Designed in Canva
As you might have guessed from the heading above, the intro to today’s blog post was designed in Canva. But it was a bit different to the process we’ve gone through this week when we were designing your CV, proposals and social media graphics. Why? Because it happened through the magic of the Canva for WordPress plugin. What does that mean? It means I designed it directly into this post, rather than swapping between WordPress and Canva.
So why is this a good thing?
Well, not having to faff around between two tabs is always a good thing in my book, but there’s also the bigger bonus of an easy way to produce graphics for your posts. Although we all like to think we’re very serious and academic and enjoy reading big blocks of text…we aren’t, and we don’t. We like our internet reading to be easy, thank you very much. What does this mean in practice? It means we like…
Shorter blocks of text
Different sizes of text (go easy on the different fonts though)
More white space
We’re a visual bunch, despite what we might think. And Google knows this too. That’s why it shows images at the very top of the search result page. Which, and I’m going to make a breathtakingly stating-the-obvious statement here….
…is exactly where we all want to be.
Am I right? I know. I’m not wrong. So in a nutshell, if your content isn’t optimised for images, then it’s not going to be as appealing (or as interesting), to potential readers, so let’s just all agree:
Images are awesome.
This applies on social media too (so don’t forget our Monday lessons on creating graphics for your social media.) In fact, Kissmetrics did a study and found that – oh for goodness sake, let me just show you the graphic – this post is about the importance of images after all.
See? Told you so.
Okay, okay, so how does Canva for WordPress work, Jo?
Well, Canva for WordPress works pretty much exactly how regular Canva works, except it’s inside your WordPress. Let’s go through how to get it and then we’ll see how you can use it. First of all Google “Canva for WordPress” and then visit the page. It looks like this:
Next, click the Download Version 1.2.4 button. It’ll start the download of the zip file, containing all the important stuff (you should see it in the little bar at the bottom of your screen.) Next, log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Plugins page (if you scroll down the sidebar on the left hand side you’ll come to it.) The Plugins page looks like this:
This page shows you all the Plugins you already have installed on your WordPress theme. Click on the Add New button beside the heading Plugins at the top. You’ll arrive at this screen:
Click on Upload Plugin, and you’ll get to this screen:
Remember you got the Canva for WordPress file as a zip file? Now’s the time to use it! You can upload the .zip directly to WordPress, which is pretty handy. Here are the steps:
- Click on Choose File
- Navigate to the Downloads folder on your computer
- Click on the Canva for WordPress zip file (it’ll be called canva.1.2.4.zip)
- Click Install Now.
Once you’ve completed the steps, you can navigate back to your Plugins page, where you’ll see Canva for WordPress happily nestled amongst your other plugins. Now click on the Activate button (below the Canva title) and you’re good to go!
Now the fun starts!
Working with Canva for WordPress
Now that you’ve installed and activated Canva for WordPress, you can have a go at creating some blog graphics for your posts. From your WordPress dashboard, go to your Posts page. You know, like this one, but with your blog posts, not mine:
Click on the Add New button, just like you do when you’re writing a new blog post. So far, so similar, huh? When you reach the Add New Post page, you’ll see a friendly little blue addition….
It’s the Design in Canva button! Woop! So that’s your Canva for WordPress set up complete. Now let’s look at designing a blog graphic using the plug in.
First things first, enter your title, and whatever content you want, and then, when you feel a graphic would work well, just click on the Design in Canva button. You’ll come to this screen within a screen (if that makes sense!):
Basically your Canva design canvas is a pop up in front of your Add New Post page on your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can design your graphic. Just like when we were designing our documents on Wednesday, there are loads of options. You can decide if you want to go freestyle, or stick to the template that Canva for WordPress provides. For our first example, let’s stick to a Canva template, or a Canva layout, as they’re known, and customise it ever-so-slightly for your needs.
Using a template
Why might you want to use a template? Well, I don’t know about you, but I frickin’ love awesome quotes on cool images. And I happen to know two things…
Canva has some cool images
You have some awesome quotes within your blog posts
(I tried it myself a little while ago, and had some pretty good results on social media):
So let’s turn some of your wisdom into tweetable, shareable and searchable images. First step is to find a template…just scroll down the Canva layouts until you find something you like, or that fits in well with your content or quote….
