Having a website or blog isn’t just about the words on the page, but making it look visually appealing, too. First impressions really are the most important, especially for a stranger or new site visitor that’s checking you out for the first time on your website, blog or social media accounts. People often make split-second decisions on if they will like your brand or not solely based on how you “look” in the online world.
A big problem for online brands and bloggers is creating graphics yourself (I’ve been there and I’m still struggling with this), since outsourcing for graphic design doesn’t just cost money, but it also means relying on someone else to do the work on their schedule (it’s very difficult to get a graphic done in the next hour if you don’t do it yourself or have an employee who works for you). So DIY graphic design is especially important for startups and new blogs.
Here’s my top 3 tools to use if you can’t outsource your graphic design needs or you need graphics done ASAP, but you’re actually not a pro graphic designer yourself. They are all very easy to use, and I use these tools together to create graphics across all my various sites.
Canva is a free tool that you can use if you don’t know how to use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to create graphics such as social media posts, quotes, headline titles, banner ads, Facebook page covers, logos and more. Canva has pre-built templates that are, literally drag and drop (some free templates, while others are paid templates for as low as $1). Canva also has text templates for beautiful typography as well. If you need to re-size a photo to use for a particular element on a website (as some website backends require certain photo dimensions for various elements), you can simply create a Custom Dimension inside Canva, and upload your photo onto their website and the photo will resize itself automatically. Canva has an optional Pro/Work account that I haven’t subscribed to yet, which has other exclusive tools and features for those that need powerful design work.
Creative Market is a tool used by many professional graphic designers and photographers, as it’s an all-in-one store where you can purchase almost every graphic element or photo you need. From beautiful stock images and calligraphy fonts to watercolor illustrations or business card templates, Creative Market is a one-stop-shop for all of your design needs. I’ve built my websites using elements almost exclusively bought from Creative Market, and the prices are extremely reasonable even if you’re designing on the cheap. Their selection is absolutely gorgeous and is my top pick over any other font, graphics/illustrations or stock image website out there.
Keynote for Apple
If you’re looking to create e-books, PDF guides or lead magnet downloads, Keynote (or Powerpoint) is the easiest drag and drop program to use. You can literally buy an image from Creative Market, and drag-and-drop the image from your desktop onto a Keynote slide, and then lay text over it, and you’ve got the skeleton for your digital download. You can also create multi-page documents very easily (such as for e-books), and then save as a PDF (File -> Print -> PDF -> “Save as PDF”). I create my lead magnet downloads, as well as the lessons inside online courses using Keynote.