How to Make Custom Images for Your Blog Posts Without Hiring a Designer


The posts on this blog are typically 2,000 words long. Would you honestly read them if they were nothing but text? Sure, some of you would (and that’s amazing, thank you), but I could never blame anyone for not wanting to read a giant block of text.

This is why articles that include images get 94% more total views than articles that don’t.

Remember though, that stat is just an average. If you use images well, your traffic could increase even more.

It’s a win-win: you get more pageviews, and your readers get to enjoy reading more digestible content.

While social media isn’t the same as your blog posts, it illustrates the power of great images.

Posts on Facebook that include an image get 53% more likes than posts without an image. Additionally, they also make up 93% of the most engaging posts


No matter how great your writing is, it has a limited ability to hold your readers’ attention and get information across.

Images, on the other hand, can be processed by the brain about 60,000 times faster than text.

This is why Buzzfeed, one of the most popular sites on Facebook, uses images in every post. It has led them to traffic levels that surpass 200 million visitors every month.

Bottom line: Images should be a main component of all your blog posts. They improve your readers’ experience, which leads to a more educated and satisfied audience that enjoys your content more and spends more time on your site.

The problem you may run into, however, is that images are expensive. While some businesses may be able to hire high-quality graphic designers, not everyone can.

If you want to get great custom images for your content and don’t have the budget for a professional designer, you have no other choice than to create them yourself.

Naturally, this scares a lot of blog owners. But image creation doesn’t have to be scary. This article will guide you through everything you need to know to create amazing custom images without breaking your budget or taking up all your time.

1. Use these 5 types of free or low-cost image sources

If you want to create great custom images, you’ll need images for your images.

Confused? Let me show you what I mean.

Take this featured image from my post Why Link Building Is NOT the Future of SEO:

Young beautiful businesswoman is looking at the whiteboard with the graph, business icons and the acronym 'SEO'.

Inside of that image, there are many separate images:

  1. the background
  2. the woman looking at the whiteboard
  3. all the individual graphics on the whiteboard (the line graph, the word “SEO”, etc.)

When creating custom images, you’ll often need to combine several standalone images.

But you can’t just take any image you find on Google because it might be protected by copyright laws. While you might get away with it for a while, you could also get sued overnight and be drawn into an expensive lawsuit.

Even if you accidentally take an image that you thought was free to use, you could still get into trouble.

But don’t let that scare you because I’m going to show you different ways you can get images to use in your blog posts legally.

i) Public Domain Images (free). The public domain refers to images that are either very old or those that the creator has released into the public space.

These images are all free and safe to use and don’t require you to link or give attribution to the creator (although you can if you want).

Sounds great, right? It’s good but not great. Why? Because there’s a very limited number of such pictures compared to those available on paid image sites, and the high quality pictures are used frequently by others.

You can use a number of public domain search engines, but here are the most popular:

  1. Pixabay: All the images on this site are free to use (just skip over the first row of “sponsored” images for every search). Search for what you’re interested in. As you can see, there are some decent images but none that you’d probably consider great.




  1. Morguefile: Morguefile is another solid free image site. All images are free and require no attribution. Use the homepage search box like you would on any other image site:


Additionally, there’s a cool feature when you click on an image that tells you the number of times the image has been downloaded. You probably want to avoid those that have been downloaded tens of thousands of times.


  1. Public Domain Pictures: Although it doesn’t have the most creative name, Public Domain Pictures is definitely one of the top search engines for public domain images.



Here are more resources for free images.

ii) Creative Commons Images (free and paid). Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides licenses to all types of creative work, including images.

The images you find in Creative Commons are usually higher quality than public domain pictures and sometimes on par with paid images.

The downside again is that the best free images will be used by thousands of other people. Additionally, there are six different image licenses an image can hold, most of which require you to provide attribution (give credit to the creator).

Before I tell you where you can find Creative Commons (CC) images, first I need to give you a crash course on the different licenses (don’t worry—it’s easier than it sounds):

  1. CC0: While technically not a CC license, CC0 notation will accompany some images, which means they are in the public domain. You are free to use these in any way you wish without attribution.
  2. CC BY: This license allows you to use the image for whatever purpose you want, but you have to attribute it. If you change the image, you can then change the license to whatever you want.
  3. CC BY-SA: Again, you can use the image however you like as long as you provide credit. The difference is that any edited image will retain this same license, which isn’t a big deal for our use.
  4. CC BY-ND: You can use these pictures on two conditions. First, you must provide attribution, and second, you must not edit or alter the image. This can be useful, but not always.
  5. CC BY-NC: The NC stands for “Non-Commercial”, which means it can’t be used on a blog post that you might profit from. I really hope you’re trying to make money from your blog, which means you can’t use pictures with this license.
  6. CC BY-NC-SA: This is a non-commercial license—avoid it.
  7. CC BY-NC-ND: Again, this is a non-commercial license—avoid it.

To break that down, the three types of licenses you’ll be looking for are:

  • CC BY
  • CC BY-SA
  • CC BY-ND


How do you give attribution? To properly credit image creators, you need to include the image title, author, source, and license.

Here’s an example of an ideal attribution from Creative Commons for Flickr URLs:

Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

According to best practices, you should attribute the picture close to where it is used. However, it is also acceptable to attribute photos at the end of the article.

Since CC is a licensing organization, you’ll need to use search engines and different websites to find CC images to use. Here are some:

a) Flickr: the most well-known source of Creative Commons images. It has the most extensive library of free images although sometimes it’s hard to find relevant images.

Search for a term, and use the drop down menu as shown in the picture below to filter the results to images only with commercial licenses. If you plan to modify the image, pick “Commercial use & mods allowed.”


Once you have the image, you’ll just need to create an attribution for it. The easiest way to do it is to use ImageCodr to generate the html from a Flickr URL automatically.


b) CC Search: all you need to do is click on the source you’re interested in (could be Flickr), then enter your keyword and click “Search.” Note that you should check both boxes under the search box so that you only get pictures available for commercial use and that you can modify:


You can also search Wikimedia Commons using this search engine because doing it on the actual Wikimedia site is a real pain.

c) Google Advanced Image Search: start by typing in your search.Then click on “Search Tools,” followed by “Usage Rights,” and then either:

  • Labeled for reuse
  • Labeled for reuse with modification (if you want to modify the image)


The one thing that I need to note about the Google Image Search is that occasionally it categorizes images wrongly. Always go to the actual site the image is hosted on to check what CC license it has.

iii) Simple Icons (free and paid). Most custom images are based on some sort of stock image or photo and text. However, you’ll often want to use a little icon to add some relevance to a picture.

By far, the best site to find icons is the NounProject. All you need to do is search for a keyword, and a ton of great little icons will come up:


You can use any icon free, but you need to attribute it.

Otherwise, you can buy an icon for $1.99 (or get a monthly membership), and you don’t need to provide attribution.

iv) Stock Images (free and paid). Stock images are created by professionals. They are typically very high quality photos.

While public domain and CC images have their time and place, most of your images should be stock images.

There are some free stock image sites, but most are paid. Again, the big difference between the two is that any good free image will be widely circulated. You want your blog’s images to have a distinct feel that no other site can duplicate.

Here is a list of some of the best free stock image sites:

  • StockSnap: Has a large number of free images that you can use attribution-free.
  • Unsplash: No search engine. They post 10 photos every 10 days that anyone can use without attribution (public domain).
  • Gratisography: A varying number of pictures are added on a weekly basis. All free to use; however, you want those with no attribution.
  • Death to the Stock Photo: Not a ton of pictures, but you can get 10 free stock photos emailed to you every month.

Additionally, here is a list of over 10 other similar free stock image sites.

Buying stock images is a good option if you have a budget and are trying to use extremely high quality pictures.

That being said, there are two distinct types of stock images you can buy, and one of them you want to avoid.

If you see “Rights managed,” run the other way. This term typically means you can only buy a single-use license. That means you can only use the image one time. To use it again, you have to pay for it again. The worst part is that the license also expires after a set time, which is often a few months. Obviously, you aren’t going to take down a blog post after a few months, and it’d be silly (and costly) to keep buying the same image license.

Instead, look for “royalty-free images.”

