Placid Review: Automatically Generate WordPress and Social Media Images
Looking for a faster way to create unique social media images and featured images for your WordPress site? In our Placid review, we’ll show you how you can automatically create unique featured images and social share images just like the ones that we use at WPLift.
All you need to do is create a template. Then, Placid can help you dynamically populate that image with data from your WordPress site (or other sources, too).
Keep reading our hands-on Placid review to learn more about how it works and how it can save you a lot of time.
Placed Review: How It Helps You
In a nutshell, Placid helps you automatically create social share images and featured images for your WordPress site.
When you write a blog post, you typically want to create some type of unique image that you can use for the featured image, as well as for when people share your content on social media. On most sites, this includes the title of the post (or otherwise some information on what the post contains). We do this here at WPLift, which you can see if you head to our blog page.
These four images are what I’m talking about:
Creating these types of images is great for branding and helping your content stand out on social media. However, it’s also time-consuming because you have to manually create the image for each blog post.
That’s where Placid comes in. Placid gives you a way to create these types of images automatically.
You’ll get a cloud-based editor where you can create the template that you want to use for your blog/social media images. Then, Placid’s tools will dynamically use that template to generate images for your content.
If you’re using WordPress, Placid has a dedicated WordPress plugin. But Placid also works with other tools such as:
Placid also has both its own REST API and a URL API that you can use.
In total, Placid can help you create the following types of images:
- Featured images for blog posts
- Facebook feed images
- Twitter card images
- Twitter post images
- Pinterest pins
- LinkedIn feed images
- Instagram posts
- Instagram stories
- Open graph images
- …anything else really, because you can use custom dimensions and create multiple templates
Additionally, because it’s all automated, it’s easy to create multiple images for different networks. For example, taller images perform better on Pinterest, but it’s a pain to manually create a Pinterest image for each blog post. However, with Placid, you can easily do that without adding any extra work.
Placid vs Canva and Similar Tools
If you’re not familiar, Canva is a popular online graphic design tool. Since its growth, there has been an absolute explosion of similar services such as Crello, Stencil, DesignBold, and lots more.
That might have you wondering – what’s the difference between Placid and those other tools? If you’re already using Canva, is there any reason to switch to Placid?
Yes. While there are a lot of similarities between these tools, the key difference is automation.
With Placid, you only need to create a template one time. Then, Placid will automatically generate your images for each piece of content. While you can save templates with Canva to speed things up, you still need to manually fill out the template for each blog post.
Hands-On With Placid
Now, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how Placid works. Again, for this review, I’m focusing on the WordPress plugin. However, remember that Placid also integrates with other tools such as Zapier, Airtable, Ghost, and Webflow. Or, there’s also an API integration if needed.
The basic experience will be the same no matter which tool you’re using.
To get started, all you need to do is create a Placid account, which you can do for free for seven days with a free trial (more on pricing later).
1. Create a Project
Once you’ve registered for your Placid account, you can create a new project for your WordPress site (or whatever else you’re using).
Here, you can see all of the options:
2. Install the WordPress Plugin
Once you’ve created your project, Placid will give you an option to download the integration plugin.
To activate it, you just need to add your Placid license key. You can also configure a few other settings such as:
- The directory for images that Placid creates
- Whether or not to use Placid with any custom post types that you’re using on your site
3. Create Your Template(s)
Next, you need to create the template(s) that you want to use for your images. You can either do this from inside your WordPress dashboard or via the Placid website.
When you create a template, Placid will give you an option to choose from a few popular presets for social networks. Or, you can use your own custom image dimensions:
From there, Placid will display a bunch of pre-made templates for that type of image. Or, you can always choose to create your own template from scratch:
Your next stop is the visual template designer, which works just like any other photo editor. You can:
- use drag-and-drop to rearrange things
- add new content using the options in the top-left
- manage content in layers
- customize all the colors/fonts
The key difference here is that your content can have two sources:
- Dynamic content – pulled from your source content, like the title of a blog post.
- Static content – the same for every image, like your site’s URL or a watermark.
You’ll see this marked in the Layers list. Content with a “circle” can be dynamically edited via the API (AKA the WordPress plugin), while content without a circle is static. You can change this by clicking the pencil icon and marking an element as static or dynamic.
When you click on a layer in the Layers list, you’ll get additional settings. For example, if you’re editing text, you can:
- Choose fonts and sizes
- Change alignments
- Add transformations (e.g. ALL CAPS)
- Choose whether to enable Word-Break
- Set a default text
4. Map WordPress Content to Your Template
Once you’ve created your template, you’re ready to map your WordPress content to the dynamic fields in your template.
To do this, go to the Placid Images tab in your WordPress dashboard. Then, choose the type of image you want to assign.
For example, if you created an Open Graph image template, you would go to the OG Images tab.
First, check the box to Set Open Graph Image with Placid. Then, you can assign your Placid template(s) to different types of content, which is nice. For example, you can use different templates for posts vs pages. Or, you can just set one default template for everything.
Once you choose a template, you’ll get a drop-down for each piece of dynamic content that lets you choose where to pull the content from:
For example, if you’re populating an image, you can pull it from:
- An image that you manually upload.
- The assigned featured image
- A screenshot of a URL
For dynamic text, you’ll get options like:
- Page title
- Page description
- Page category
- Blog name
- Custom text
You can repeat the process for additional types of images – e.g. Twitter and Pinterest images.
5. Create Content (and Manually Adjust Images If Needed)
At this point, you’re pretty much done. When you publish or edit the content on your site, you’ll get a new Placid Social Images meta box that performs two important actions:
- It lets you preview how your finished image will look based on the content in your piece of content.
- It lets you manually override to choose different templates for individual pieces of content.
Here, you can see the preview – notice how Placid automatically pulls in the featured image from WordPress, as well as the URL of my site and the title of the blog post:
If you check the Set different Image Template box, you’ll be able to choose a different template and/or override all of the content mapping choices:
For example, if your post’s title is too long for the image, you could override it to enter a shortened version.
What About WordPress Featured Images?
There are two ways that you can use Placid to create WordPress featured images.
First, if the dimensions match, you can use one of the existing social media images because you have the option to save them to your Media Library.
- Generate the image from inside the editor using Placid.
- Save it to your Media Library.
- Manually set it as your featured image.
It’s not 100% hands-off, but it’s still pretty simple and only takes a few clicks.
For example, after clicking the button to save the image to the Media Library, I can just pop over to the featured image section to update it to use my image:
Another option is Placid’s Assets tool, which you can access from Placid Images → Assets. Assets let you create templates for generic uses outside of social media. The basic process is the same – you create a template and map it to your content.
Once you do that, you get a new Assets tab in the meta box from which you can view your assets, download them to your computer, or save them to your Media Library. If you save them to your Media Library, you could then add them as your featured image:
6. Bulk Generate Old Images
If you’re installing Placid on an existing WordPress site, the plugin also includes a tool to go back and bulk regenerate old images from the Created Images tab:
Placid is a paid tool – plans start at $19 per month:
You can try it out with a free trial, though.
Placid Review Summary
All in all, Placid is a really useful tool for automating how you create social media and featured images on your WordPress site.
Being able to automate this time-consuming process is a life-saver, especially if you publish a lot of blog posts.
The one thing I’d love to see is a dedicated feature for handling featured images, rather than needing to use the workarounds that I showed you. Still, even with the workarounds, it’s much faster than creating them manually, so this definitely isn’t a dealbreaker.
All in all, a really useful tool for any blogger who wants to speed up their workflows.
If you want to get started, click here to go to Placid.