In the last post I shared with you five VERY important reasons why you should always include images in your blogposts and social media posts, and information on what kind of images you could use and where to find images.
Now when it comes to creating your own, you can
- Pay a graphic designer
- Task it to your 13 year old artistic daughter
- Take your own photos and upload them as is
Use any number of great tools to crop, enhance colours, create special effects, add text, or to create your own infographics. The best tools are those used by the professionals – like Photoshop and Illustrator.
. . . but for the rest of us, there’s a number of tools you may already have or freebies you can use to make the job easier.
6 Great Tools
This is a great online tool where you can quickly upload an image and spruce it up a bit. You can recolour it, add borders, add text, and even insert graphics on top -- all without downloading yet another program to your computer.
I uploaded this HELP image on the left, had a play, added some text and a little heart, and produced an image which looks like he’s been burning the midnight oil doing paperwork. It tells a different story. This could be used in a blogpost or social media post or as an image on testimonials page of a bookkeeper's website. It took 5 minutes! Check out PicMonkey.
One of the newest cool tools in the marketplace, this fantastic free online tool is pretty damn clever.
You can choose from their ready made templates for social media, blog graphics, posters, presentations, pinterest, docs etc and customise colours, text, call outs. You can even upload your own. See here I added an image of a friendly little cockateil who landed on our back deck, and added a call out text box. This was then used to illustrate my Facebook post on getting new clients. This took 2 minutes!
Canva also comes with a huge range of readymade templates and images that you can purchase as you go – and they’re only $1 each.
Sometimes the quickest way to create an image is to take a screenshot of what you have up on your computer. But taking screenshots can be tricky if you don't have the right tool. Often, you can only capture what is visible on your screen -- making screenshots of long web pages especially hard. Or, you have to use 10 different programs to crop, edit, and annotate screenshots. Well, with Awesome Screenshot, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome, you can easily screenshot anything on the web and edit it directly within your browser.
Sometimes you might want to create a visual image of your website (or a client’s website or twitter profile or blog) to see what it looks like on the big screen and mobile device screens. With Placeit, you can upload photos directly or it will go off and take a screenshot of the URL you enter and add it to the screens. This image below shows the responsive website we created for a client. This image accurately shows how it appears on the big screen and how it adjusts automatically on the mobile phone screen.
If you're looking to make infographics -- not just plain visuals -- check out this free tool. Easily add graphs, maps, text, and even playable videos without diving deep into a design program. It also has social sharing tools built right into the infographic, so you don't have to worry about creating a custom Pin-It button. The downside is it doesn’t publish your infographic on your timeline – just adds a link to it. If you want to download and save your new infographic, you need to be a paying member.
Trusty old Microsoft powerpoint (or Keynote for Macs) is also a handy tool for quickly adding text to images or creating simple diagrams. There’s even a bunch of pre-loaded templates you can use and adapt. This one below took about 1 minute to create!
Of course the secret to using any of these tools is discipline. Resist the temptation to spend hours and hours creating fabulous images. Images are important for creating great blogposts and social media posts - yes. But if it takes you any longer than a few minutes to create an image - and you keep doing it, you are probably skiving off from doing the things which make you money.