How To Create The Perfect Picture?
Written by Edna Davidsen ∴ Saturday, September 9, 2017
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
Best Graphic Design Software for Christian Affiliate Marketers
In this week's blog post How To Create The Perfect Picture? I'll give you my opinion about the best graphic design software for Christian Affiliate Marketers. Hopefully, I'll provide enough context for you to think ahead of time and propel forward with confidence in Christian Affiliate Marketing whether you're a novice, medium-experienced or already an accomplished Christian blogger. You deserve a slice of the pie. I imagine you've already purchased something similar to the Hostgator-solution OurChristianBook.com offers in Tools for Christians in Business. The three most important areas in Christian Affiliate Marketing as I see them are: 1. Writing blog posts. 2. Creating blog post pictures. 3. Finding and presenting helpful products in our blog posts. When I plan, I've turned it into a habit, to begin with the end in mind. In Stephen R. Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, you can read much more about beginning with the end in mind. Covey writes: "To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy—very busy—without being very effective." (Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (p. 105). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.) I enjoy Covey's humble writing style, and it impresses me that he managed to stay unaffected by the power and success this cash cow book gave him. Here's what his children, Joshua, Jenny, Colleen, Cathrine, David, Sean, Stephen, Maria and Cynthia, say about their father, Stephen R. Covey, in the introduction to the 25th-anniversary edition of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. "He was always somewhat surprised and embarrassed by his professional success and remained humble and unaffected by his fame. He simply saw himself as a steward of the great work he was doing, always giving credit to others and God. He was never ashamed of his values and his faith and believed that if God was at the centre of your life, everything else would find its proper place. He taught us that in the long run, the only way to enduring success as an individual or an organisation is to live in accordance with timeless principles." (Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (p. 11). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.) What a beautiful way to honour a father! The first aspects Covey emphasises in the quote above is the importance of having a clear understanding of your destination. Today, I write about How To Create The Perfect Picture? But what's the destination? The perfect picture for what? It's good to be an eager beaver - but you want to ensure you walk in the right direction because as Covey wrote: "It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap." Let's avoid going belly up by being clear about where the pictures will be used. I produce pictures with the graphic design software for my website. When I publish a blog post, It'll contain several pictures. The pictures function is to help the readers by giving them a more pleasant reading experience. Pictures enable you and me to write longer posts because the pictures serve as natural pauses in the reading flow. The pictures break the text into digestible pieces. It can be tempting to spend much time creating visual social media account content. For some, this may be beneficial but for more, it's a waste of time. Remember, Christian Affiliate Marketers are against the clock most of the time. Noah Kagan (OkDork.com, Twitter: @noahkagan) who was the 30th employee at Facebook.com and a successful entrepreneur gave an interesting answer in an interview with Tim Ferriss. Tim Ferriss asked: "What is the worst advice you see or hear given in your trade or area of expertise?" Noah Kagan answered: "That you should prioritise growing your social following (Instagram, FB, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube). Grow things that you can fully control that directly affect sales, like your email list. ‘Likes’ don’t pay the bills. Sales do." (Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (p. 327). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.) I can say from my experiences; this advice has worked well for me. Since I have moved focus to my on-site activities, I've been able to keep my head above waters regarding efficiency. I can't control Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, but I have a high degree of control on my website. Does this mean I avoid creating social media pictures? No. But I'm clear about when and why I use pictures on my social media account. Social Media without a clear when and why is a dead Christian Affiliate Marketing duck. To avoid confusion, I'll wait with the details about this area until later in the blog post. When you work on improving your website instead of your social platforms you lower the chances of "working harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall." The best graphic design software will only help me if I have defined the picture purpose. The purpose of my pictures is:
To give my website audience a better reading experience.
I'm thankful when OurChristianBook.com's blog readers share the blog posts on their social media accounts. For reasons, I gave in Christian Affiliate Marketing: What is a Spam Account? I believe I should use most of my time producing blog post content other people love to share on social media.
Most of my pictures have the same structure as the picture above: A motive, some text, and the logo. It seems easy, but you need to work your fingers to the bone to stay consistent with your blog post picture production. The picture production involves the following steps. 1. Decide the picture size. 2. Find a relevant motive. 3. Add text/other elements. 4. Add the logo. 5. Optimise the picture. 6. Write the caption, alt text and description. I found a seller on Fiverr who created my logo.Another option would be to create it myself but I'm already working like a dog so outsourcing this little job seemed like a good trade-off. Fiverr-sellers work for peanuts, yet they deliver excellent quality. The graphic design software I use when creating and editing my picture are listed below: • Canva • Picmonkey • Google Photos • TinyPNG I use the last three when implementing the pictures on my website for reasons I'll reveil later. • PageSpeed Insights • All in One SEO Pack • Cresta Social Share Counter PRO It may look like back-breaking work to familiarise all these elements, but you'll pick up the tricks of the trade along the way. The first graphic design software involved in my picture creation process is Canva.
