Business images are an important part of any business website. Whether they are photos you took from your phone or a professional camera, animated images, or advertising graphics, business images can make or break first impressions of your business. You only get one chance for a first impression, and a poorly designed website with ugly images can spoil an otherwise excellent customer experience. Follow along to learn about the tools you can use to quickly create professional, high quality business images for your website and social media marketing needs.
Why use images?
In the early years of the internet, slow speeds led webmasters to use as few images as possible, and to upload only low quality images that would quickly load on user’s dial up internet connections. These days smartphones offer blazing fast speeds and 73 percent of US adults have broadband internet at home. Now megabyte sized files load in milliseconds, not minutes. This allows business websites to include larger, higher quality images and even videos across their websites.
When potential customers land at your little corner of the internet, you have moments to wow them. It takes about a half a second for web visitors to decide if they like a site or not. If they don’t like your site instantly, because of bad images or no images, you can expect them to click away seconds later, never to return. Whether your goal is email subscribers, leads, or sales, you won’t get any if you have an ugly website.
Many business owners choose to hire professional designers to make sure they don’t suffer from ugly website syndrome, but if you have a little time and energy to dedicate to your design, you can easily create images yourself. Thanks to some great tools, some of them free, you can quickly create those website images from your favorite web browser.
Best online editors for business images
While you used to need a resource heavy graphic editor installed on your desktop or laptop computer to create quality graphics, it is much easier today. You can quickly load up any of the graphic creation apps to build your business images quickly. Here is a quick rundown on the features and costs of some of the most popular options.
Canva – Canva has grown to be the leader in online graphic creation tools for bloggers, as is evidenced by my non-scientific study asking blogging friends what tools they use. I am a premium subscriber myself, and pay about $120 per year ($10 per month) for its advanced features. Canva allows you to easily and quickly create website images and social media images from pre-built templates. Paid users can create and save their own templates and brand colors and logos as well, making for faster image creation than going the manual route. It has many fonts, backgrounds, layouts, and clip art style images to add to any creation. If you don’t know where to start, you can’t go wrong with a free account at Canva.
PicMonkey – PicMonkey was my longtime favorite online graphic editor before Canva, but that all changed when PicMonkey dropped its free plan that I regularly used. That said, if you are willing to pony up for the paid version, it is a powerful online graphic editor with plenty of features. Where Canva is strongest for social media style images, PicMonkey is strongest in editing photos. If you are take your own photos with a phone or dSLR camera, for example, you may want to do some nice touch ups before publishing. PicMonkey is great for that, as well as creating collages of multiple photos. After a free trial, fees are $5.99 to $8.99 per month depending on your needs and annual versus monthly billing.
Pablo by Buffer – Before upgrading to a paid Canva account, I created almost every single social media image using Pablo. Pablo doesn’t have nearly the number of features as Canva and PicMonkey, but what it does, it does quite well. Pablo lets you quickly pull in free stock photos for backgrounds, add text, and export. You have a handful of font choices as well as the option to edit font colors and filters over the background image. That’s pretty much it. But it’s easy to use, fast, and free.
RelayThat – I’m admittedly less familiar with RelayThat, but it has a strong fan base across the web. It has a free demo account option, but full-featured accounts are a bit pricier than the previous mentions, with plans running $25 per month or $69 per month with annual billing discounts. Features are designed for serious graphic design needs and includes great features to create images with consistent branding. Plus, you get access to a library of 350,000+ design elements included. At Canva, you have to pay extra for many elements even with a paid account. So while RelayThat costs a bit more, you get what you pay for through powerful design tools and a massive library.
Adobe Spark – Adobe gives me the same love/hate relationship as Microsoft and Intuit. I find I use their products as they are the best in many ways, but still have some reluctance to go with the 800-pound gorilla in in the industry. But getting over my silly mental block, Adobe offers some of the best graphic and video editing programs on the market today. Spark is Adobe’s answer to the lightweight graphic creation programs listed above, and comes with both a free plan and a $9.99 per month plan. It comes with everything you need to create beautiful images for your website, with a giant library of fonts, graphics, and photos to boot. For graphics, you will want to use Spark Post, as the other two Spark apps are focused on web page and video creation.
If none of these apps do the trick, you can always buy Photoshop, the luxury airliner version of graphic editors. But these free and low-cost apps offer anything most business owners need to create fun, quick, and professional business images for any online purpose. Creating those images quickly is important for busy entrepreneurs. Don’t waste hours on image perfectionism. Log into one of these programs, create your graphics, and move on to the next task. You won’t be disappointed with the results.