Royalty-free images aren’t free, but you own the picture when you buy it, and you can use it as many times as you want with no attribution required.

They are also much cheaper, mostly going for anywhere from $0.20 to $5 depending on the site and your membership level.

Here are 4 well-known royalty-free stock image sites:

They all work almost exactly the same. Just enter your keyword into the search box, and a ton of relevant high quality pictures will come up.


v) Hire a “Cheap” Designer on Freelance Sites. While you may not be able to afford a professional graphic designer, you probably can afford to hire a freelance designer from overseas.

These designers will cost a fraction of most Western designers, and you’ll be able to get some pretty high quality custom images for only a few dollars each. You will have to deal with a bit of a language barrier in many cases, but if you make your instructions clear, it can work.

Here are some popular freelance sites where you can find a cheap designer:

The rest of this article is focused on teaching you how to create custom images yourself (even cheaper).

2. The “Secret Sauce” to easily designing images like a pro

Had I written this article a few years ago, it would’ve looked very different.

I’m not a graphic designer, and most marketers aren’t either. Having to learn to use a complex piece of software such as Photoshop is intimidating.

Luckily, we have a better option now: Canva.

Canva is a design tool for non-designers. Things snap into place as you expect them to. You have all the basic options to change color and size of an image. And it even has a host of free images and shapes you can use.

Here’s how to use this tool:

i) Pick a canvas (image) size. Once you’ve created a free account, you can pick an image size to start a new project.

You can either pick a common pre-set size, e.g., for a presentation or a poster, or you can enter custom dimensions to make a picture of any size.

Note: Once you pick a size, you can’t change it. This is probably the only significant downside of the tool.


For most blog post images, you’ll want to choose custom dimensions, starting with the width of your blog. If you’re not sure how tall you want it to be, always err on the high side because you can always crop it down after.

ii) Use the sidebar to find images, shapes, and templates. Once you create a new design project, you’ll see the sidebar shown below beside your blank canvas.


In the first tab, the “Search tab,” you can browse images and icons to use in your picture, or you can type in a word to bring up relevant photos.

Note that when you mouse-over some of the photos, a price may appear (typically $1.00). If you choose that image, you will have to pay for it when you download the final design.


The other tabs are pretty self-explanatory:

  • “Layouts”: allows you to split your canvas into pre-set templates.
  • “Text”: allows you to easily add any size or type of text.
  • “Bkground”: allows you to choose a variety of backgrounds, from plain, solid-color backgrounds to paid, patterned backgrounds.
  • “Uploads”: allows you to upload your own images at no cost. This is how you’d get your stock photos from before into your design.

Once you pick a photo, shape, or text, the element will appear on the canvas on the right.

From there, it’s really intuitive to change size, position, or color of your image or to align certain elements with other elements:


iii) If you want something more advanced, use an alternative. While Canva is great, maybe you do have advanced design skills or an interest in learning more advanced software.

In that case, some more advanced alternatives are:

  • GIMP (Free)
  • Pixlr (Free)
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator

I’ll be using Canva for examples throughout the rest of this guide, but all the principles and concepts apply to all designs that you can make with any software.

3. Image design 101: 3 elements of good design

The rest of this guide will help you learn the bare minimum to make great-looking images for your blog.

Before we get into walk-throughs of creating actual images, you need to learn a bit about design.

i) Choose a font. There are 2 types of fonts: serif and sans-serif. Serif fonts have those little “hooks” on the end of letters and are common in publications meant for print (think Times New Roman).

Sans-serif fonts were specifically designed for the web and have no “hooks”. They are generally (but not always) the best choice for web writing.

A Hongkiat survey revealed the 10 most popular fonts that web designers use most often:

  • Myriad Pro
  • League Gothic
  • Cabin
  • Corbel
  • Museo Slab
  • Bebas Neue
  • Ubuntu
  • Lobster
  • Franchise
  • PT Serif

In addition, another analysis of fonts used by designers revealed the following three as popular choices:

  • Helvetica
  • Garamond
  • Futura

I recommend picking no more than two fonts per picture to keep it simple and cohesive.

If you’d like to see what all those fonts look like (and more), use Word Mark.

Simply type in a phrase at the top to see that phrase in different fonts:


ii) Choose a color scheme. Before we dig into picking colors for your image, check out my extensive guide The Psychology of Color to figure out which colors work best for your niche and brand, if you haven’t already.

Back? Good.

When it comes to colors in design, it’s all about how they go together. A good image for a blog post should have no more than three main colors. In most cases, less is more.

While it’s a simplification, there are generally four types of color pairings.

  1. Monologous: A monologous image has one color but different shades. Use this Google color tool to find shades of different colors that go well together.


  1. Analogous: Can involve one or more colors. An analogous pattern consists of colors that are beside each other on a color wheel. For example, out of the five colors next to each other on a color wheel pictured below, you could pick any two or three and make a good color combination.


  1. Complementary: Consists of two colors that are opposite each other on a color wheel. A complementary color scheme contains colors that provide high levels of contrast but go well with each other. Note that you can change shades of each color chosen until it fits your website or image.


  1. Triadic: Involves exactly three colors. These colors all complement each other, and the resulting image is very vibrant. Here’s what it looks like on a basic color wheel:


Rather than drawing out a combination on a color wheel, use Paletton.

Start by clicking on your desired color scheme (e.g., “Triad”) at the top, then drag any one of the outer circles to try different color combinations. You can preview the colors on the right and stop when you find a combination you like:


iii) Style. The style of your custom images should match the style of your blog and brand, both in design and message.

Ideally, you want loyal readers to be able to recognize who created images when they see them without even seeing your name or website’s name on them. This is why consistency is so important.

First, make sure your design looks like it belongs on your blog. You can have some variation in your image selection, but try to keep a similar style, size, and format whenever possible.

Copyblogger is amazing at keeping a consistent design. For their different podcasting shows, they use the same layout, font, and icons:


The only thing they change for each different show is the actual text and the background color of the left square.

As you can see, the above image for the show “Hit Publish” has a purple background, while the image for the show “Hack the Entrepreneur” has a yellow background:


The second main thing to keep in mind is that the image’s message needs to match your site and post topic. Always think about what the image you are making is adding to your post.

One purpose an image might have is to communicate a feeling or mood. For example, this image from a Quick Sprout post isn’t exactly relevant to the content, but it communicates a feeling of success and accomplishment.

Man jumping for joy next to dollar symbol. Winner of lottery

It wouldn’t make sense to have a ton of text or try to teach readers something when using an image like this.

Another purpose an image might have is to educate a reader quickly. Infographics are a great example of this. But even simple images can convey the purpose and main point of a post.

For example, here’s another featured image from a Quick Sprout post:

SEO statistics

That post was all about growing KISSMetric’s traffic, which is clear from that image. It also shows that SEO was an important, growing part of that.

A final type is an educational or professional image with the purpose of communicating an important part of your post.

Let’s say you run a motivational blog. Which image (below) would be a better fit for a post on that blog?


They’re both simple, but the top image uses a ridiculous font for a serious message, so no one will take it seriously.

Match the font, image, and color scheme with your overall message.

4. Three image designs that look great and can be made in under 5 minutes

Now’s the time I show you step-by-step how to create great images in Canva. Feel free to follow along while creating your own images.

I’ve picked three general templates that you can use over and over again to create great images. Feel free to make any necessary tweaks that will help you represent your brand better.

To start with, we’ll need a nice background image. Using one of the free stock image sites I mentioned above, I quickly found this one. We’ll use that for these examples.

Design #1: “Steal” a free Canva template. Remember those pre-set templates on the Canva homepage? Let’s use one of them.

First, click on one of those templates. I chose a social media image:


Second, choose one of the designs in the “Layout” tab that says free at the bottom of the thumbnail:


Third, let’s upload our stock image using the “Uploads” tab. Click the picture once it’s uploaded to apply it to our template.

Then drag and move it until it covers the canvas. Click “back” as many times as you need to until it doesn’t cover the text:


Step four is to edit the text. Just click the text box, and type the text you want:


Finally, click the background, and select “filter.” Drag the contrast and brightness down or up until the text is highly visible. Alternatively, change the color of the text.


Here’s the final design:


Not bad for 5 minutes?