Create Godly Graphic Design Online with Canva
Canva is a free web-based image creator solution. It's possible to pay approximately $13 monthly for an upgraded solution, or use a 30-day professional trial period, but take it from me; the free solution includes more than what you and I need in our Christian Affiliate Marketing. When you're logged in, you'll see an interface similar to the picture above. First, you'll decide what picture-design you'll use. You can choose between various designs and sizes. As times goes by you'll learn how to chose in an instant. In my blog posts, I include at least six formats: Pinterest. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Social Media. Presentation. Often, I'll go to Canva and create my pictures before I write the blog post. When I write new blog posts, I'll begin by including the six pictures in my WordPress-template. Sometimes I need more pictures, for example, the Print Screen, I've used above. Pictures like these are created with the PrtSc-button and Google Photos. What determines how many pictures I need for one blog post? It depends, but the primary determinant is the blog post length. I know the blog post theme before I write the post. As I write, I drag the pictures to places where they complement the paragraphs. If I wrote shorter blog posts, I would need fewer pictures. Once you've chosen a picture format, you'll pick a picture. Until now, I've used the free pictures, and it works fine. My goal with this website is to show how to keep costs down while being smart and productive at the same time. It's unnecessary to use other than the free pictures for new Christian Affiliate Marketers. Once you've created a cash flow, you can consider if you want to spend money on pictures etc. The reason I find the Canva photo software so helpful and suitable for Christian Affiliate Marketing is, it comes with so many free pictures and possibilities. It's the best image maker I've tried because the picture quality is high and the online image creator is user-friendly. Once I've chosen an eye-catching picture, I'll add some text and download the picture. It's all I do in Canva. With Canva you can create your own graphic and do a lot of other picture-related activities. But it's worth bearing in mind when you work alone as a Christian blogger, that you need to budget your time. John 9:4 "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."The Bible gives many reminders of spending the time well because it's a limited resource.
Christian Affiliate Marketer Rule Number One: Write helpful website-content for your Christian audience.
Edna Davidsen, Christian Affiliate Marketer.
When I create these free graphic design, I aim for time efficiency. I avoid doing it at the eleventh hour. The faster I create the picture, the more time I have to write blog post content. I've titled this blog post How To Create The Perfect Picture? The perfect picture is a subjective term. What I perceive as the perfect picture may differ from what you see as the perfect picture. This is good because it means you control what's a perfect picture for your context. I have a strong feeling about when I'm satisfied with a picture. On Tools for Christians in Business, I listed Pat Flynn's: (Smartpassiveincome.com, TW:@PatFlynn) Will it Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time, and Money. The book has an excellent walk-through how to analyse a market and how to plan blog post content. Following Pat Flynn's suggestion, creating a spreadsheet etc. has been helpful concerning 'beginning with the end in mind' as Stephen Covey suggested earlier. While you go through this process, you could define the first 50 or 100 blog posts in advance. It gives you a clear perception of 'the finished product', before you write the blog post content or create the pictures. Pat Flynn's book gave me some valuable mental tools for evaluating the pictures I create. The book also boosted my general planning how I could be a person who's bringing home the bacon through Christian Affiliate Marketing. Often, I'll use the same text on more than one picture. I have two reasons for doing so: First, I know OurChristianBook.com's audience have different preferred social media platforms. Therefore, I create one picture for each format so the users can choose what picture to use when they help me by sharing a blog post.Second, I write longer blog posts than the average Christian blogger. I love to write, and I'm more satisfied with blog posts longer than 1500 words. By using small variations in the blog post pictures, while keeping the same text-elements and logo, the pictures serve as glue giving the blog post readers a more coherent experience. It's all about creating the best reading experience!
Christian Affiliate Marketer Rule Number Two: Read and give relevant comments on Christian blogs. Share these blog posts on your social media accounts.
Edna Davidsen, Christian Affiliate Marketer.
How to Use PicMonkey Photo Editor in Your Christian Affiliate Marketing
After creating your pictures with the Canva photo editor software, you still have to add the logo. For adding the logo, you'll first head over to PicMonkey's Photo Editor. You can use the free solution or pay $3,99 monthly, which I prefer as I get itchy feet regarding working tools commercials. After you've created a login, you'll click Collage.
On the next screen, you'll see a lock between two numbers at the bottom of the screen. It'll say something like 2000 Ω 2000. This is the pixels. You can see, which pixel to use by going back to Canva:
You see the pixels by holding the mouse over the Canva-picture. Afterwards, you can go back to PicMonkey and fill in the pixels, in this case, 1024 x 512. Canva is always updated with the right picture size for the social media platforms, so you can just transfer the pixels from Canva to PicMonkey whenever you add the logo to your pictures.Next, you'll remove some cells until you have one cell left. Once back in PicMonkey, click the corners, as I've shown in the picture below.
The last adjustment I like to do before I add my pictures is to remove the standard PicMonkey-spacing. To do it, I go to the menu, as shown below:
Reduce the spacing from twenty to zero. You're now ready to let your freak flag fly. Go to the first menu as displayed below and chose add images.
