With the tools and services I outline in this blog post, you can easily add stunning visuals to your web pages or blog posts. The best part – most of the tools and services are free or very cheap considering what they offer.
Read on and learn how to spice up your website and blog with high-quality images and movies!
Get Free Stock Photos
Since you are not allowed to Google up any nice photo and use it on your website; you pretty much have three options; take the photos yourself, purchase them from a commercial image database like Shutterstock, or download them legally from a free photo database.
I prefer the latter, but up till recently, it has been a bit inconvenient as most free image databases contain a relatively poor selection of photos, and require attribution. While I don’t mind giving attribution (credit should go where it belongs), it is quite a bit of extra work to add it if done often.
I thus like Pixabay a lot; they have almost one million high-quality photos that can be used for free, without attribution, also for commercial use. If you want to spice up your website or blog with some high-quality photos, I can highly recommend Pixabay.
For basic image editing, like adding a text to a photo, you can use the Canva image editing service. It is a free cloud service that contains an astonishingly large selection of templates and functionalities. They have a paid Premium version, but the free version is more than good enough.
For advanced image editing, any marketing professional would recommend Adobe Photoshop. It is, however, pricey and rather complicated to use. But Photoshop is the golden standard in image editing, should you have the money and time to learn how to use it.
An alternative is GIMP, which is a very powerful free open-source tool, almost on par with Adobe Photoshop. It is available for both Apple Mac and Windows PC’s. It offers tremendous value-for-money, considering it is free and almost matches Adobe Photoshop on features. But like Photoshop, it has a steep learning curve.
An interesting and highly specialized image editor is Write Behind that adds the capability to write text behind objects in photos. Write Behind is a free download for iOS devices.
If you want to add infographics, you can use a tool like infogr.am to create them. There are many tools for infographics creation, and they typically allow you to add symbols, charts, maps and other graphical elements to make your point come across in an easy-to-understand manner.
Movie Creation and Editing
If you want to add video tutorials or marketing movies to your website or blog post, you likely have to prepare them for your eager audience.
You can record high-quality movies using any smartphone these days (the iPhone even records in 4K). You may want to spend some money on a tripod, lighting and a better microphone though.
Recording your computer screen can be done for free on the Mac using Apple’s Quicktime, or using the commercial Screenflow software for Mac or PC. You can edit your movie in Apple’s iMovie, or inside Screenflow.
Do you want to add a truly professional intro and outro to your movies? For example, something along the lines of what I have in my YouTube tutorials:
Head over to Introchamp, that offers a cloud service that produces great video intros and outros for just a few dollars. For reference, the intro in my YouTube movie above is made using Introchamp.
Do you want to produce an animated sales video? Using Renderforest, you can easily create professional videos in just a few minutes. Renderforest offers a lot of movie templates with configurable scenes, where you just add your texts and pictures. Each movie cost as little as ten dollars to export.
Powtoon is similar to Renderforest in that you can easily create your movies in a few minutes. Powtoon is a bit more expensive but contains a lot more flexibility and might be a better choice if you want to control the results in more detail.
Adding visuals to your website or blog is a great way of making it more engaging. Incredibly powerful solutions are now available for free or at low cost, making it possible for anyone to embed stunning visuals!
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