Design #2: Use a simple transparent background stock image, and put the title in a text wrapper. This time, let’s make an image from scratch.

Start by clicking on “custom dimensions” and entering appropriate width and height. Considering this blog is 700 pixels wide, I entered 700px for the width.


Start by uploading and clicking on your stock image and expanding it to cover your canvas. Don’t worry if it goes off a little bit:


Next, go to the sidebar, and click the “Search” tab. Click on the “Shapes” tile:


Pick one of the free squares at the top. Once it pops up on your canvas, stretch it into a rectangle that covers most of your image’s width. Then move it to the open space near the bottom.


Feel free to pick a color that goes with the other colors in your picture (for me: orange and blue).

Next, click the “Text” tab in the sidebar, type in your message, and put this over the rectangle.


For an optional step 5, click on the background image, then click the arrow in the menu so that you can click “Transparency.”


I adjusted the transparency down to 70 to make the headline stand out. Here’s the final image:


Design #3: Combine a headline, message, and icon. Let’s do one final image but without a stock photo. Create another blank canvas, just like the last time.

This time, click on the “Bkground” tab, and choose one of the free options. You can click the background and change the color if you like:


Next, click on the “Search Tab,” and click on “Icons.” There are many free icons; I’ll choose the graph one here.


I turned it white and rotated it using the grips.

Third, go back to the “Text” tab, and insert your desired text, just like before. This time, we’re going to add both a heading and a sub-heading.

Once you’ve added the text, you’re done!

Here’s my final image:


As you can see, it doesn’t take much to create an attractive image in only a few minutes. The only limitation is your imagination. For more design ideas, follow Canva’s design school.

5. Optimize pictures for file size and search engine traffic

Now that you know how to create custom images, the last part is optimizing them so that they benefit your blog posts as much as possible.

i) Compress the File Size. Page speed is a big deal. A slow loading page will cause visitors to leave before they even give your post a chance.

It’s been estimated that just a 1-second delay in page response can cause a 7% reduction in conversions and an 11% reduction in page views.

On top of driving away visitors, a slow loading page will also cost you more in hosting bandwidth.

One of the most common reasons for a website to load slowly is the large size of its images.

Luckily, you can easily compress images to a fraction of their original sizes and keep your website fast-loading. In addition, compressing an image rarely lowers the quality of it in any significant way.

If you’re using WordPress, install a plugin like Smush or Kraken. These will automatically compress images as they are uploaded.

Take a look at the following screenshot of Smush, showing images compressed by 22-82%:


Alternatively, if you’d like to optimize the image before it ever gets on your server, use an image compression app.

Here are 3 of the most popular options:

They all work in a similar fashion: just upload your original image, and download the new compressed one.

ii) SEO Your Images. Image SEO is pretty straightforward.

The 3 most important attributes are:

  • File name
  • Image title
  • Image alt-text

Start by naming your pictures to include a keyword relevant to your article. You’ll want the image title and alt-text to contain that keyword, or a very similar one.

If you upload the images into WordPress, you’ll be prompted to fill out all fields right away:


Alternatively, you can simply add the title and alt-text into the html of the image:

“<img src=”picture.gif” alt=”Here’s my alt-text” title=”Here’s my title” height=”42″ width=”42″>”

iii) Vary the types of images you use. I talked about consistency of message and design, but that doesn’t mean you should use the same type of image over and over again. It will get boring and lose part of its benefit.

Instead, mix up your visual assets by including screenshots, graphs, charts, and other types of images.

Finally, make sure you include a good number of images per post. Blog Pros conducted a study and found that the highest ranking blogs included at least one image per 350 words.

iv) Resize your images when sharing on social media. You’ll probably want to use some of your custom images on social media to attract extra attention.

To do so, resize the picture first so that the most important part of it shows up in the feed of your followers for each social network:


Most image viewers have the ability to crop images, but if yours doesn’t, you can use any one of the following web applications that allow you to both crop and resize images.

a) PicResize: Upload the image, and use the crop and resize options on the next screen to create the size and shape you need. Here’s how you use the crop tool:


To resize your picture, pick one of the pre-selected options, or enter a custom size using the drop-down menu:


b) LunaPic: Works almost identically to PicResize to crop or resize your image.

c) Web Resizer: Works almost identically to PicResize to crop or resize your image.


I encourage you to start thinking of images not just as space fillers but as real assets that make your posts better.

If you do, and you follow the concepts we went over in this article, you should see a real increase in your page views, time spent on page, and overall user satisfaction.

Don’t worry if you can’t create amazing images right away. Whatever images you create will still improve your content.

Over time, as you get better at creating custom images, you’ll see better and better results that will make a huge difference in your bottom line.

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite images to include in your posts, and how do you get or make them?


  1. Eduardo Cornejo :

    Hey Neil,

    It’s great to se you talking about Canva! I’ve been using it for designing my opt-in before I got ThriveLeads…it’s awesome!

    I now want to use it for infographics, since they just launched that option too.


    • Eduardo, it’s a great resource with both paid and free options. I think people would benefit from checking it out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Eduardo, Canva doesn’t allow you to customize your infographics though (like changing chart values etc). Check out illustrio for that. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it!

  2. I’m definitely one of those readers who would still read your blog even if it didn’t include images.

    Most of the time, I look for images using Google’s image search and adjusting the settings to only include images which are free to use. I tend to start from the bottom up, because I figure other webmasters are grabbing the images at the top of the search to use. I’d prefer to use images that are used by fewer webmasters than more.

    Great post–I’ve bookmarked this one so that I can come back to it, as images and design are the weakest part of my online game.

    • Randy, sounds like a solid strategy. You are following the right formula: Find images that aren’t as readily available and used a lot by other people. Also, the google image search with the CC filter is a good touch. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Totally agree with this post Neil. Great job choosing this topic. I recently put up this tool to help people turn stats into more visual images, for many of the reasons you stated. I hope you don’t mind if I share the link.

    • Marvin, not a problem. I am sure it will be helpful for all the readers. Thanks for the feedback and tips and looking forward to hearing much more from you.

    • I tried your tool which is great for brainstorming ideas or quick turnaround but it outputs at 500×500. Was that optimized to an old pinterest size or something?
      Would be great to be able to customise the image pixel dimensions or have pre-set media specfic sizes using the figures in the post above.
      Thanks for producing and posting.. I like it.

  4. Hamza Adams :

    great post man I love canva but I tend to go more advanced using photoshop because I like create picture and there’s a lot o free images to use for me i like its free and have a huge list of amazing free images

    Hamza Admas

    • Hamza, thanks for sharing. As mentioned in the post some needs and requirements may be a little more robust — which is why there are a ton of tools for all types of maketers. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  5. Steve Estimable :

    Neil, great, insightful and visual blog post!

    I like blog post like these were in only one blog post you have exactly enough of what you need concerning the topic. Time for me to dig deeper in your references!

    Neil Q: What are your favorite images to include in your posts, and how do you get or make them?

    Steve A: Big fan of canva! Use it to create minimalist image with icons from noun project.

    Have a beautiful day!

    • Steve, Canva is great. I think a lot of people have caught on and the services and produts are only going to get better. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Latief Pakpahan :

    So helpful and low budget. Thanks Neil

  7. Deepak Rana :

    So helpful post brother.I was looking for such post & see who posted this Neil Patel 😉

  8. Cristian Cotle? :

    Great post Neil, but if anyone won’t have any time to do it, you can always choose to reach me.

    • Cristian, that’s true. Designers are always the best bet for customized HQ content.

  9. Ahfaz Ahmed :

    Hi Neil,

    As a graphic designer, I usually make post pictures using Photoshop and Illustrator. But you shared many helpful websites to get images and choose colors.

    Moreover I learned about the CC license. Next time will remember the above points when adding someone else’s images.

    Overall it’s another remarkable post.

    But just one question. It is good to use lots of images in blog posts. But I have seen many bloggers are using too many stock images in their posts. It’s not that they are copying those images. It’s just that the post is filled with too many images and less content.

    It’s Ok to use good amount of images in long data driven posts but I need to know whether there is a ratio of the images we use in our blog and the content. I do not add to many images but still would love to hear about it from you.

    Again keep up the amazing work.


