Content creation is a never-ending part of content marketing, and creating or finding compelling graphics can be a full-time job. Visuals can virtually make or break your presence on social media alone: photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more clicks than the posts without. In order to create the best graphics, you need to find tools and resources that will help you without breaking the bank. There will inevitably be some occasions where you cannot avoid paying for the tools you need, but in many occasions, you can create spectacular and professional-looking visual content with a free (or relatively inexpensive) resource.
Easel.ly helps you create infographics either by starting from scratch, or by using one of their pre-made templates called "Vhemes." In the creation section, you have the option to clear the board or edit the elements already there. Options include: changing to a new Vheme, changing the background, adding shapes, text, and objects, or uploading images of your own. The object selection includes a useful range of icon choices designed for creating most charts.
Piktochart is similar to easel.ly in that it is designed to create infographics, graphs, and charts. Piktochart is specially set up to give non-designers an intuitive way to create polished, professional-looking graphics. The free service gives you a good selection of templates and objects to choose from, with new templates being added continually. If you want to upgrade to a pro account, you will have access to the entire catalog of icons and templates, and will be able to remove the Piktochart watermark that is standard with the free account.
Awesome Screenshot is a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that allows you quickly to create a screenshot of anything on the web and edit it directly within your browser. Awesome Screenshot has options to capture the visible part of a screen, capture any region, capture the whole page or crop any portion. Images can then be downloaded or shared directly onto social media platforms.
Placeit is a free web tool that allows you to place quality web screenshots quickly on images of devices in realistic environments. If you want a photo of your website, blog, or Facebook profile as it appears on a computer, laptop or mobile device, then this is the app for you. Use Placeit to upload photos directly into Creative Commons-enabled stock photos, and you will see your screenshots instantly come to life.
Compfight is a web service that will quickly search Flickr for Creative Commons-licensed photos using a simple search interface. Find photos by entering text or tags, and Compfight provides thumbnails of the images you can choose. You can sort for “Any License”, “Creative Commons” or “Commercial licenses". Compfight will automatically generate HTML code that you can embed in your website so as to properly credit the original author. They also offer WordPress users a plug-in that will search for images directly from the “New Post” screen.
Pixabay is another wonderful site for finding quality Creative Commons-licensed images. The service is free, and registration is not necessary to download images. Images can be searched by name and then filtered by orientation (landscape or portrait) and the image type (photo, clipart, or vector). Keep in mind that the first row of results will always be “Sponsored Images” from Shutterstock - these images are not free.
Need to jazz up your images, but don’t want to download yet another program? With PicMonkey, you can recolor images, add borders, add text, and add shapes on top of an image. The collage making feature can be used to add some fun to blog images, or as quick and easy tool for making mood and inspiration boards.
Canva offers a broad range of templates predesigned for social media, marketing materials, ads, blogging and documents in standard sizes, or you can also start with a custom-sized blank canvas. Canva has intuitive controls such as drag-and-drop, so adding, removing, and changing elements on your canvas is easy for non-designers.