Never has there been a better time to make your blog more visually appealing. We have apps, stock image sites, clipart sites, plugins, programs and software—all designed to make visual image creation easier and more dynamic than ever before. Let’s start with what may well be the most popular graphics creation tool on the net, and progress to lesser-known resources that will rock your world.
It seems like almost everybody who is anybody on the net these days is using Canva. There are three huge benefits that have contributed to its meteoric rise: Ease-of-use, professional-quality templates and perfect pre-sizing. All you have to do is click on a template for the type of media you want, select a background (colors, gradients or a background image), select your fonts, and type in your text.
One caveat: Canva does provide images in/for templates, but many are paid templates, and you can run into copyright issues with others. Instead, for backgrounds and images, search your own favorite stock image site or browse and upload your own photographs. Free—but you can upgrade to Canva for Work for only $12.95 per month ($9.95 if you pay annually).
Bigstock is an image company. You are required to credit images. Bigstockphoto does require their photographers to submit model releases.
With their smallest plan—$79 per month—you can download 5 images per day, up to 150 images monthly—and you get one free image per month (a great deal for those who handle graphics-heavy or multiple blogs).
Pixabay is a royalty-free site that allows commercial as well as personal use. High quality, but does not require model releases from their photographers.
One of the most reliable stock image sites, Shutterstock goes beyond photos, vectors and videos to also supply music clips, illustrations, icons and video footage. Requires model releases from contributing photographers and accreditation from user.
Plans start from as low as $29 US for two images through several different plans to 750 images per month in their “Team” plan for four users or more ($499 per month).
If you plan to make regular infographics, you may prefer Easel.ly as your graphics tool of choice. Easel.ly has thousands of templates to choose from … and it’s free to sign up.
To make a collage for your blog, drastically cut creation time by using PicMonkey’s collage creation tool. Add text, choose templates, and use a customizable grid layout— PicMonkey makes it easy to come up with well-designed and eye-catching collages easily and quickly.
It also offers a Facebook Cover Maker feature, so you can assemble a custom collage Facebook cover photo—and you can edit each collage cell individually, if you prefer. And PicMonkey also has many similar features and templates to Canva and other graphics tool sites.
PicMonkey is not free, but prices are a steal. Choose from either $3.58 per month, billed annually, or $6.99 per month, billed monthly.
This monthly content and graphics club is another great source of images, graphics information, pre-written blog posts, social blurbs, eCover and Opt in Graphic (with .PSD files you can edit), infographics, image quotes, hand-doodled frames, coloring pages, and “3 Autoresponders, Ready to Load Up”. Monthly instruction and tutorials—and all originally created content you won’t find anywhere else.
(Formerly Kelly McCausey’s “Image Monthly” Membership club.) $27 per month (or purchase a “Graphics Only” pack).
App that allows you to quickly combine different types of media—photos, music, .GIFs, and videos—into your own unique video presentation.
You can get it on Google Play, download it from Windows or find it on the Apple app store. (Links to these three platforms at Mixcord.)
If you post a lot of photos directly from your iPhone, use Apple’s “Quick” app to add text.
Another essential iTunes app, if you prefer posting photos directly from your phone. Snapseed allows you to photo-edit as if you were using a top editing suite like Adobe Photoshop. Offers 24 filters, including a healing tool, brush tool, lens blur, perspective and many more professional effects.
If you can use apps and software-as-services like Canva and PicMonkey, you can easily use Moovly. Allows you to make animated videos and presentations, increasing the interactive feel of your tutorials and teachings—as well as entertaining your viewers.
There’s a good variety of templates and styles—even a “Doodle Marker” style to help you create dynamic whiteboard presentations.
Moovly offers not only a permanently free plan, but also a Plus, Pro and Business plan. Paid plans start at $9.95 per month. The free plan will put a Moovly watermark and outro on your video—but one of its little-known perks is that you can download your video in HD format without the watermark and outro on a pay per video basis for less than $15 (depending which options you choose).
A more expensive alternative to Moovly. It does have a free plan, but that allows no downloads.
At time of writing, PowToon is offering a special price of $19 per month (billed annually) for its Pro plan.
Image quote generator not only provides templates, but also helps you select a quote on any topic. Lightning fast! (You’ll have a quote made and downloaded in seconds.)
Free … but it does include accreditation to Recite.com at the bottom of the quote.
Fast, easy, full-featured image editor for Mac computers. Outguns Photoshop in every way except one—no Bezier-curve pen tool. Makes up for that, however, with all its other features, which are so easy to implement, Pixelmator makes Adobe Photoshop seem awkward, slow and klutzy.
The price outguns Photoshop too: $29.99 at the App store.
At first glance, a marketing promo creator tool app like Wishpond might not seem to have a lot to do with creating visuals, but you can do this with a few clicks if you want to make visually powerful landing pages, popups, photo contests, Pinterest contests, video contests and more.
People like novelty. If you have an Instagram account, try sharing a time-lapse selfie you create using the Hyperlapse app.
If you edit and create videos with iMovie, follow Shutterstock’s handy instructions for adding a soundtrack to your video.
A crash course in designing a powerful logo to enhance all your branding in the form of ten of the best YouTube videos. Powerful!
If your audience members are big video watchers, tell them about Enounce. If they install it on their computers, they will be able to slow down or speed up videos (just like one can do on Udemy). If someone learns best by video, this information can be priceless—and Enounce has a generous affiliate program.
A brand new suite for creating infographics, videos, slideshows, presentations and more. Currently in beta. Big advantage: “Create once. Present anywhere” at the click of a button. Highly interactive—you can “Animate any object, add links and pop-ups and transitions” … and embed your project creations on your blog.
You can sign up for a free account, but you will probably want to invest in either the Standard at $7 per month or Complete at $16 per month if you pay annually (monthly is an option too—and team plans are also available.)
WordPress plugins can be another great way to enhance the visuals on your blog. Install this plugin to add a Facebook “Like” button to every post (or wherever you wish) as they are reading it.
Plugin automatically finds the first video embedded and retrieves a thumbnail from it. You can save these thumbnails to your media library “and set as a featured image automatically”. (There’s a Pro version too.)
Learn to use this Twitter feature that not only displays a summary of your post, but also takes people instantly to your blog when they click on your photo.
The official Twitter Developers’ section assumes a level of proficiency, but if you are a complete noob at setting up features like this, check out Buffer Social’s The Everything Guide to Twitter Cards: How to Choose, Set Up, Measure Them and More or Sprout Social’s Twitter Cards: Everything you Need to Know.
According to Buzzsumo, Using Large Summary Cards on Twitter provide a “300% engagement” rise. They’re well worth getting to know—and use.
As you can see, there is no shortage in apps, SaaS suites and programs, social tools and other resources to help you get the most out of visual engagement with your blog.
Put them to use for your blog—starting today.
The Million Dollar Blogging Mastery Program can take YOU from a fresh start all the way through the advanced techniques that professional bloggers use. Everything you’ll need to know to make the most from your blog is included. If you’d like to learn more about creating an income with your own blog, consider our Million Dollar Blogger series which is a part of our Million Dollar Marketer program linked below.
Margery Hinman, Ph.D., is founder of Million Dollar Marketer, a membership program combining a collection of online tutorial, resources, and strategies for the rising online entrepreneur. Our Email Marketing Mastery course is just one of 20 different digital marketing courses that can help you achieve your online goals for 2017 and help you on your way to a great income in your own online business. Visit us today! https://www.MillionDollarMarketer.org
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