    • Ahfaz, glad I could help out with the terminology and clearing up the CC concept.

      As for the use of images: it’s okay to use as many images as you want as long as you are keeping your audience’s attention and providing value. That’s ultimately the benchmark: Value.

  10. William Zimmerman :


    Great stuff here! Thanks very much!

    From one of your recent posts about facebook ads. I had an issue with facebook ads recently for my wife’s company CJ Tours.

    Problem: I advertised to India and those types of countries for “cheap” likes through facebook. Got over 1K BUT realized the accounts are mostly fake. So then advertised in the US and Canada only for page likes through facebook again and shockingly EVEN 99%-100% of the people in the US and Canada liked the page were from “Like Farms” and fake too. They also had over 1,000 company page likes on each person liking my wife’s page.

    So how do I advertise to people who are legit (not like farmers) through facebook ads?

    I am beginning to think facebook is a huge ad scam. Because they have no financial interest to change.

    Please help!! I need a life vest here!

    Thanks very much,
    Bill Zimmerman

    • Bill, it’s all about maximizing your ad spend by narrowing down your advertising terms to niche phrases. I would also suggest geo-targetting to extremely specific areas. Also, the quality of the images you use is vital. If you need any further help please feel to reach out to to me.

      • William Zimmerman :


        Thanks but how do you set niche terms for advertising in facebook?

        • William Zimmerman :

          because there was a merger of precise and broad interest targeting. So it is not possible to get that specific. Also, I tried geo targeting with my last post.

          • Bill, I ran into this same problem a few years ago with Facebook Ads. Not all that surprised to hear this is still going on. I garnered about 1,200 likes before realizing 99% of them were from robots or to use your term, “like farmers”. I haven’t ran a single ad on Facebook since and probably never will. I hope others out there shy away from them as well, but I’m sure there are some who would be hard pressed to steer the other way. To see if you’re being scammed on your Facebook Ads, I encourage everyone out there to check the user profile of all the “people” who are liking your page. Once you’re on their profile, look to see how many other pages they have “liked” within the last few seconds or minutes, and you’ll have your answer there. Great Post Neil, very informative. Keep up the great work and thanks a bunch!!!

  11. Very timely post, Neil. I already use Canva and it is a great tool for creating images for your blog post and social media accounts.

    Sometimes I also use CreativeMarket and IconFinder. The latter helps me create images using icons.

    Thanks and keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more about your $100k challenge.

    • Dev, thanks for the tips. Icons are an aspect that very people spend time on — however, they make a huge difference. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  12. Damn Neil.

    This is one of the most useful posts I’ve read in a while. The big images over at NutritionSecrets make it really easy to read.

  13. Thanks for sharing those great free resources neil, much appreciated

  14. Dr. David Orman :

    In my opinion, this is the best article you have ever written. Great information with exceptional links. I am grateful to you for posting.

    • Dr. David Orman, thanks for the feedback and support. Glad you found it helpful.

  15. Hi Neil thanks for another great post nice information

  16. Luis Llerena :

    Hi Neil,

    Awesome article, the most detailed I’ve seen concerning the creation of designs for blogging. If you permit it, i would like to add a contribution to it.

    Recently, I’ve been taking photos for myself and I figured out that I kept those photos in my hard drive without using them for my photography portfolio or in any other way. So as maybe someone would like to use them I decided to share them for free.

    I lauched I will post at least 20 photos each monday and also I will add the raw file to every photo I would post so people can play with them.

    The photos are distributed without any copyright restriction under CC0 and you can search photos and sort them by category, colors and copy space position.

    If you could add it to your awesome list, that would be nice.


    • Luis, let me check it out. I go through a pretty thorough process before vouching for any site ( I am sure you are great) but I just want to provide the most value to all readers 😉

      • Luis Llerena :

        No problem Neil, I understand. That’s the reason I love your blog and your articles.

  17. Ashley Word :

    Canva is a game changer!

    As a digital marketing freelancer I don’t have a traditional portfolio, so I used Canva to design graphics about my expertise to create a visual “portfolio” that makes my list of skills much more interesting:

    • Ashley, great to hear. It’s a great medium and has launched many careers — It will only get better too!

  18. Iconfinder is great for finding vector icons to use.

  19. Anshul Raghav :

    A very informatic and amazing guide, I think this will help me allot to gain some visitors…!!

  20. Michael Bely :

    Thanks Neil for the overview, the links and the tips.

    Just wanted to share a thought that some people should really think again about a free do-it-yourself images/infographic creation, because although Canva and other online tools are great and effective, they are paid.

    And those who has more time than money can spend a bit more time and do a pretty good work on their own using a free graphic editor (e.g. Gimp or others you listed) with free collections of images and cliparts that can be found in the internet.

    Sometimes people just underestimate this free option.

    • Michael, the free options are great but then tend to cap you out on the types of things you can do. With that being said you can definitely make great content with the free option — there may just be a little more legwork and a learning curve.

  21. Chioma Anozie :

    Hi Neil,

    I am almost blown away by the in-depth information you managed to squeeze into this post. Everything a newbie needs to know about images, image editing, uploading to blog and optimizing for site speed is discussed in this article.

    I am do dabble in design but my blog made me start taking images seriously. I noticed that articles with more images had better reader engagement. This led to a frustrating process of googling where to find copyright-free images, how to make minor edits and how to compress the size of the resulting file.

    Let’s just say my life would have been stress-free if i stumbled on this article 3 months ago. But I have still learnt so much from your article (I now see the power of canva better). I loved how you demonstrate each step and process. Not seen this level of detail in any other blog yet.

    Thanks for sharing Neil.


    • Chioma — it’s never too late. I have evolved immensely over the years in my approach to blogging. The more value you provide (and the more imagery) the more inclined people will be to stick around. It’s all about making sure they are entertained and captivated throughout the process.

      Best of luck and let me know if you need any help along the way.

  22. I just want to point out, that while copying copyrighted images onto your web is copyright infringement, referencing original location of image in HTML isn’t. Thus, you can embed any image you want into your blog, you just can’t copy it to your own servers.

    • Samuel, interesting point — I know the law is a little murky in that regard. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Hi Neil,

    Thanks so much for this awesome post! So useful… will definitely be using some of the tips you’ve provided here to make my blogs more interesting


  24. Nitin Singh :

    Amazing Neil,

    Thank you very much for sharing this post. Was waiting for something like this so I stop giving money to designers.


  25. Shaikh Masood Alam :

    For resizing picture on windows use ice cream resizer and for compressing image use Riot.

  26. yousuf ademnur :

    Thanks for useful & awosome posts really help me a lot in my adventure in IM marketing Can I ask a couple questions Neil
    I am from Italy one of those guys arriving in Europe crossing Mediterranean Sea a couple years ago start as affiliate marketer
    1, Is it crucial to have hosting locally or it can be done outside I mean do I need to host my sites in Italy or it can be done from USA in seo

    2, If I translate some content to local language and publish in my sites is it considered duplicate content or valuation of copyright should I write the source

    Again Thanks a lot

    • Yosuf, I don’t think hosting matters as much as long as your server has very little downtime and provides you with enough space to operate.

      If you translate the content it shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you are putting things in context to avoid any issues.

  27. Neil – what an excellent post! One of you best and most useful!
    Thank you

  28. Wow Word Mark is really cool! All these while I’ve been using Cool Text and they aren’t as user-friendly so its always a hassle to make my custom fonts. Great share as always Neil, you never fail to surprise us 😀

    • Riaz, glad you found the post helpful. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  29. Hi Neil,

    Absolutely really great article on such an scintillating topic.

    MS Qureshi

  30. James Sunderland :

    Awesome post! There is some solid work flow here. Just FYI there are some great apps for IOS I use on the go. OVER and WordSwag have a great UI and WordSwag lets you search in Pixabay. I also use for grabbing CC0 photos that are a little more “hipster” in style. Lastly Unsplash now has a search feature. Thanks again for the great resources.

    • James, thanks for sharing. Everyone is on the go nowadays so that will definitely be helpful.

  31. thanx neil, its just the post tht saved lot of searching for me…have been looking for free stock images for some time now for photomanipulation…you just made life easier for me

    • Renuka, glad I could help. Please let me know if you need help with anything else.

