Adding pictures and graphics to your blog posts is an easy way to enhance your message. Using a Creative Commons picture or stock photo is common, but creating a custom graphic is unique. Not only do custom graphics help you craft the perfect complement to your text and improve “linkability,” but you’ll never get caught in that group of “people-who-all-used-the-same-stock-photo.”
What if you don’t have the time or ability to create professional-looking custom graphics? I once spent hours on a custom graphic that ended up looking like tie-dye horse crap. I know I’m not the only one.
Fortunately, rather than give up or labor through making your own custom blog graphics, you’ve got other options. There are a lot of websites where you can easily create custom graphics for your blog posts without needing any design skills. I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites.
Charts & Graphs
GraphJam – From the people who brought you LOLcats, GraphJam typically provides some pretty hilarious graph humor, but its “Build Graph” function is awesome for custom pie charts, Venn diagrams, etc. Sure, you could do the same things in Excel and have it look nicer, but what makes GraphJam awesome is that you don’t need a data source to create the graph. Say you just want an exponentially increasing line graph to illustrate a point, just click-and-drag until it looks the way you want, label it, and you’re done.
A lot of generator sites allow you to create a custom graphic using your own text juxtaposed on a preexisting picture. Some of them are quite good and can really make you look awesome without doing anything. A lot of them are pretty cheesy. Ultimately, they save a lot of time for the non-designer.
SignGenerator.org has hundreds of different sign and graphic generators and half of them look pretty decent. The other half are bad enough to be funny and effective. See also SignGeneratorMaker.com.
123pimpin.com has a fair amount of quality generators organized by theme.
AddLetters.com has fewer generator resources, but some are fantastic.
VeryCoolWriting.com offers a basic text generator with options for customization. While simple, sometimes all you need is text in graphic form to do something that normal content can’t provide.
FamousDefaces is a great way to add a caption to a celebrity or historical figure. Sometimes you just need someone like Elvis to drive your point home.
There are obviously some drawbacks to using these sites to make visuals for blog posts, but there’s no easier way to create a decent blog graphic. (And this lets you to use puns to your heart’s content).
Scott Cowley is an SEO Manager at SEO.com, a search engine marketing company. He also writes about 21st century marketing at Scottergories.com. Follow Scott on Twitter @scottcowley.