How to Create Blog Photos Using PowerPoint

My How to Make Your Own Blog Photos post shows the steps that I use to create my images.  Today I’m going to go into a bit more depth and show you how I do some of the editing.  So, if you haven’t read the other post, go check it out and then come back to this one.

One thing to note before diving into the editing.  I like to take landscape photos when I’m creating a collage of images.  I will show you why below.

Setting Up PowerPoint

The first thing I do when I’m getting ready to create a blog photo is set up my template in PowerPoint.  This is really simple.  I just open a new document and change the slide orientation to portrait.

TAB: Design SECTION: Customize OPTION: Slide Size –> Change Orientation to Portrait

Once I have the size set, I delete the text boxes that are on the slide.

Inserting the image

I copy and paste one of the images from my collection into PowerPoint.   At this point, the image only fills part of the slide.  I resize the image by dragging the corners out until the top and bottom align.  The right and left side will be way out of the canvas.  This is what you want.

Setting the Image

Once you have the image large enough to cover the canvas, crop the left and right sides of the image.  You will be able to see the slide edge when cropping and the photo should snap in place.

When the edges are set to the canvas, you can then drag the photo left and right until you have the perfect section. Click Crop again to complete the crop.

Basic image fixes

I only do a minimal amount of editing to each of my photos which usually only consists of a adjusting the brightness and contrast.  Sometimes I will adjust the sharpness as well.  On rare occasions, I will use a different editing program to create a blur or other effect.

Select the image by clicking on it.  Then go to Format, Corrections and hover over the images to see a preview.  Select the one you like the best.  I typically like 20% Brightness / 20% Contrast but occasionally I choose a different option.

Inserting the text box

To insert the text box, go to the Insert Tab and click on Text Box.  Drag the text box onto the photo.  You can always adjust placement later.  Write the text for your image in the text box.

Highlight the text and increase the font size until it is large enough that to fill the photo.  We will adjust this again later.  The initial increase is just to be able to read the words.

Designing the text box

Click on the outside border of the text box.  Click to the Format Tab and open More Fill Colors for Shape Fill.

I usually fill white with a 10% transparency (opacity) but you can choose any option you want.

Editing the Text

At this point, I usually move the text box to around the area I want it to be.  Change the colors and fonts any way you would like.  I’ve even downloaded some additional fonts from Google.  Don’t forget to add your watermark.

Finalizing your image

Once you have your fonts how you want them, you need to finalize the image.  Your project is currently a PowerPoint file so you need to create the image file for your image.

To do this, go to Save As and then choose the PNG option.  There are other image files such as a JPG but WordPress doesn’t play nice with JPG’s.  So, if you may ever switch to WordPress, use PNG’s.

The End Product

Congratulations!   You’ve now created a pin-worthy image by using PowerPoint!

If you have any questions, please reach out to me.  I’m more than happy to help!

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How to Automate Your Media Kit

how-to-automate-your-media-kit

In my last few Blog Income Reports, I’ve mentioned that I was working on creating an automated Media Kit.  I am very happy that my media kit is now complete!

Before you read the post, open my media kit in a new tab so it will be easier to follow along.

The header

I began the post with a simple image header.  The image includes a photo of me on the left with a short bio on the right.  I created this image as one graphic in PowerPoint.  Clicking this image takes  the reader to my About Me page.

Social interaction

This is where it starts to get exciting.  I went back and forth so many times trying to figure out how to get a live count of my followers.  Really, I made this more complicated than it needed to be because I wanted to use my own graphics.  I tried a table where row 1 was the image and row 2 was the count.  This looked great in desktop mode but not mobile.  I eventually landed on using the image caption.

I use a plug-in for the plugin Social Count Plus to generate the live counts.  This plugin will allow you to use social icons they have pre-loaded or if will allow you to generate a short-code for just the count.  I used just the count and added the short-code to the description of my image.

*This taught me that you can use HTML in the image caption!  Fantastic!

My social interaction also has a basic image that I created for my blog income reports and a link to the page where I have them all compiled.

General Info

The next section is pretty simple.  I created two graphics in Power Point and uploaded them to the page.  The services graphic links to all of the webpages where I’ve been featured. My Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck series is linked in the image about the posting schedule.