  32. Jonathan John :

    Hi Neil,

    Great post! I source the majority of the images for my clients’ blogs from Flickr using their search engine to filter images by license. It’s an invaluable resource for me.


    • Jonathan, glad you found it helpful. Your process sounds great — Keep up the great work!

  33. Bennie Mellies :

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for sharing, you know whats funny; i was actually looking for a program like Canva last week, to make my blogpost images. And couldn’t find a good program for this. Im really enjoying Canva and they have some awesome possibilities.

    So as i said many times before, spot on Neil. Thx!

    Have a great day.

    Best, Bennie

  34. Akshit Wadhwa :

    Hey Neil,

    I’m really waiting for an article like this. I commented earlier on your blog that How you make your blog images and today I got here thanks a lot Neil.

    -Akshit Wadhwa

    • Akshit, glad you found the post helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  35. Hey Neil,
    What you suggestion with authors who is publishing their photos for free and then changing licenses and suing bloggers for using it?

    • Yaro, I haven’t heard of that practice — sounds sketchy if they are offering services for free.

      • Yes, this issue exist right now.
        For example: Flickr allows to authors to change license on any of his uploaded pictures.

  36. Awesome man, thanks for the post. 🙂 I appreciate the effort and time you put into this

  37. Sherman Smith :

    Hey Neil,

    This was a great crash course on images. I knew there were rules and regulations but I didn’t know there were so many. I particularly use Depositphotos and Canva for my images, but th u s is a great post to reference back to. Thanks fir sharing !

  38. Sherrey Meyer :

    Neil, I recently had a social media expert perform an assessment of my online presence and my blog. One of my social media shortfalls was the use of images.

    This post, although extremely long, is filled with so much good information. Thank you for the time and effort that must have gone into this by you and your team. I will be sharing this with friends and followers as it’s the best graphic design info out there that I’ve found.

    • Sherrey, glad you found the post helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  39. Francisco Rodriguez :

    Hi Neil!

    I’m glad you talk about this topic, since most bloggers are afraid of designing their own custom images for their blogs. specially because of the complexity of programs like Photoshop (As you mentioned)

    I’m a freelance graphic designer who knows a little about graphics, and i can assure you that great images are more about creativity than fancy tools.

    With that said, i would reccomend Cava (, not just as a design tool, but as a learning source since they have a well crafted blog to educate non designers about good design techniques.

    Also, you guys can check out Nathan Barry’s blog for further design tips and info.

    Once you know the principles of good design, almost any tool can help you to accomplish youir goal.


    • Francisco, great points. It’s all about finding the right formula for what you want to accomplish. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  40. Deandre Durr :

    Thank you so much Neil!

    Design is most definitely my number one achilies heel. I have taken a few design courses to help on Udemy and Udacity. Yours is very straight forward and to the point.

    Thanks again I cannot wait to start applying your Canva tactics.

    I will send you an update after 30 days. If I noticed a significant improvement or not

    Smell Ya Later,

    • Deandre, glad you found the post helpful. There are so many design resources out there nowadays — it’s great!

  41. Thanks for such an awesome post, Neil. I can’t say enough. The depth of your posts and the practical value they deliver are increasingly admirable.

    I look up to you for creating awesome content.

    Thanks again for being an inspiration!

  42. You don’t need 90% all the fancy image editing tools that gimp/photoshop have. Using online graphic editors are just soo much quicker and easier to use.. Thanks for the pic resources Neil!

  43. i like this post.

  44. Mary Jaksch |WritetoDone :

    I notice that you use full-width image at the top of your blog posts, Neil. The downside of this strategy is that image doesn’t show up on Facebook.

    What are the pros and cons of using a full-width image at the start of a blog post?

    • Mary, it’s more aesthetic than anything — if you debug your post before going to FB it should render correctly.

  45. Sanjay Singh :

    Thanks Neil. Super useful article. A quick question…

    Our blog ( is for Outlook addins. We put screen shots etc into the articles.

    Do you still recommend putting non-screen-shot images in the longer articles.


    PS: We will start using the SEO tags for the images which we have been ignoring until now.

    • Sanjay, just make sure you are giving the right attribution from the channels you are screen-shotting from.

  46. Thanks Neil for another useful post!

  47. Awesome article Neil… I need a help on one of my websites which is not the one which I entered here.. This is just for time pass… Hope you get in touch with me soon.. I have left my phone number and contact with you

  48. Hi Neil thanks for another great post, this one is super useful to me. Thanks

  49. Sameep Shah :

    Another image optimization tool that I’ve been using for a long time is called RIOT – Radical Image Optimization Tool.

  50. Peter Kortvel :

    Wow! Finally somebody extensively covered this! A great source!

  51. AwesomelyOZ :

    This is a great resource tool Neil 🙂 This would be a great downloadable! I need to stop my dependency on Google for images due to copyright issues. I love Canva! I also sometimes use Piktochart – They have some free infographics and if you have the patience to design it from scratch it’s really outstanding. Just takes a lot of patience for me to design them from scratch since I can’t justify a $30/month price tag for that service. Especially, when great ones like Canva and PicMonkey are free! PicMonkey is outstanding for image effects – it’s like a free Adobe Photoshop! However, Canva really allows you to integrate images into a banner or a presentation. Thanks for these references Neil! Have a great one -Iva

    • Iva — glad you found all these resources helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you. Let me know if you need anything in the meantime.

  52. Tara Woodruff :

    You are a Complete Blogging Beast Neil!! Great Post!!

  53. Phil Treacy :

    Great tips Neil and well covered.

    We use Excel a lot for our website images. It is surprisingly easy to create good graphics from Excel’s in-built shapes and smart art. Almost everyone already has it installed on their PC’s already so it’s easy to get started. Plus you can do charts, diagrams and a whole lot more really quickly :

  54. Hey Neil,

    That’s an awesome post, as always. Images are highly crucial for a blog. And as the internet is getting more and more visual, our images have to be highly visually appealing too!

    I’m using Canva for a few months now and I find it really useful. I also use Photoshop, but Canva helps me create professionally looking images in a very short time. Plus they have loads of templates, images, icons etc. to make the job easy.

    Thanks for the illustrations and reference websites. I have to check out the ones that help me pick the right colors 🙂

    Have a wonderful week!


    • Jane, Canva really has been a game changer — glad you found the post helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  55. Hi Neil,

    This is another top-notch guide from you! I can’t wait to get my hands dirty on the design aspects of my upcoming site and try out the Canva tool.

    Thanks heaps as always!


    • Gigi, glad you liked it — thanks for sharing your feedback and for the support.

  56. Eric @ PassiveIncomeOnline :

    Definitely one of my favorites posts, as mostly marketeer I didn’t even know most of this tools, what I needed most was the theory of colors! Will reference to this really often, many thanks really!

    • Eric, glad you found it helpful. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  57. Waqar Ahmed :

    Neil, I have tried Canva. It was really cool but they demanded $2 for downloading that custom image. Not too much expensive. I thought to make and pay after some time as for now I am just trying to accumulate content as much as I can.
    Here’s the post for which I made an image on Canva.

  58. Thanks for Sharing Information ..

  59. Hi, Its really very nice post. Why dont you share some free Infograph submission websites.


  60. Hi Neil,

    I am following your challenge nutrition blog, whenever I see pictures on that blog, I wonder how you are able to collect this type of image, I thought you are buying from stock photo sites, and Your Quicksprout and NeilPatel blog’s images are very good.

    Now I got fair idea about how to get free images and add standalone images to get desired image of our need, thank you very much for sharing this info.

    • Siddaiah, glad you found it helpful. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  61. Alecia Stringer :

    Yes, Canva still looks like the easiest for me even after trying several different ways.

  62. Tushar Bhaware :

    I have always been worried about working with images. Now I will be more confident. Thanks for the great post.

  63. Thanks a lot Neil, we are in search of some quality image galleries & websites that give us royalty free images & I found so many here. We are going to use these websites for our new start up Affimityfor any image requirements.

    Thank You

  64. Neil Patel! If I use some pictures from google and add them in a single picture so that is violation of copyright???

  65. great post 🙂

  66. Neil,

    Tremendous post. You really created fantastic value for all of us, major thanks.


