A Guide To Creating Infographics + 7 Infographic Tools

Infographics are probably one of the best ways to represent information, grow your blog, and get your point across to readers. They are reader-friendly, quick & easy to digest, and are much more engaging, holding your readers’ attention (which lowers your bounce rate).

Contrary to popular opinion, infographics are neither incredibly expensive nor very time-consuming to create. However, creating a simple infographic requires a decent amount of time (3-4 hours). If you’re not ready to spend that much time for a single infographic, outsourcing is always an option, although a few professional graphic designers charge thousands for complicated, detailed infographics.

If you’ve got the time however, and you haven’t got the money, then creating your own infographics are the way to go. You don’t need stellar artistic abilities or geeky photo editing skills (although they certainly do help!). Here’s a comprehensive list of over 20 infographic creation tools, both free and paid, that you can start using today to meet all your infographic needs.

(clicking on the names of each tool will open them up in a new tab)

1. Piktochart

Free with optional paid upgrade.

Of all the free infographic tools out there, Piktochart has to be my favorite. It’s quick, it’s easy, and the amount given away in the free version is absolutely mind-blowing. Additionally, Piktochart is a web-based app, meaning that you don’t have to download anything, and all your infographics are autosaved in their own cloud storage.

Piktochart has a wide array of preset templates you can use to get started right away (although you can start from scratch if you wish). Of their 110 themes, only 6 are available in the free version. The free version also comes with access to a wide range of pre-loaded graphics, although it requires you to display a Piktochart watermark on your infographic.

The paid version starts at $14/month.

2. Infogr.am

Free with optional paid upgrade

Infogr.am is one of the most popular infographic tools, with over 110,000 infographics already created with their users. The signup process is easier than ever, as it allows you to sign up with either your e-mail, or Facebook/Twitter. Like most infographic tools, it’s a web-based app as well.

In comparison with Piktochart, Infogr.am is somewhat limited in its features. For example, all infographics created with the free version have to be shared publicly and all users are allowed to view it. Their design themes don’t even begin to compare with that of Piktochart although you do get one more (7).

The Pro upgrade, even though it costs 30% more than Piktochart, gets you little bang for your buck.

The paid version starts at $18/month.

3. Easel.ly

Free 

With over 360,000 infographics created on their platform, it’s safe to say that Easel.ly is probably THE most popular infographic tool, period.

First of all, the signup process in Easel.ly might be a mite confusing for non-WordPress users, as they require you to actually go to their WP login and sign up for an account via WordPress. However, it isn’t all that confusing and really shouldn’t cause you too much trouble.

The purpose of Easel.ly seems to be to provide the easiest free solution to infographic creation. It’s all about creating your designs as quickly as possible with as little hassle as possible. It uses a cool drag & drop builder which makes it by far and away the best tool to create infographics if what you’re going for is newbie-friendly.

If you’re ready to get your hands a bit dirtier and you have a bit more time to learn the game, then I would suggest going with something a little bit more featured.

4. ManyEyes

Free

Many Eyes was created by IBM specifically to visualize data. Although it’s not a dedicated infographic creation tool, it can come in remarkably handy with the wide array of pre-loaded visualizations and customizations you can include to make your graphic outstanding.

Data & statistics are the driving forcse behind any infographic, which is what makes Many Eyes such a nifty tool. The process couldn’t be any easier too – all you have to do is upload your data (spreadsheets or in plain text), pick your layout, and share! What’s also cool is that Many Eyes is great for creating Wordles and WordClouds – cool designs that are great to bring a bundle of ideas/subjects together in one single image.

I’d recommend using this tool to create your data charts, and then uploading them to another dedicated infographic tool like Piktochart to customize them and “make ’em look pretty”.

5. VennGage

Free with optional paid upgrade

VennGage offers two solutions in one site – social analytics and infograph creation. For our purposes, we’ll stick to the infograph creation. 😉

When you click on the above link, you may be directed to a “malicious site” warning, particularly if you use Google Chrome. Ignore it – VennGage is perfectly harmless (some computer applications think they know everything…). The signup process via e-mail is quick and painless.

The features of the free version, however, are quite limited. All infographics are branded, and there’s a limit to the amount of infographics you can create in any given month. The good news, however, is that there are a ton of templates to choose from, most of which are free. There’s literally one for every occasion – calendars, financial planning, plain charts, everything. They’re all expertly designed as well.

