5 Graphic Tools To Enhance Your Blog Posts

They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but a great photo, one that’s special and unique, is worth a thousand page views, perhaps more.

Often bloggers are operating on a limited budget and even more limited time and as result tend to rely on stock photos and curated visual content.  It’s not necessarily very exciting and it’s not uniquely you, but it gets the job done for the most part.  Is just getting the job done enough?  Does it really communicate the message you want to send about your brand and voice?  While your audience isn’t thinking poorly of you for using stock photos, rest assured, they’re not blown away either.  A lack of impression becomes an impression you don’t want and can’t afford.

The Undeniable Facts about the Use of Images

If you’re wondering if you really should take the little bit of time required to download and begin using graphic image tools, here’s some statistics that might help convince you why the images you use matter:

• The adoption of infographics in marketing increased in the last year from 9% to 52%.
• 70% of marketers said they planned to increase the use of visual content in 2015.
• The use of images and photos were the most important tactic in optimizing social media posts.
• A Stanford University study revealed that 46.1% of more than 2,500 people surveyed said visual design is the top criteria for deciding a website’s credibility.
• Research from Skyword found content with compelling images received 94% more views than content without images.

A little time invested in creating just the right image can have a big impact.  Nelson Norman Groups conducted an eye-tracking study and determined that using detailed photos had far more influence than using generic stock images.

Dress to Impress

Creating visual content can be very time intensive, and you may not feel that you have the time to spare.  Much of what you spend your time on is probably the written content, and stock images are downloaded and inserted as a means to break up the text and add visual interest to the page.  Not a lot of thought goes into, and nothing unique is created.  The final product doesn’t pop, and it hurts your metrics.  It’s time for your blog to dress to impress.  It’s time to invest in custom images.

Easy Tools for Unique, High Quality Images

Bottom line – you’re more of a marketer and less of a graphic designer or techie.  You put your blood, sweat and tears into writing the perfect blog post, there’s little energy left for manipulating vector images in Photoshop.  There are many tools available ideally suited to meet the unique needs of content marketers.  Every tool suggested here is easy to use by design, simple to navigate and will produce the high quality images you crave in minutes.  

Canva
Priced to suit any budget at the very affordable price of FREE, Canva is rapidly growing in popularity and is one of the most effective ways for content creators to look like they possess a magical set of advanced graphic design skills.  It’s as simple as selecting your image dimensions, choosing a blank canvas or a preset design template, quickly customize, and viola!  You’ll have professional and dynamic images as high in quality as the content you created in a labor of love.  There’s an extensive library of free options, use your own photos, or select from Canva’s very inexpensive visual elements. 
(https://www.canva.com/)

Skitch
Skitch is an ideal solution for when you want to add a little bit of detail to a photo.  Transform simple and basic screen caps into a useful tutorial with easy arrows and text captions.  Skitch is an Evernote app that allows you to easily transform images on a mobile device.  You can’t do complex, multidimensional photo editing or create infographics with Skitch, but it does what it is designed to do quickly and extremely well.  It is a must-have in every content creator’s toolkit.
(https://evernote.com/skitch/)

PlaceIt
If you’re a technology marketer, meet your new bestie, PlaceIt.  In under a minute, you can drag and drop a picture from a website or product onto one of PlaceIt’s stock images of a computer screen or mobile device, and the finished product will be a professional quality image that will rival the work of the best graphic designer.  The ease of use of PlaceIt, with its drag and drop functionality, is second to none. 
(https://placeit.net/)

ImageWell
Looking for a tool that is straightforward, runs lean and will even work without an internet connection?  Check out ImageWell.  Running on Mac, ImageWell excels at resizing, adding borders, and placement of branded watermarks.  This tool is a favorite of some blogging heavy hitters, including Darren Rowse.
(http://www.xtralean.com/IWManual3/)

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