Creating Visuals for a Website

Have you ever heard that images make a website?

It’s true.  Your website can either soar or fall flat, depending on the imagery (or lack thereof) on your site.

Here are a few screenshots that will demonstrate this point:







See how inviting all of those websites are?  If you don’t have the money to hire a web designer to create a custom website for you, you may feel at a loss.  But there’s no need.

There are free image creation tools out there, and so many resources where you can learn about putting together images for your site, that you should never have to worry about not having great imagery on your site ever again!

There can be a learning curve when it comes to putting images together in a visually pleasing way, but there ARE ways of getting it done.  And with professional-grade outcomes.  You just have to know where to go to find the tools you need.

Whether you’re looking to make headers, buttons, or entire website backgrounds, you’ll be able to make any (or all) of those things with the tools and sites I’m about to tell you about.

FREE Stock Photos

As you may know, using photos you find on the Internet can get you in trouble if you’re not paying attention to the licensing information associated with the photo!

And if you ARE, and you’re looking at stock photos on some of the bigger, well-known stock photo sites, you have found that they can be expensive!!

But I have come across a website that delights me to no end!!  With this website, you can find photos that can be used commercially, and they’re all free.  Every. motherloving. one.

The website is called PhotoPin and it’s heaven on earth.

You simply search for an image, and then when the results come up, you simply click the little box next to the word “Commercial” under License Type in the black bar on the left side of the screen.

Now…..what you’re searching is photos on Flickr.  But it sorts them according to “interestingness” (which is a word I’m pretty sure they made up, but hey, it works…).

So you’re not always going to find the MOST professional photos there.  And sometimes you have to get creative with how you search for an image (i.e. the search term(s) you use).  But there are SO many photos, and you can select the size that you want when you’re downloading – many of them come in high enough resolutions to be used as an entire website background.

Watch a quick 5-minute video of me using Photopin to find a photo for an image I’d like to use for a blog series.

Image Editing Sites

I have two go-to image editing and creation sites and they’re PicMonkey* and Canva.

Both are free to use, although they each have caveats.

First of all, with PicMonkey, many of the options that you can use are available for free.  But they do offer a paid account, which is VERY reasonably priced at $4.99/month or $33/year, and gives you access to every feature within the program.  I have a Royale membership with PicMonkey and I love it – there are so many effects and features that I love using on a consistent basis that it’s worth the little bit I pay for it.

*The links above are affiliate links for their program, which means that if you purchase through that link, it won’t cost you any extra, but they’ll throw a few pennies my way since I referred you.  No skin off my teeth if you’d rather not purchase from my link, though.  🙂

Watch me use PicMonkey to create a graphic for my blog series.

Canva is a similar site, but offers ready-made templates that you can modify as you see fit and use for free.  Their caveat is that they offer some things for free (like PicMonkey) and then charge $1 for everything else.  They have tons of stock photos, effects, and embellishments that you can choose from and add into a project, and you’ll only have to pay $1 for each one.  As far as paid stock photos go, they’re the cheapest I’ve found.

Watch me demonstrate using Canva to create my blog series graphic.

Wrapping It All Up

Keep in mind that when you’re creating images in PicMonkey or Canva, you can use graphics supplied by them or upload your own images, ribbons, shapes, etc. and use them while you’re designing.

If you are creating headers for your website, and you think you might ever want them to span the full width of the page, make them a width of 1280px.

The height is up to you, and largely depends on the design you’re going for.  If you want it to be a header with just a bit of text and your main text will be below it, you’ll want to make it shorter (around 250px max).

If, however, you want to make a statement with your images, like some of the websites I showed you earlier, go all out.  You can always put text over a large image and make a really big statement right away.

Just keep your eyes peeled for how people are using images in their websites and start a swipe file (a place where you put things you love, whether it’s a folder on your computer, within a Pinterest board, in Evernote, or wherever) so you can start to develop your imagery plan for YOUR website.