  67. Mahbub Osmane :

    Most of the time I used Google image but now i’ll use Canva and social media images size is great attach. Thanks for sharing it.

    I never want to avoid your post

  68. Hi Neil,
    Again great post. Thanks for sharing size guidelines. Canva is best. I am using it since long time. It gives me feeling that I am a designer. Here is 1 suggestion also a great site to create collages, also they have nice filter for images.

    Canva is best because of their ready to use templates. But they have very less templates for mobile apps. Nowadays App market is increasing and we need Mobile templates for promotion.

    Do you know any other website which gives us templates for Mobile marketing.


  69. Hi Neil,

    You’re right, few people read long texts. I try to convince my readers to read my posts by inserting pictures into them and writing less than 700 – 800 words. Still I have to do more things to attract them and you just told me how. So, thank you!


  70. Hi, Neil.

    Thank you, this post is really very useful. Creating custom images always was a time consuming task for me and now with your valuable advises it will be much easier.

    In addition to images, icons are also useful as additional elements of custom images and infographics. For icon searching I use It contains plenty of icons, most of them are free or at least free for non-commercial use.

    • Dmitry, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for sharing that additional resource.

  71. Cool stuff thanks for sharing 🙂

  72. Ketan Jawale :

    Hi Neil,

    Amazing Dear …

    I love Canva … I agree with you, If images used in blog or on site are appealing, attractive & relevant to post… it definitely make users to click or read some content on the post…

    Let me thanks you once again, for sharing valuable information with us.

    Take care … God Bless

    • Ketan, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for all the support and for the feedback.

  73. Evelyn Guzman :

    Hi Neil,

    You did it again. You wrote a gem of a post! How do I know this? For six years now I have been reading everything about graphics and not one comes close to yours. A lot of them are just bits and pieces of information, not cohesive at all like yours. I say you’re the Steve Jobs of graphics and you’re not even a graphic guy. How do you do it? Oh well, I know the answer to that so I don’t want to bother you to reply to this question.


    • Evelyn, glad you found the post helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you. Let me know if you need any help in the meantime.

  74. Thank you for a nice advice about site Although I usually use Photoshop, but with this program everything goes much faster!

  75. Dewald Swart :

    I have no problem creating custom images. What I liked about this post is that it tell us how to protect our images we create.

  76. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    Wow, you have started writing in depth articles here too. I really loved your short articles. I usually segment your articles, Neil patel dot com when I have time and for big learning while Quicksprout dot com almost every next day.

    I loved this article. Simple amazing. I found some new resources of image, thanks for them.

    Canva, I tried it only once and made a very small infograph and guess what it was amazing. However I left touch with it.

    Thanks for the reminder. I will play with it once again.

    Have an awesome day. 🙂

    • Rohan — I am trying something new with the in-depth nature of the content. Let me know if you have any questions or need help.

  77. Navraj Singh :

    This is such a useful post thanks Neil

  78. Rahul Sharma :

    Hi Neil,

    I am on of the reader reading your all blogs even does not contain images.

    As a webmaster I am crazy about creating pictures for my personal blog. I am totally agree with you images can help us to increase 90% of visitors.

    And its also help to decrease blog bounce rate. When I first saw your post from google search I really excited to reading your post how you have increase 30% sales for amazon in one month as I remember.

    Thank you for sharing great content I have subscribed your blog.

    Have a Wonderful Day ahead 🙂

    • Rahul, thanks for the feedback and for all the support. Let me know if you need help with anything at all.

  79. Hi Neil, great guide for creating images.

    I used to make infographics with Canva but I took lately the effort to learn Photoshop and it is worth it. I highly recommend it.

    Thanks for sharing such a piece of content!

    • Nuria, PS is great it just requires a little more effort and time to perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  80. Gavin Baker :

    Great explainer post! You’ve definitely got me thinking about trying out Canva – I didn’t realize it changed so much from when it first launched.

    Favorite photo site: – this is by far my favorite, loads of gorgeous images. All free and able to be used in any fashion.

    Favorite tool: we use the Pro version of ShareAsImage for a lot of our blog images. They have their own stock library, it is easy to use. Doesn’t include any kind of icon usage though like Canva.

    I also created a list 14 sites with great images, you can see it:



    • Gavin, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

      If you have any other tips of insights would love to hear them.

      • Appreciate that Neil, means a lot coming from you. Here’s another one that I just heard about that seems to be pretty good as well.

  81. great post ! Is it ok to copy images from manufactures website to include it to your review on your blog, how about pictures on ? Can they be used if you are writing about that product ?

  82. Lindsay Schuster :

    What a great and desciptive post (as always!) I use Canva but didn’t realize I could add in a photo of my own “behind” one of their templates! Thanks 🙂

  83. Nail, Your Blog is complete article very helpful and useful information, I likeful to you. Thank for share nice article.

  84. Dr. Muddassir :

    Hi Neil,

    I guess you mean Guru not “Gur” along with Upwork and Freelancer?

    Dr. Muddassir

  85. Anne McColl :

    Hi Neil, I was thrilled see my image featured at the top of the post. Yep, my url is on the image. It would be swell to get a link back too, helps the SEO a lot!

    Or to where the image first appeared:

    Thanks for the great article. (Yep, I am a copywriter who creates all of her own images.)

  86. Great post. In an Age where people are developing heavy doses of ADD and the attention span is now less of a gold fish…

    It makes sense to use a good amount of images and some big text snippets so they can skim, find something interesting and keep reading.

    I must say am guilty since back in the 90s when I used to enjoy more reading the text books in reverse … lol (kinda what is the inverted pyramid).

    Anyway, I love GIMP thanks for mentioning it.

    Yea is bit more advanced and basically a photoshop substitute, but You do gain some more professional skills into your arsenal by learning it. Plenty of tutorials and large community.

    Another freebie which is also open source and crap-spy-ware free like Gimp is but for Vectorial graphics (like those used on flash / html5 comics / games) is “Inkscape”.

    I mean with the web getting so dynamic and competitive / saturated you need to become MUCH MORE CREATIVE , learn some graphics tools and even some coding to develop web content or web apps / tool / games or you’ll risk becoming displaced and obsolete within less than a decade!

    • Manny, you bring up some great points. There is a lot of saturation in the market — it’s tough to find great places to make and create content to share, but when you do it’s rewarding.

  87. Anne McColl :

    Neil, thank for the text link I really appreciate it. This article is a great resource. Honored to be included.

  88. Darshan Paladiya :

    Awesome details indeed. I have been using external images since years and I started from literally copying and now able to create my own images too. Being quite a pro at image manipulation I felt I had no need to read more about images but your post gave me many new things to learn. I’m sure that beginners especially will like your post a lot. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Darshan, glad you found it helpful. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  89. Hi, Neil
    I’m sure you know already, but this was an awesome adventure reading this post. I got lost clicking on all the links, luckily they all open in new windows.
    Awesome!!! Thank you

  90. Amazing post, one has to focus on images a lot, as the old saying goes, a picture speaks a 1000 words

  91. Before you rush off and make your own images,
    take a step back and think.
    Think of all the images you’ve seen where you’ve gone “yuk”, or “what does that say” or “how does that relate to what I’m reading”.

    Do not commit those sins 😀

    Don’t put semi-transparent text over busy backgrounds.
    Don’t make text blurry.
    Remember images may scale – so Text has to be legible at multiple sizes (or create variants for use in things like Fb/Twitter).
    Images are meant to convey something – make sure what you are saying is clear.

    Little touches can go a long way.
    If your software supports it, try adding a 1px border, and then apply an internal shadow to frame it (75% transparent, #ccc-#666, about 4px-10px depending on the image size).
    Depending on what text effects you are using, it may be worth copying the text and placing it on-top of itself – this can often lead to firmer/harder/clearer edges and improve readability.
    Always leave a good bit of space between the focus of the image (and the text) and the edges of the image (don’t put things right up to the edge, keep it at least 15px away if possible).

    Make sure you understand the File Format.
    JPG is meant for “photo” quality.
    GIF is meant for limited colour/blocks of colour (non-fine details).
    PNG is basically a better version of GIF and should be used instead 😀 (PNG 8bit is standard)
    In most cases, you can get away with PNG – and it is usually smaller in file size too.

