Many of you have writing blogs of your own and spend a good chunk of time trying to make it attractive. You read about the importance of having images to enhance your blog posts, yet you’re challenged when it comes to gathering or creating images.
You don’t have to be a trained graphic artist or photographer to enjoy great images on your blog. There are plenty of tools available for writers to use and they don’t cost a dime. Here are the three I use most often.
Microsoft Office Image Gallery
If you don’t see an image credit on this blog, then you’ll know that I found it in the Microsoft Office image gallery. There you’ll find thousands of images that are royalty free and there’s no need to attach a credit. I have a link to the site on my Writer’s Toolbox page. Besides photos, the gallery includes backgrounds and a variety of designs. I created this post’s title graphic using a gallery image. I added text by using Pixlr, the free, online photo editor.
Do you know that you have a handy tool right at your computer keyboard that will create images for you?
It’s the Screen Capture function.
Available on both PC (Print-Screen) and Mac (Command-Shift-4), the screen capture function will take a picture of what you see on your screen. For example, I’m writing a post about my Facebook experience. Here’s a screen shot I captured from the log-in screen:
But I could also have captured only this portion:
Using a Mac, when you follow the key sequence, a cross-hair cursor appears. Drag the cursor around the section you want to capture. The image is saved to your desktop as a PNG image and you can use it as you would any other graphic. (Note: I added borders to the images above using the image editor within my WordPress app.)
If you use a PC, then Print-Screen is a key on your keyboard. It captures the entire window and saves it to your clipboard. You will need to crop it using a photo editor to get the portion you’d like to save.
I used a screen shot in my post where I share my word count planner. You could use the tool to show a portion of a story you’re writing in Scrivener or to give your readers a look at your Goodreads bookshelf. Remember to give credit to these websites when you use their screens by either linking the image back to the website or including the link in your post.
Use Your Own Photos
Is photography one of your hobbies? Then use your own photos to grace your website. For my Writing Quotes for the Week posts, I often use my own photos and add text to them using Photoshop or Pixlr. Here’s an image I created using one of my photos:
With a basic point-and-click camera, you can shoot images and use them to complement posts, sidebar entries, your banner, or anything else that comes to your creative mind.
In addition to posting these images on your site, you can add them to your Pinterest boards, which can bring traffic to your site. I add all of my writing quotes and many of my photographs as originals to my Pinterest boards.
Easy, right? There’s no need to purchase stock images when you have tools like Microsoft Office, screen capture, and your trusty digital camera. The tools are free and easy, and give your readers another reason to enjoy your blog.
What tools do you use to enhance your blog with images?