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How to Blog without Breaking the Bank - Extra: Make a Blog Button


Today we'll be doing a pretty simple tutorial on how to make a button for your blog.

Blog buttons are all over the sidebars of blogs everywhere. They are especially great because they are free advertising! Check out my last How to Blog without Breaking the Bank post to see the different free photo editing programs there are.

Making a Blog Button with PicMonkey

For this tutorial, we are going to use PicMonkey. Picmonkey offers both a free and paid membership. I pay for the "Royal Membership", which is pretty cheap. I think it is $5 a month. The only reason I have it is for their extras of more fonts and effects. The free version is also great, so you will still be able to make blog buttons and edit photos if you opt for the free version.

Are you ready to make a blog button? Let's begin!

Getting Started

You will first need to decide if you want to use a plain background or a photo background. For my Stashbuster Challenge button I used a yarn photo I purchased from Dollar Photo Club. They are now defunct, unfortunately. They were bought by Adobe Stock (which just between you and me, I'm not that crazy about).

When looking for a photo, try to pick one that has some empty space. That is where you'll put your text. If it is all picture, the text might be a little difficult to read. If you are planning on using a plain background, you are good to go.

Once you have your photo chosen, head over to the PicMonkey site.

Opening PicMonkey

When you first open up PicMonkey you will notice several different options on the main screen. Since I am using a photo for my button I will need to click on the edit button. If you are using a plain background you will choose design.


When you click on the edit button a box will popup for you to choose your photo and upload it to the site. Once your photo is uploaded it will look like this.


On the left sidebar you can see all of the different options you have. Each little picture on the side carries its own set of buttons. Take some time to click on them all to see what each one offers. If the option has a little crown next to it that means it is available to Royal Members only. You won't be able to use it unless you upgrade to the paid membership.

Sizing Your Button

You'll want to make your button an appropriate size to fit on your sidebar. It really depends on what size sidebar you have. I have read that any button under 200x200px is best. Well, I made mine 250x166, because my sidebar is a bit wider. I'm such a rebel!

Click on the "Resize" button at the bottom of the left sidebar to choose the size of your button.


Adding Text

The photo that I chose has a great big empty space, which will be perfect for text! To add some text, click on the Tt icon. 


Clicking on the Tt icon opens up the text button. You can see on the left sidebar some of the options for different fonts. There are a lot more available, so be sure to scroll through them all. 

Did you notice the little orange crowns? Those fonts are the ones for Royal Members only. Also, see the circle next to the Lato font? It is a little small to read, but it says "New". PicMonkey adds new fonts and effects from time to time. That is really cool!
 
Once you decide on your font, for my button I chose Georgia, click on the name of the font (to select the font) and then on the "Add text" button at the top of the page. 


A text box will appear. Click in the box to get a blinking cursor. You can then type your text in the box. You will most likely have to tweak your text a bit.


With my text, I dragged the box to the corners of the photo. To do that, click outside of the text box. A double arrow will appear as you go around the box. Click the arrow on each side and drag the box to the size you want it. You can resize the top and bottom of the box too.

I also centered my text. You can center your text in the pop up text box on the right of the screen. It is highlighted in the above picture.

The default text color is black, which definitely isn't going to work for my dark wood background. To change the color click on the box until the text is highlighted, see above picture. Then pick your color from the color block on the text pop up box. I chose basic white for mine.


You might need to change the size of  your font too. If so, click on the "Size" button in the pop up text box. You can make your text bold or italic, as well.


You can add as many text boxes as you want to your button. I added another one on the bottom of the button for my website. 


Once you have your button exactly as you want it, click on the "save" button at the top of the screen. Name your button and save it as a jpeg. I also keep the quality on "Pierce". 

Uploading Your Button

Once you have your button saved, you'll need to upload it to an image hosting site. I use Photobucket. It is free and easy to use. 

On Blogger you can add your button with the image gadget or the html/Javascript gadget (click on the highlighted links to see how to add your button with each gadget). If you want to get a little fancy you can add a button code under your button, so others can "grab" your button for their blogs. You can read how to that, here.

There you have it! Enjoy your brand spankin' new blog button!!!

How to Blog without Breaking the Bank - Part 3: Embellish A Blog


So you have chosen your platform, set up your domain name, and figured out which template design is perfect for your blog. Now you are ready to add some bling to your blog.

Social Media Icons


Social media icons are on every blog and website. If you purchased or downloaded a template social media icons were most likely included. But many times they are generic or plain. If you have a colorful blog or want to add some cute new icons you'll need to find or design your own.

Free Icons

You really don't need to design your own icons, unless you are looking for something very specific. There are all kinds of free social media icons out there.

Colorful
Lovelytocu (shown above)
Whimsy & Hope
Beautiful Dawn Designs
Designs by Miss Mandee
Carrie Loves
A Typical English Home

Simple
Lovelytocu
Kay Brighton
The Dutch Lady Designs
A Typical English Home
Design Bolts

Whimsical
Lovelytocu
Fribly
Blogtacular
Free Sketch
Rakshi Creations

These are just a few of the hundreds of free social media icons available. You can find more on Pinterest, or if you are willing to spend a bit of money check on Etsy and Creative Market.

Blog Buttons

Creating a blog button is a super simple and a 100% free way to promote yourself. Whether you want to drive traffic to your blog or a specific post, like a craft-a-long, creating and posting a blog button on your blog is free advertising. You can't beat that! And, you can create your own blog button in no time and with absolutely NO money!!!

Designing A Button

The easiest way to create a blog button is with a photo editing program. When you think of photo editing programs you probably think of Photoshop. Photoshop is the granddaddy of all photo editing programs. It is super awesome, but it is also super expensive.

The good news is you don't have to spend big bucks on Photoshop. Thanks to the internet, you can use a free online editing program.

There are quite a few free programs you can choose from:

Canva
Fotor
Ribbet
BeFunky
LunaPic
Pixlr
Picmonkey

Picmonkey is the program I use, but I have also been tinkering with Canva. For blog buttons, Picmonkey is probably a better choice.

I thought it might be good if I put together a quick and easy tutorial for designing a blog button. I'll be using Picmonkey and I'll show you how I designed my stashbuster challenge button. Check back on Friday for the tutorial.

Free Blog Buttons and Graphics

If you don't want to design your own buttons or other graphics, there are plenty of free blog embellishments all over the web. While they won't let you promote yourself or your blog, they will make your blog pretty and will let your personality shine through.

Some places to find free blog graphics:

Shabby Blogs
The Sits Girls
Kate Stevens
Starsunflower Studio Blog
Lisa Glanz
Angie Makes
Jones Design Company
We Lived Happily Ever After

Favicon

A final graphic to add to your blog is a favicon. A favicon is the little image that appears next to your blog URL.


I currently have a black heart as mine. I used a favicon icon generator to pick my icon. My black heart was already created, so I just downloaded a copy and loaded it to my blog. Favicon.cc has a ton of different premade icons. And if you want to tweak one, you can choose edit and change the size, color, or edit it completely.

If you want to create your very own icon, check out this awesome tutorial from Design Your Own Blog. I just might have to try to create my own favicon too.

Well, we are almost done with this mini blogging series. Be sure to check back next Monday for the final part of How to Blog without Breaking the Bank!