image on their blog. But readers are more likely to make an immediate connection with you when they see your image and a short bio in the sidebar.
Emphasis on short bio. A few lines linking to your about page with a photo that sums up who you are and what readers can expect from your blog. Serious and business like? whimsical and care free? Your bio photo should portray that.
At the IBA, we have numerous writers so our images are at the bottom of the article like a magazine or newspaper byline. My blog theme has a sidebar widget that pulls my gravatar image and lets me add a few lines of bio. (below)
Your logo is an essential piece of your branding kit. This small design element packs a big punch when it comes to recognition. It can be used on social media, business cards, your website, stationery and promotional items like t-shirts or magnets.
Creating a logo is possible even if you’re not a graphic designer. Just be sure to keep it simple and not too busy. Choosing a shape and adding your blog’s name in your signature font can be enough at the beginning. Try to elicit the feel of your brand. You can do this by a shape with soft edges and lighter hues to create a relaxing feel or by going with a bold image in bright shades to evoke energy.
I also use my logos for my blog favicons and social media profile images. One less thing to create and consistent branding.
Your blog header is likely the first thing readers see when they visit your site. It’s at the very top of the page and lists the blog’s title. This can be done simple with text only, but a design that incorporates a bit more can go far toward developing your brand.
Be sure to check your blog’s theme to determine the size your header will accommodate, otherwise, your design could look distorted or simply not work at all. And you will want to view it on both computer and mobile devices because you will have readers coming from both avenues.
Go with simplicity because you don’t want to distract the viewer’s eye with too many aspects. Choosing a few colors, with no more than two fonts for your blog’s name and tagline should suffice. You can add a shape or uncomplicated graphic if you wish.
A feature image is the graphic that introduces your blog post. It is usually a photo or illustration with a filter overlay and the title of your post.
A shape can be used as a text box to make your words stand out. Your chosen filter overlay should remain consistent for every post, as should your font. These things will soon become recognizable when seen on social media as your readership increases. Be sure to leave enough white space around the edges of your graphic so that the text is legible.
Look at the IBA’s home page (sample above). All of the feature images have a consistent look to them: same fonts, colors and overlays. This is branding at its’ most basic.
Again, check with your blog’s theme to help determine the optimal size to use.
Social Media Graphics
Your social media shares should always include an image. It’s been proven that graphics substantially increase click through. You can use your feature image as a template, but each social media site has its own recommended sizes and that changes frequently.
Once you’ve determined the current size being used by each site, create a template that can be customized with new photos and text for each new post. I use Canva for my blogs and IBA Posts. I just swap out the photos, type in the new text and I’m done.
Every single post you publish should include a “pinnable graphic”, an image that readers can pin to Pinterest. At this writing (early 2020) super long images (“giraffe pins”) are out. Pinterest will crop them and only show the middle. Vertical 2×3 ratio images (400×600, 800×1200, etc) or square images will show better.
Just the Beginning
These graphic design elements are the must-haves for your blog. You can move from these and add tutorial images and infographics, but these are the basics ou should have to get started.
Taking the time to develop these assets will help you create a brand image and promote your blog just like those other successful bloggers.