    Rather than online tools – you may do better with local copies.
    Gimp is still a good tool (though the learning curve may be a problem – it’s worth learning).
    InkScape is a good free Vector tool.

    Things like PNGCrush, PNG Gauntlet and are good compressors.

    • Rogerson, always a great time looking at your insights. You provide a lot of value in the comments. Thanks for your support.

      • It’s tough.
        I know that at times, OPs see my name and think “oh ****” – as I tend to be lengthy and sometimes (often) contrary.
        But I always try to add something of use (even if the OP doesn’t like it :D).

        I admit – at times it’s hard work – you do tend to cover the basics thoroughly (something many in the SEO field utterly fail at – assumptive writing is a bane!).
        Still, makes me think outside the box more than usual 😀

  92. Thanks Neil! I’ve only recently started blogging and this post has unearthed some great image sources I was unaware of.

  93. Thanks for this amazing post Neil, I really want to make some changes on my site but I can’t spend a ton right now. This post will help me drive the costs down.

    Thanks for saving me money!


  94. I currently use Pixabay for my website post. Thanks for providing us with a few more free sources for great imagines
    Great post Neil

  95. Circe Denyer :

    Thank you Neil for mentioning Public Domain Pictures. I am a photographer and contributor to this site and there are many talented photographers here. A person can download an image for free and there is an option to buy a package to download High Resolution images that can be used for commercial use. Again thanks for mentioning this great site.

    Circe Denyer, photographer

  96. Hi Neil,

    On the topic of photos, I notice you use a lot of stock photography on your nutrition website yet do not attribute the owner.

    I also purchase lots of stock photos and currently attribute the owner beneath each image (around 10 on each page) it does look messy.

    I was wondering how you got around this.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Alan, I actually use a lot of images that are created in-house and I buy the rights to the other photos.

  97. Very helpful indeed.. Thanks Neil.. 🙂

  98. You must be a mind reader. I can’t possibly tell you how timely, relevant and valuable this article was for me.

    You answered more than a few specific questions I had, provided more than a few specific resources I was seeking and provided insight that sparked more than a few great ideas that will help with an important project I am working on for a client, move along so much more smoothly.

    You also gave me multiple ideas that can be implemented into other facets of my business and a redesign of a couple personal sites. So, thank you!

    I also agree that Canva is flat out brilliant and really helps fill a huge and sometimes intimidating gap for Internet marketers in website design when trying to learn these imaging tools. It fills such a large and common need.

    I need to be able to budget time and save money where it’s possible and I want to be able to create or find images without having a huge learning curve or needing an exorbitant budget. Ton of value taken from this so thanks again, man.

    All the best!

    • Howie, glad I could help. If you have any additional tips or insights on how to best leverage content I would love to hear it.

  99. Kurt Kummerer :

    Hi Neil,

    Awesome detailed information. Thanks for writing. I currently use mostly screen shots in my blog posts at this time. To take the screen shots I use Monosnap. Incorporating images into my blog posts is something that I am working on and what you shared here will help me going forward. I did not know the difference between “rights-managed and “royalty-free” images and how to properly label images for SEO purposes, but now I do.

    Thank you,


  100. Hello everybody!

    What about future proofing the images? I checked out older posts on this blog and some of the images are small. What about the retina display and future higher resolutions?

    I was thinking of saving all the images in a higher resolution (like 1600 pixels wide) and then creating a new image size in WordPress. The resolution of the image size can be changed when needed and all the images can be resized with the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin.

    • Pieter, that sounds like a great strategy. Would love to see how it goes — please share.

  101. Anoop Badoni :

    Thanks Neil, Great post and Very useful for newbies like me.

  102. The best article of all the time. You summed up everything about “Images” in one article.
    I was searching for all this from days but couldn’t get any information, not even on Google, wikipedia. Thanks for sharing this :’)

  103. Another great post. I create images using Photoshop. i am not expert but i manage. Now, i will try your ideas. Some times i wonder how you write so detailed blog posts. Thanks..

  104. I hope after trying these, i’ll end up saving some of my money 🙂 thanks neil !

  105. Audra Carpenter :

    Hey Neil,

    You never disappoint! Spent a few hours on this post and learned some super stuff! Really appreciate you driving this industry as you do.

    Thanks again!

  106. Saulo Segurado :

    Thanks, Neil! These tips will help me A LOT.

  107. I use canva, and pixavay and those have never failed to deliver. I love the ease canva enable me to create with. I also use szoter for screen annotation.
    thanks for sharing.

  108. I always find myself referring back to your articles. One of the most informative blogs. Thanks for all your tips.

  109. Svilen Nikolov :

    Hi, Can you give example how to give the right cc attribution for print materials since once printed links can not be followed.

    • Svilen, I don’t really deal as much in print materials. I would look up the laws governing print materials in your geographic region.

  110. Vicky Choksi :

    Hi Neil,

    Again a great post from the search marketing leader. A picture speaks thousands words and custom images are an important part of online marketing. Images play a big role in user engagement and genuine traffic.

    Keep sharing such wonderful post. I am a fan of your posts. Thanks.

    • Vicky, images definitely do provide a lot of value. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  111. Hi Neil,

    very useful article, as usual.

    Thank you

  112. Hi Neil,
    this one is full of information, before I had chewed this, you came up with 3 ? 5 ? more posts. Good, good work. This post I personally find especially usefull. I respect you for giving all this information for free. It has saved me a lot of time and effort.



  113. Hi Neil,
    I am your loyal reader and have learned lots from you, PS keep us in the loop, also PS keep my email address if I don’t read your blogs on time. Sometimes I save your blog and read it later, but always keep your blogs as my top priority to read.
    Many thanks for helping others grow business.

  114. Hi Neil Patel. Thanks for this wonderful article for digital marketers. This help us to grow more in digital marketing. And my question is can we design a simple customized image with post related titles. Do you think it worth?

    • Venkatesh, just get a designer to put one together — they usually do a great job. It’s definitely worth it.

  115. Amazing article…How long did it take to
    1) do the research
    2) write this article

    Honestly,I wasn’t able to read it in full as it was an information overload, though i have bookmarked it to use it when I need…very difficult to retain what we read forcing me to bookmark 🙂

    I am sure that you are trying to use this lengthy post to do some research of your own…would be great to know it 🙂

  116. Christine DeAza :

    Thank you!

  117. Great post Neil!
    As a blogger I also use royalty free pictures. Once, I even started a venture, hired a photographer etc. but this startup idea was weak, so I failed 🙂 Anyway there are some photos left that I am sharing with folks on my blog. Don’t you mind if I left a link to it?

    From the other hand, I find Google docs, especially Slides very useful to create simple images. I use simple shapes and layers to position all the scene’s elements.

    Also as a Mac user I use to do really simple placements using copy/paste etc. functions.

    Once again great post.
    Thanks for sharing such awesome content.

    Cheers man

    • Wojtek, no problem with the link.

      Thanks for sharing your insights. If you need help with anything else let me know.

  118. Awesome post, Neil!

    I notice in some of your blog posts like The On-Page SEO Cheatsheet, you use a lot of stats, images, and what appear to be screen captures from other websites, or pics of their homepage, etc.

    How does this work without stepping on toes and getting into trouble copyright wise?


  119. In the sentence “If you’re using WordPress, install a plugin like Smush”, the url on ‘Smush’ is the same as ‘Kraken’.

  120. This article is very nice. i want many traffic in my website. because,I want to add my site to better my income

  121. Great article Neil!! If u are able to respond, 1 thing I’m confused about is….

    “For most blog post images, you’ll want to choose custom dimensions, starting with the width of your blog.”

    Wouldn’t the width be different depending on the size of screen it’s being viewed? I’m not sure what state/where I would be taking this measurement from.

    • Ty, it all gets modified via your browser.

      • thx Neil. Right, so I guess that is the source of my confusion, why would matching a measurement matter since browser will resize?

        • nevermind. I answered my own question. As you can gather, this is all new to me and was not grasping what a pixel really was and how it relates (or doesn’t) to actual size. Thanks though!