After uploading your picture, the next step is to add your logoClick Send to Editor as displayed beneath:
Click the butterfly:
Lastly, click add your own:
Once you've placed the logo where you want it to be, hit export and save the file. When you've produced the first twenty pictures, you'll go through these steps without thinking about them. You'll also see, creating the perfect picture has little to do with pulling a rabbit out of the hat. For a Christian Affiliate Marketer like me who use many blog post pictures, it's recommendable to use a CDN Solution. I've written more about the CDN-topic in blog post number 15, How To Quickly Set Up the Free CloudFlare CDN Solution, but the purpose is to load the pictures faster, preferably within 1-2 seconds. I optimise all my pictures once I've added the logo. It improves the website speed, and it's a way to step up the game with little effort. Therefore, I suggest you upload the pictures you've finished in PicMonkey to TinyPGN.
When you've compressed the pictures, you download them, and this will be the picture-versions you upload to your blog posts. When you upload your pictures to your blogging and website content management system, you'll be asked to fill out: • Title • Caption • Alt Text • Description I've included a 3-minutes video below where Matt Cutts (Mattcuts.com, TW: @mattcutts) discusses the alt attribute.It gives you the context needed to fill out these details correctly. The alt text stands for 'alternative text', and by filling it out as Matt Cutts/Google suggests, you help Google to know what's your picture's motive. If you understand this, you'll higher your chances of gaining some website-visitors via the Google picture search.
Another video I like to point you to, so you can take the best webmaster approach to blog post pictures is Peter Linsley's 14-minutes presentation on Google Image Search. It was first delivered at SMX West February 2009. I believe watching and following the guidelines from videos like these will help you as a Christian Affiliate Marketer to get your images indexed and ranked better. It pays off to go the extra mile a learn from the most inspiring resources.
I mentioned earlier, I would come back to: • PageSpeed Insights • All in One SEO Pack • Cresta Social Share Counter PRO Whenever I have published a blog post, I run it through PageSpeed Insights. First time I tried PageSpeed insight it blew me away to see how easy it is to check a website's quality. PageSpeed Insights will sometimes help me compress the pictures to a larger extent than I already have done with TinyPNG. PageSpeed Insights is a tool coming from Google, and it's free to use. The All in One SEO Pack and the Cresta Social Share Counter PRO are two WordPress plugins you can use to give your readers the best sharing possibilities. Once you've install Cresta Social Share Counter PRO, you can define, which social share buttons to display and where they'll appear on your pages. I've configured mine to be at the top and bottom.
The All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin gives you the possibility to set a default picture for a page/post. Follow this path, once logged into WordPress to assign a custom picture as well as to modify the text that should accompany the picture when shared on social media accounts: 1. Pages. 2. Navigate to the relevant page, click Edit, next to the quick Edit and Trash menu.3. Scroll down chose Social Settings, next to Main Settings. 4. Fill out the Title and Description and chose the custom picture. 5. Scroll up and click Update when finished. 6. Finally, you may want to scroll down again and click Debug This Post to see how it looks on Facebook, the Facebook Object Type above this setting should be set to Article. If you're having difficulties seeing changes in the Facebook Debugger Tool after for example having chosen a new picture to be shared on Facebook, it could be because you need to clear the website cache. If you have the Autooptimize Plugin installed, you can clear your cache by hovering your mouse over the autooptimize menu at the top of your WordPress interface and click on Delete Cache. If you use CloudFlare's CDN Solution, which I've described in blog post number 15, How To Quickly Set Up the Free CloudFlare CDN Solution, you'll find further instruction regarding deleting the cache by consulting that blog post.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words in the Christian Community
I wrote earlier, my primary focus is on-site activities because I lack control over Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform. I also promised you to get back to what I meant when I wrote: "I'm clear about when and why I use pictures on my social media account." During a workweek, I read and comment on other blogs for Christians. I'm writing 10-15 weekly comments to support other Christian bloggers. Here are three high-quality Christian blogs:Emily P. Freeman - (Emilypfreeman.com, TW: @emilypfreeman) Ana Hoffman - (Trafficgenerationcafe.com, TW: @AnaTrafficCafe) Steve Laube - (Stevelaube.com, TW: @stevelaubeagent) When I leave a comment on a Christian blog, I always create a picture in Canva (in Twitter-format), which I share on my social media account with a link to the blog post and some other information from the blog. This is a way to show other bloggers I appreciate what they're doing on their websites. It takes little time to go to the online picture editor and find a beautiful picture. All I do is add the blog post title, the blogger's name and a link to the website where the blog post can be found.
This is a no-brainer. Why sit on the fence when you can pick these low hanging fruits? If you stick to this practice, you'll see as times goes by that other Christian bloggers will notice you're not a "here today, gone tomorrow." blogger. If you're among the few bloggers who take the time to create a picture every time you share other people's content, you can be sure those people whose content you share will notice your contribution to the Christian community. They'll consider how they can return your favour. That's why a picture is worth a thousand words in the Christian community.
Will You Do Me a Favour?
If you enjoyed this post and got your head around how to create better blog post pictures, I’d be happy if you’d help it spread by emailing it to your friends or sharing it on your favourite social media channels. Thank you!Edna Davidsen.