Stats

This is the part that probably took me the longest to figure out.  I was originally trying to use advanced coding to show my unique users and pageviews.  These are the most often used stats in the blogging world it seems.  It ended up being way to complicated though so I settled on a live image of sessions.  Sessions still gives a general idea of how to blog is doing plus I post my exact page views and users each month in my Blog Income Reports.

Two plugins were needed to get this widget onto the Media Kit.  The first plug-in is Google Analytics Dashboard.  This is the plugin I used to create the widget.  I chose to show the last 30 days of traffic.  The second plugin is Widgets on Pages.  This plugin allowed me to display the widget on the page by using short-code.

Have you also automated your media kit?  If so, I’d love to see it!

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10 Blogging Mistakes I’ve Made

10-blogging-mistakes-ive-made In the year and a half that I’ve been regularly blogging, I’ve learned so much.  Of course, part of the learning process is making mistakes.  Mistakes, while annoying at the time, are a tool for growth.   Today I’m sharing 10 blogging mistakes I’ve made so far hoping that this will help you grow without having to make the mistake.

I didn’t create pinterest worthy images

For the first six months of posting on my blog, I didn’t create Pinterest worthy images.  I didn’t see why the images mattered since the content was what I was trying to promote.  Little did I know that the way you promote the content is with the eye catching picture.  I’ve now finished going back to old posts and making images.

I switched to the wrong wordpress

How many people have done this?  I started my blog on Blogger and knew that I needed to make the switch to WordPress.  Problem was, I didn’t even know there was a .org so I registered with WordPress.com.  Then I had to switch everything over to WordPress.org.  Switching twice was such a pain!

I updated my theme file without having a child theme

Yes, this was quite painful.  I did quite a bit of customizing to my theme and CSS file.  For quite some time Child Themes didn’t make any sense to me and I didn’t even think about using a plugin.  So, when my theme updated, all of my changes were lost.  I eventually found that there are plugins that create a child theme for you.

I added two sets of google api tracking code

This was an interesting one.  I was working on my Media Kit  and trying to show live stats.  I decided I’d try some plugins to see how they worked.  One of the plugins worked pretty well but my stats seemed off.  One major red flag was that my bounce rate was 0.  I then realized that the plugin added tracking code to my site so the code was then being tracked twice. Deleting the new plugin to resolve the issue.

I deleted my blog’s pinterest board

While working on Pinterest images for my old posts, I uploaded some pins to my blog’s board.  The pins wouldn’t load properly and I decided to delete the pin and try again.  I ended up moving too quickly and deleted the board without realizing what I was doing.  There is no way of getting the board back so I had to re-create it and add all of the pins one by one.

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I used categories as tags and didn’t use tags

Categories and tags didn’t make any sense to me at first.  I ended up adding a ton of categories and decided I would use those instead of the tags.  Once I was a bit more versed in WordPress I learned that categories are a way to sort your posts and tags are more for SEO.  I had to go back and re-categorize and tag all of my posts.

I didn’t use Yoast SEO

SEO is yet another thing I didn’t know anything about.  Actually, I still don’t know much about it.  But, I do know now that I need to have an optimized focus keyword the post needs to have good readability.  I look for those green dots!

I didn’t set a featured image

The featured image showed up looking a bit off when it was displayed on the post so I didn’t use it.  When I created my pages that automatically show posts in each category, I realized that the featured image was needed to show an image for the post.  After a bit of research, I found that there are quite a few plugins that allow you to choose if you want to display your featured image on the main post or not.

I burned myself out

When I started my blog, I decided to post three times a week.  This was way too much!  In the beginning, there’s a ton of behind the scenes webpage design.  This makes it hard to have time to create great posts.  After about two months of blogging I was completely worn out and took a three month break.  When I started up again, I decided I would only post once per week until I was ready to post more.  Now, i post twice per week.  I knew I was ready when I had so many ideas for posts that I didn’t know when I would be able to post them all.

I didn’t have any group boards on pinterest

This wasn’t exactly a mistake.  I just literally didn’t know how to add a group board.  I’d found many group boards but I was at a loss for how to add them.  One day I had a light bulb moment though and I clicked into other bloggers pages to see which boards they were part of.  Many of those board has instructions at the top of the board giving contact information to request addition to the boards.

There we have it.  I know I will continue to make mistakes, learn, and grow.  Hopefully this post causes you to avoid the troubles that I went  through.

Let me know in the comments what your biggest mistake blogging has been.

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