  122. Once again, you’re a lifesaver. I was looking for an old article I read once about where to find someone to design custom blog-images, but this is so much better.
    I usually find outside designers to not understand the direction I want to take with a project. The image in my head never seems to match the final product. I know it’s probably the way I’m explaining it to them, but that’s another issue.
    Thanks for taking us step-by-step through how to create great article images. This helps a lot!

    • Tim, glad I could help. If you need help with anything else please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

      • Will do. I just finished my first custom graphic and it makes a huge difference.

        Over the past year I spent a ton of time improving my photography skills so I could get better images for my site. Having a custom header adds another level of professionalism. I wish I’d done this sooner.

  123. Hi! Nice article and website. I think you are doing a great job here. It is very important nowadays for designers and not only designers, even regular people with blogs and such to have access to free or low priced stock images. You should also check out We have a great option that no other stock site has, the option of streaming images, unlimited access to the whole database of images available on the site, without downloading the images. You get a link to the image and copy-paste into whatever you are working on. You can get a free trial of one month of the streaming plan to test this out. We also have a built in option of editing the images in your browser directly on the site before using them, which helps for those who want a fresh new look to the images they want to use. We have the normal option like editing the contrast, lighting, effect and the option to also add text. The streaming option is normally available at 9.99$ per month. Check us out and tell what you think of our site. Cheers! Irene

  124. Hey Neil,
    Thanks for the detailed guide, especially the image licensing explanations.

    I have a question about all the screenshots you take of other sites though. Do you get permission from those other sites to post screen captures of their content or images on your site?


  125. Hi Neil,
    Awesome post and yes again helpful to all specially Digital Marketers from Beginners to Expert Level. You summed up everything about Images in one article – Right from Available Online Image Source, Image Licensing basics, Credits for Licensed Images And Customizing Images using Canva!

    Keep Rocking, Really lot to learn from you – Your Loyal Follower :-).

    • Viren, thanks for all the support and I am glad you found the post so helpful.

      It’s important to be mindful of how and where your photos are coming from — Also, to make sure they are eye catching.

  126. Hi Neil,

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful article. I was actually planning to start my own blog, but was worried on how to get good images for them, so that they look good. You made job really easy. Thanks a lot again……:)

  127. Thank you for writing this article. It was so helpful. I feel freelancers owe you for information like this. Truly appreciate it.

  128. Hi Neil,
    excellent tips! 🙂
    I purchased a set of images and with an online editor, I’m making customized images for my blog posts.
    I like flat design, it’s really trending at the moment.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  129. Thanks. This is a great post. I’ll definitely be using some of these resources.

    • Sounds good Sasha, do let me know what you end up doing and how it works out. I love hearing success stories 🙂

  130. The best article of all the time. You summed up everything about “Images” in one article.
    I was searching for all this from days but couldn’t get any information, not even on Google, wikipedia. Thanks for sharing this :’)

    • You’re welcome Prince. Hopefully this will save you money and help you move faster with your marketing efforts

  131. Awesome article Neil… I need a help on one of my websites which is not the one which I entered here.. This is just for time pass… Hope you get in touch with me soon.. I have left my phone number and contact with you

  132. I recently used Corel Draw on creating images for my blog post. But since I read this, I would better change it. I want to use Canva. I like the result … OMG.. thanks a lot

  133. I just want to point out, that while copying copyrighted images onto your web is copyright infringement, referencing original location of image in HTML isn’t. Thus, you can embed any image you want into your blog, you just can’t copy it to your own servers.

  134. Sir Thanks a lot for sharing this article 😀

    • You’re welcome Ashish, happy I could help! Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with.

  135. Mohan Nayak :

    Hi Neil,
    Thanks for this excellent article.
    But I have one doubt, I hope you will clarify?
    Can I take and use a screenshot of any other blogs or can I use stats of others on my blog for reference as you do in If I do so? what have I to follow?

  136. Allen Thomas :

    Thank you Neil for sharing great tips.. It’s really easy way to describe here and simple way to understand it, I consider these tips and use it..

    • That’s great to hear Allen! If you have any questions about anything you learned, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  137. sharon Maddox :

    Thank you for this article, it is very informative, much more than expected,
    I will try now to create my first post image.
    Wish me luck…..

  138. Bonnie David :

    Love the post. So much value. Thanks for sharing awesome tips.

    Key takeaway: Image title and alt-text should be similar and include the keyword.

    An in-depth post on how to create custom images. You are a gem Neil.

    • It’s the little changes that collectively make the big changes in the whole picture. Happy I could help!

  139. Hey Neil, Nice explanatory post.
    I am new to blogging. Does Canva have arrows like you have used in these images for explaining purposes.

  140. Sohaib Khalid :

    Thanks Neil, this article really helped me for my blog, i have started getting help from pixabay.

  141. While Canva is simple, I prefer to use my time wisely. That means outsourcing. The amount of time I save using is priceless. All I have to do is give them the topic (usually the title of the article) and they provide me a great image. On Canva I can spend an hour trying to get the image to look the way I want. It’s just not worth it, even if it is cheap.

  142. Thanks Neil. A great article for newbies like me. I appreciate your way of explaining and easy tips to follow.

    • You’re welcome! If you get stuck or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask

  143. Thats a really great and useful article. Thanks!

  144. Bhupendra Sharma :

    You have mentioned some of very useful examples here. I have personally used Canava, but I feel their free options look annoying sometimes. Besides, I have a doubt. Just like you explained how to create custom images, please put a separate post about creating infographics without using Photoshop. Each time I design an infographic, I have to hire a designer. Is there a way through which I can do it myself?
    PS: I am not a designer.

  145. ashutosh mishra :

    find it learning for me!
    great efforts and research from your side

  146. This was one of the most helpful blog posts I’ve ever read. You answered all of the questions about images I was just about to spend hours figuring out on my own. thank you!

  147. Hey Neil,

    Amazing post and so complete! Do you think mentioning would be of value to your users? We offer a library of tens of thousands of illustrations, infographics elements etc for non-designers.



    • I forgot to mention that all graphics are obviously customizable, which is Canva’s big limit right now.

  148. Dilip Sharma :

    Well. As Always Your Post Is Awesome !

  149. Thanks for all the tips! I use Canva a lot and it is really good. Now, I am thinking of trying GIMP for more advanced techniques. Keep up the good work Neil! Your articles rock!

    • You’re welcome Maila, glad it helped!

      Let me know if you get stuck or have anything you need help clarification

  150. Ghaffar Khan :

    There are no “CHEAP” designers on freelancing platforms.. they r “Low Priced” designers

  151. Canva!
    I had been using Photoshop always for my image editing, this would be close to Photoshop now. Thanks for bringing this up Neil.

  152. Great post Neil, as always.
    Can I take photos from other blogs(Eg. Hubspot) that they made from their results or surveys and give a attribution link or simply a link to their post (like the photo in this blog post by authority hacker).

    • Glad this was helpful Raju. I would be careful about just taking pictures from others unless you’re crediting them.

  153. Hi, very informative article.
    Please also check out for thousands of unique public domain photos, all high-resolution and free to use for any purpose.We specialize in photos by location as we document cities, national parks, state parks, national landmarks, and more. We update with 20+ photos each week. Appreciate it if you could add us to your list of sites.

  154. Dilip Singh Chauhan :

    It’s nice information. I am use pixabay for my blog.

  155. Hey man !

    I am another aspirational SEO Pro.

    This article helped me a lot for sure.

    At the same time there is a correction in your article

    Under the section “v) Hire a “Cheap” Designer on Freelance Sites.” (You must hit Ctrl + F and paste the double quotes heading in the bar to find where it is)

    You have missed “a letter” “U” in the actual word “Guru”


  156. Very nice list! Another tool like these is They have free and cool flyers, A3 posters, A4 presentations and other templates.


  157. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit this impressive website. There is plenty of valuable info listed on this site. I have seen a lot of tricks. It is too much to absorb at once, thus I definitely will return to view more.I am so glad to have a chance to read your wonderful article. I am looking forward to read more of your works and posts.

    • Take it all step by step and make sure you action what you find useful. It is easy to get lost in reading online but actions get you the results.

  158. canvas is not a free tool. if anyone need a free one, then what you suggest?

  159. Useful articleI, thank you 🙂 If you are looking for free photos, try also

  160. what is the theme used on this website?