There is always the struggle with design: you can see an idea in your head, but it’s hard to make that vision come to life.
One of the quickest ways to improve the visual wow factor of your blog is to create graphics for your posts or sidebar that get noticed.
This is where most of us get stuck, wanting to create something that looks great and knowing it would make a difference for reader experience but not knowing what to do next.
Creating a great image used to be reserved for those among us that had (and knew how to use) Photoshop but not anymore. With a little practice and the right free tools, you can bring your blog posts and content to life.
3 Free Tools to Create Blog Graphics
What I love about Canva is that they took the idea of an online image editor and injected some build in graphic design help to guide even the most graphically impaired bloggers. Just as the tagline suggests it is “amazingly simple graphic design for blogs.”
You start the design process picking from a list of different design types. You can pick from all the major social networks, right down to a whole section of layouts called “blog graphics.” These layouts can really help you start with a great base and then add your own style and voice instead of staring at a blank canvas not knowing where to begin.
When you create content (and the associated images) as much as bloggers do, it’s really nice to have a shortcut to product great images quickly.
Below are 3 examples of the many Canva templates you can load and edit. You can change virtually everything,:text, images and icons in a few easy clicks and have them up on your blog in no time.
Canva is free to use with paid upgrades should you want to use stock photography or other “premium” options. With all the free blog images you can use from other sites you can really get a lot out of Canva free of charge.
PRO: The free templates help anyone pull off a gorgeous graphic.
CON: Interface can be a bit clunky and hard to figure out at first.
The second option we’re going to look at for free editing is PicMonkey. For ease of use, PicMonkey has always been one of my favorites. Even if you’ve never added text to an image in your life, the program makes it pretty easy to figure out.
PicMonkey really excels at photo enhancement. You know when you just need to lighten up an image, change it to black and white or add a vignette? PicMonkey does it all. You can even apply a full face of makeup with their touch up enhancements, apply Instagram like filters or add frames, texture overlays and more.
Learning to use a program like photoshop to finely edit photos, especially of people, is an art form and it takes years of practice to make it look natural. PicMonkey lets you do all the basics, and more, without any prior photo editing knowledge. That’s a pretty powerful tool!
PicMonkey is free to use but does have a premium upgrade to access all of it’s features. Currently you can pay $33 a year or $4.99 per month for the upgrade.
PRO: This program makes editing and enhancing photos super easy. You can correct exposure, touch up blemishes, rotate, sharpen, you name it!
CON: For more advanced layouts and fancier blog graphics there aren’t any pre-made templates to use but you can check out their blog for inspirational ideas.
BeFunky calls itself the photo editor for everyday people and like PicMonkey, that’s definitely what it does best. With touch up options, filters, borders and shapes, it’s easy to pop in a photo and add a ka-pow to a misty field.
One the my favorite features of BeFunky is that it is the only free image editor I’ve found that lets you use your own fonts. This is great if your blog header is an unusual font that isn’t normally in the selections for programs like PicMonkey and you’re looking to create some consistent branding.
There’s also nothing stopping your from creating a blog header in one of these programs either. If you do want to use a different font BeFunky would make that possible.
Although the majority of the software is free to use, BeFunky does have locked premium features which you can access for $4.95 per month or $24.95 per year.
PRO: Easy to use interface, mobile app for both iPhone and Android for on the go edits and great Pinterest collage grids to help you stand out.
CON: You need to bring your own creativity to the table with limited template options but if you can imagine it yourself, you can make it happen with all the options.
1. Share as Image: Great little Chrome extension that lets you right click on any image and edit it on the fly with text etc. for easy social media sharing.
Question: What image editor do you use for your blog graphics?