When you’re a blogger who works full-time, productivity is a huge priority. (Okay, who are we kidding? Productivity is a huge priority for everyone.)
One easy way to be more productive is to speed up the amount of time it takes for you to create your blog graphics. Here’s how I create my blog graphics in 15 minutes or less, without sacrificing on quality or design.
1 | I created a blog post image template.
First things first, I created a blog post image template. This is a Photoshop file that has all of my options already set up — the file size, the colors, the fonts, etc. It’s kept in a separate holder, and whenever I need to create a blog post image, I copy the folder it’s in. That way, I’m never editing the original.
The template itself takes more than 15 minutes to create, but it allows me to create one-off blog graphics in 15 minutes or less!
If you need more than one file size (say, for example, a vertical image for Pinterest and a horizontal image for Twitter), you’d want to create a separate template file for each size. Just make sure they coordinate so your branding is consistent!
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a blog post image template in Photoshop, head over to this blog post. Or, if you want to save even more time, just click the button below to download a blog post image template I’ve already made for you!
2 | I limited the number of options.
One of the best ways to speed up your process so you’re making blog graphics in 15 minutes is to limit the number of choices you have to make. You’ve heard about how Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day to limit the number of decisions he had to make, right? This is a very similar idea, but with your blog graphics.
Whenever I create a blog graphic, I only have to choose from 3 color options (and technically those are dictated by the blog post category, so I don’t even have to choose which one I want to use). I also only have two fonts: one main font and one secondary font if I there’s a bit of text I want to highlight.
I used to have 3 fonts: one main font and two secondary fonts to choose from (they were really the same font, but they had different script versions of each letter), which increased the amount of time each graphic took me. Do I like this G better, or this G? Which of the three L options do I want to use?
Guess what? No one is going to notice any one letter in your graphic, unless it looks really out of place. So if you don’t have a ton of time, don’t obsess over it.
One of my biggest revelations, however, was limiting the number of stock photos I choose from. Over the years, I’ve gotten so many free stock images. I easily have 1,000+ stored on my computer.
Up until a few months ago, I used to go through almost all of those stock images to find the right photo for my graphic. It took me 15 minutes just to pick out the photo that’s under a thick color overlay and a bunch of text.
Once again, no one is going to notice if you’re using the same 30 stock images over and over again, unless it’s the focal point of your graphic. And even if it is, you can get a ton of mileage out of one stock photo if you’re creative with your cropping.
Now, I have a folder set aside with the 50-75 stock images that match my branding. I simply circle through those when I’m making a blog graphic, pick one out, and plop it into my Photoshop file. Easy peasy! It takes a fraction of the time.
Limiting the number of decisions you have to make is easily one of my best-kept secrets when it comes to creating my blog graphics in 15 minutes or less.
PS Don’t forget to download the free blog post image template below!
3 | I sped up my computer.
And finally, I sped up my computer. Even if I simplified my process so I had hardly any decisions to make, it would take me more than 15 minutes if my computer is running as slow as molasses.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a brand new computer. As someone living on a nonprofit salary and student loan debt, I know that getting a new computer every two years just isn’t feasible for everyone.
My iMac just turned four, but it’s running as fast as if it were a one-year-old computer. Sure, it’s not as fast as it was out of the box, but it doesn’t make me want to throw it out the window every day!
My secret? First, I invested in a new hard drive. A few months ago, my hard drive started failing, so I had to take my beloved iMac into the Apple Store. After some discussing, we decided to install a new hard drive on an $80 1TB external hard drive instead of dishing out almost $400 for a new internal hard drive.
Sure, I have to have the external hard drive plugged into my iMac at all times, but because it’s a desktop computer, it’s not a problem for me. If you’ve got a laptop, that might not work as well.
And second, I store most of my files on the cloud. I use iCloud for my files, because it automatically uploads files I haven’t used in a while to the cloud so they’re not taking up valuable real estate on my computer. And more free space means your computer runs faster!
Designing blog graphics in 15 minutes or less doesn’t have to be a daydream. Just create a template, limit the number of decisions you have to make, and speed up your computer! I promise it’s that easy.
Oh, and to save even more time, don’t forget to download the free blog post image template I designed for you. That way you don’t have to spend the time figuring out what your blog graphics should look like!