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6 Great Tools for Creating Featured Images

When it comes to marketing yourself online, connecting with your social followers, or simply improving your overall brand presence, it's important to remember that a picture really can be worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, finding the right fresh and engaging picture for your website or blog isn't always as simple as it should be.

When you post something new on your website, you'll need a "featured post image" to help give your blog a little extra something special. This post pictures can be seen at the top of your content page, and it also appears on your website sidebars in some cases too. Additionally, by default, the featured images in your content will often appear first when you're sharing a link to an article on Facebook or Twitter.

Since the last thing you want is to use the same dime-a-dozen images you can find on any boring old stock website, it's worth knowing how you create custom featured images yourself, without spending all your budget on a new graphic designer. Here, we'll look at 6 incredible tools that webmasters can use without any photoshop knowledge whatsoever.

1. Canva

Canva is easily one of the most popular programs available for image manipulation when you want to create featured images online. Not only does it have a range of fantastic features to choose from, but it's hard to argue with that free price tag too. This incredible image tool is one of the best options for modern content creators to show off some graphic design skills - even when they've never touched a photoshop manual.

Once you've chosen a few key elements, like how large you want your image to be in terms of dimension, you can choose what you need from a blank canvas, or a range of pre-set design templates, before customising your graphics however you see fit. While some of the visual elements that Canva has to offer come with a low price tag, you'll also be able to choose from their vast free catalogue if you're feeling frugal. At the same time, you can simply upload your own photos into the mix to make your own gorgeous blog posts.

2. SmushIt

You may not have known this, but Yahoo actually has their very own free photo editing solution on the market for you to take advantage of at your leisure. SmushIt is a relatively useful option for people who want to make the most of their SEO while sprucing up their website articles and blogs at the same time. If you're worried about your page loading times - which you probably should be - the SmushIt tool will allow you to reduce the size of a stunning customised picture, without diminishing quality.

Not only is the SmushIt tool completely free, but you won't have to create an account, or provide any personal information to the mix in order to get started. While the final dimensions of the file won't be changed, you can reduce the overall size significantly, without sacrificing the beautiful side of your pictures.

3. Fotor

Yet another fantastic photo editing and graphic designing solution, Fotor can help you to create high-quality featured images for your blog in no time. Loaded with a host of features that make the plugin pretty powerful for the standard user, Fotor has become increasingly popular over the years, thanks to the fact that it allows users to design and edit images on a range of different platforms, including IoS, Windows, and Android.

The free version of Fotor means that you can work on your images without spending a penny on the plugin. However, if you do want to access some of the additional features available, then you might need to make an investment and subscript to Fotor pro. This option comes with a collection of fantastic features to play with, including pre-built templates and images.

4. PicMonkey

As one of the most popular picture editing solutions on the market today, PicMonkey is regularly recommended by companies around the world. One of the many reasons why people love this application so much is that it's incredibly easy to use, regardless of whether you have a background in editing and photography or not.

With PicMonkey, you can crop your images, resize them at your leisure, and add a collection of beautiful borders to the mix without having to compromise on the performance on your website with a heavy file. To get the best results, you should select "Sean" or "Pierce" in the quality option when you're saving your pictures.

5. Pictaculous

Graphic design isn't always easy, but it's an important part of making sure that you can stand out from your competitors online. The good news is that you can fake your skillset a little with the right resources, like Pictaculous. This powerful and interesting tool can help you to create visuals that are consistent with your brand standards, and all you need to do is upload an image file to get started.

Once you've pushed the image you want onto the platform, the tool will automatically suggest perfectly-matched colour solutions to meet with your design. The suggestions you get will also come packaged with universal HEX colour codes that you can plug directly into Canva to make your job easier later. Never again will you need to worry about keeping your brand image on track.

6. Pixlr

Finally, customising your images online couldn't be easier thanks to Pixlr, a free tool that's based on the web, which can be used to edit images quickly and effectively. You can choose from a range of thousands of free fonts, borders, images, and add-ons to help you transform even the most basic and boring visuals into stunning content.

While this might not be the simplest tool to use in this list, it's a good one to consider if you have a little bit of background in the image editing world. There are plenty of benefits to consider, including the fact that you can have more options to play with if you're not sure which direction you want to go in when you start editing. You can basically customise until you achieve the perfect picture - no matter how long it takes.

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