There was a recent product launch for the product called CanvaKala. This plug-in for WordPress is touted as being Photoshop for WordPress. By shedding a negative light on this plug-in and calling it the CanvaKala plug-in scam, I will be forgoing any hope of financial gain via their affiliate program. What this means is that you will get an unbiased and honest opinion of this plug-in.
As I am familiar with Photoshop and Gimp, (both powerful image editing software) I wanted to have a look at this program and see if it met muster. Does it have all the features of Photoshop, and will it have the power necessary to replace Photoshop inside WordPress?
It appears, at first blush, that this is a program that will allow you the ability to edit your images without ever leaving WordPress. There is even a feature to allow you to import images that profess to be copyright free. As I got into the meat and potatoes of the software, it does have some powerful features. It has some serious drawbacks as well.
In this CanvaKala review, I’ll take a look at some of the features, some of the drawbacks, and the one major problem that I see with the plug-in.
The Sales Team
First, let’s look at who the principals are that are selling CanvaKala. They are listed as Jai Sharma, Raul Mellado, and Ankur Shukla. So the first thing I did was check for Jai Sharma on Google. According to Wikipedia, this is a fictitious character from a British soap opera. Okay, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and looked up the name on Facebook. This indicates that he selling a paid traffic report promotes warrior special offers and products through JV Zoo. Sounds like a serial entrepreneur to me. This doesn’t instill me with confidence that he will be around to support this product once the launch is complete.
Next we have Raul Mellado. Raul has a profile on JV zoo as well, that is to be expected as this product is being promoted through JV zoo. It appears that his last product was WP beautify Pro. Okay, so he’s consistent with his products, both appear to be image products that are plug-ins that work with WordPress. So I guess the previous product didn’t go over too well, and now he moved on to the next. From Facebook Raul appears to hail from Campo de Criptana, Spain. It appears that Raul uses his Facebook posts not to market, but to share his world. It also appears that he is recently returned from a trip to Angkor Wat and China. Guess that previous launch went over quite well.
Finally, we have Ankur Shukla. Ankur hails from a Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh in India. On Facebook, he appears on to be all about the money. He also has a prominent JV zoo presence as would be expected from a product launch on JV zoo using affiliates to get the word out.
The first problem I have with CanvaKala is the name. Apparently they are trying to capitalize on the power of Canva. Canva is a well-developed stand alone product that enables you to create images that are well optimized. Canva does everything right, this product is a pale shadow of what is available in Canva.(Find Canva in the Tools Menu)
Part of a good product review is actually having a look at the product. In this case, at first look, CanvaKala appears to be a fairly good product. It’s installed as any WordPress plug-in. You download the zip file and install the plug-in. It adds a new box next to your media box above the WordPress editor that allows you quick access. You can pull in images from Flickr, Pixabay, Openclipart, Europeana and Instagram. There is a filter that allows you to use pictures with attributions or those that require no attribution. I would have to do more research to find out if the filter works correctly. This is one of my major concerns. Your site can be taken down and you can be involved with lawsuits if you use copyrighted images. I’d hate to find out that the filter didn’t work, and, as a result, my site is riddled with copyrighted images.
You can add special effects, add text and layers as with Photoshop(layers is the only thing in common with Photoshop). The tools are rudimentary at best, but they will allow you to put together a quick promotional image. This product has nowhere near the features or power of Photoshop. The comparison to Photoshop in the sales literature is a ridiculous claim. I find that I get everything I need from Pic Monkey with the added benefit that images are optimized for the web. I don’t see image optimization happening inside the software.
Up-Sells and Down-Sells
As with many, let me say all, JV zoo products that are marketed through this sort of funnel, you will find that there are up sells. They want to push you into a Pro package that gives you some additional branding features. There is also a developer license available so you can sell this product on client sites. Finally, there is an “epic bundle” that are additional plug-ins used for promoting images to Pinterest twitter and YouTube. These are typical low value up sells and down sells to get you to spend more money with them.
The Bottom Line
I am always dubious about any product that is marketed in this fashion. The guys selling this product all seem to be serial entrepreneurs. This would indicate that while the product might be moderately useful, it was developed to make these guys cash. They are not overly concerned with how well it works. It is the minimum viable product that they can get away with selling online. Support will be nonexistent.
Images are one of the sticking points for people. It pays to take some time and learn about images, how to create them and how to present them to your audience. Taking shortcuts with your images will lead to problems in the long run. WordPress will slow down to a crawl if your images are not optimized for file size. Photoshop and Gimp provide this as a feature. Your images are saved in a web friendly size that will load quickly and keep your site running well.
Adding additional plug-ins that are not optimized will also slow down your website. Making sure that your site runs quickly and efficiently is one of the criteria that the search engines use to boost your rankings. Additional overhead such as with this plug-in will slow down your site and will hurt your ranking power.
Overall ranking 6/10
I have included a video in the video tutorials area of this site that goes into images in depth. In it, I have recommendations for software to use that will provide you the same functionality of this plug-in external to WordPress. I see no reason to install this plug-in as tools are available that will do a much better job without worrying about the overhead that this plug-in requires.
If you are serious about creating a website that will rank well and provide your viewers with a good experience, then I recommend that you join the membership over at Wealthy Affiliate. There is extensive training on how to create a website that will rank. There are many tutorials from both the owners of the site and members of the site that teach you how to create images that will give your readers the urge to read your content and click through to your offers.
Do yourself a favor, avoid this plug-in.
Learn to optimize your images and use one of the tools that are already available for free on the web to do your images right.