Now, obviously the next thing I’m going to say is…
It’s impossible to design something if you can’t see what you’re doing, so feel the zoom button love and get up close and personal with your design canvas. Next, let’s edit. Just like with the rest of your designs this week, play around with all the elements. If you just want to change the text….
- Click on it
- Highlight it
- Write what you want…like this:
As you know by now, you can also change the font and all the formatting of the text on your graphic – so go to town. You can also change the graphics, the background, the colours and any of the other elements on the page, so you can end up with something pretty different from the original…..
Or, to show you an example in the Canva for WordPress screen, like this….
Once you’re happy with your design, click on the Publish button in the top right hand corner of the Canva for WordPress screen you’ve been designing in, and, as if by magic, it’ll appear in your post, just like a regular image you would add to your blog post.
If you’d prefer to come up with something on your own, instead of using a template with text on it, you can search for an image to add text to. Simply click on the Design in Canva button, zoom in on your design canvas, search for the sort of image you want, and then use the text buttons on the left toolbar to start adding text to your image, like this:
Of course, you can also supplement your blog posts by including graphics to illustrate the stats in your content, or to visually represent statistics that you’ve found elsewhere. When I did the Let’s Talk…series of live chats last year, I asked some questions during the sessions, and then produced infographics to show people’s responses and the make-up of the audience….
I also used a similarly colourful infographic within to show a method for calculating your rates:
I created these infographics by starting with a blank canvas, then adding a background, then text (using no more than two fonts usually), and then icons to explain and emphasise the content. Honestly, if I can create them, you can too!
Some last Canva pointers & FAQs
I’ve had some emails and questions on social media which I thought would be useful to address, so here’s my final round up on Canva (and some of the more advanced features.
1. In Canva for WordPress, is Blog Graphic the only design size you can select?
Nope. You can re-size to another type of graphic, for example a Blog Title, Infographic (longer than the blog graphic we’ve looked at today), or just a Social Media Post graphic. But, and this isn’t an enormous but, but sort of a mid-sized but, as far as I can tell, you have to have Canva for Work to be able to re-size your graphic.
Canva for Work is the paid-for option for Canva.
I have it, but that’s really only because the re-sizing tool is super handy for me to re-size designs for different social media platforms and uses, e.g. if I’ve produced a PDF as a downloadable resource and I then want to share an image of the cover on Facebook, then I can just click on the re-size button to change it…but this function probably isn’t necessary for everyone! As far as I remember the Canva for Work option is $12.95 per month or $119.40 per year (which makes it $9.95 per month if you break it down.) I pay yearly.
This point applies to both the Canva for WordPress plugin and regular Canva – you need to be on the paid-for version of Canva to be able to do the “magic re-size“, i.e. change a graphic into another graphic type, or to re-size to custom dimensions. Both options are in the top right hand corner of your page, under the File tab.
2. If you use Canva to design your business cards, how do you get them printed?
I’ve always used Moo to get my business cards done, and they have an option for uploading a “complete design” (or something similarly worded.) So I select the Business Card option from the Create a design page (you’ll find it under Marketing Materials) and design it there, download it as a PDF and then upload it to Moo. Works a treat. Updated to add: since this post came out in January 2017, Canva have now added the service of having your designs printed too. I haven’t used them yet, but it might be worth checking out. However, check where they’re being shipped from, in case the charges are crAAAzy.
3. I’d like to create an image within my signature and/or my out of office, which template would you recommend?
It really depends on the size of image you want within your signature. I’m going to guess that you’d like it pretty small, so I’d go with Logo (again, under Marketing Materials) and you can always re-size it.
For the out of office, I’d probably go with an email header (in Social Media & Email Headers.) You can add text to customise it, obviously remembering to change any date/time dependent information in the graphic within Canva, and then re-uploading it each time you turn the auto-responder on.
Note: I know both of these techniques work in Gmail, as that’s the email provider I use, but I know colleagues have had trouble making them work in Yahoo. I’m not sure about other providers, like Outlook. I’ve also had success using email headers as actual email headers in Gmail, MailChimp and ConvertKit (those last two are email marketing tools.)
And that’s a wrap!
Questions or comments?
If you’ve still got any burning questions – either about regular Canva or Canva for WordPress, just leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed this week’s posts, don’t forget to share on social media, you can use the hashtag #yeswecanva and connect with me on @Jo_SilverT or on the Silver Tongue Facebook page.