VennGage is not quite as user friendly or “noobproof” as the other infograph tools are and the process of actually creating a graphic is quite a bit more time-consuming (especially since the web app has a bit of lag to it). It makes up for that by having an incredible range of features and customizations under its hood.

The paid version starts at $5/month.

6. Visual.ly

Free

Even though the signup process on Visual.ly is just a mite confusing (they offer a wide range of services and the infographic creation tool is just one of them), it’s well worth the 2-5 minutes of frustration. Visual.ly allows you to create an infographic in literally seconds. That’s right – seconds.

Here’s what it does – choose a pre-loaded template, such as the “Weekly Insights” that shows last week’s traffic stats. When you get started with this template, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can login with your Google account to Google Analytics. They’ll automatically import all the information they need to create one beautiful infographic with all of last week’s traffic stats – pageviews, visitors, they do everything! It’s mind-blowing.

This is all for absolutely free. It’s positively the best reporting infograph tool I’ve ever come across. And remember – what I’ve mentioned is just what it can do with Google Analytics. It’s got a whole array of other things to try out. A no-brainer for sure.

All of it for absolutely zero cost.

7. Gliffy

Free

If you’re looking for flow-charts and diagrams, you’ve come to the right place. Gliffy is easy, quick, and painless to set up. You can be creating your very first infographic literally thirty seconds from now. Their drag and drop builder allows for the utmost ease of creating your infograph/chart.

Gliffy is particularly known for it’s flow-charts. It excels at these particularly, although it’s not too shabby in other departments either. Personally, I think it’s the best free solution out there for flow-charts, timelines, and text-based diagrams. You name it, Gliffy does it.

Price tag = zilch.

How To Create Infographics – The Step By Step Guide

These seven free infographic tools right at your fingertips are no use if you don’t know how to put them to use. Here’s the ultimate guide to creating an infographic.

First of all, you’re gonna want to keep in mind that infographics have one primary purpose – to display information. They cannot, and should not, take the place of blog posts. They’re much more time-consuming than creating a blog post, and posting an infographic on your blog should be a bit of a rare and special event – make sure you leverage its publication every time.

Choose A Fitting Topic

There are some topics and some subject ideas that simply don’t do well as infographics. Mostly, that range of topics will include very abstract, thought-based, creative articles that really don’t offer opportunity to tangible statistics.

On the other hand, there are some topics that are conveyed best with an infograph. These topics are likely to make concrete subject ideas and headlines, and they sound best when thoroughly backed up with statistics.

You’ll also want to choose something that fits right along with your niche. Obviously, if your blog teaches people how to lose weight, it’s a good idea to stay away from topics that include online marketing.

Pick The Right Template

Not only is an infographic heavily reliant on information, but it also needs a solid, meaningful design/background to back it up. This means that you need to choose wisely. If you go with the free version of Piktochart, you can choose from six great looking themes.

Ensure that you pick the right template for the right type of information. A flow chart merits more of a calendar-type display based on chronological order. Website traffic statistics depend more on pie charts. Also do your best to make sure that the color scheme of your infographic is somewhat consistent with your website theme and logo – it adds to your overall branding.

It’s All About Statistics

Image source - SXC.HU

Image source – SXC.HU

Stats, stats, stats. It’s all stats in the infographic game.

Percentages, decimal points and ___% of ___ demographic choose ___ over ___ types of things work very, very well on infographics. Nearly every detail you say needs to be backed up by statistics. Accurate, meaningful statistics that nobody really knows.

Statistics do two things – 1. Lend authority to your content, and 2. Make you sound smart. And we all know how important that second one is, don’t we? (although that first one just might be a mite important as well)

Use Lots Of Graphics

It’s an infographic. Thus, it makes sense to use quite a few graphics, agreed?

Images are a must. Anything that fits along with the scene should go in there. Arrows, shapes, patterns, images – anything that’s not text and that would go well with your overall design, contributing to the infograph, is good. 

In fact, the majority of the finished project should be image/color/graphic – NOT text.

Graphics In Infographics

Image source – SXC.HU

But That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Use Text…

Use text – by all means. Just because graphics are imperative doesn’t mean that text isn’t…

Infographics have a special knack of bringing out the best in a chunk of text – they convey the meaning of the text much better than any ol’ black & white font ever could. However, they look best and are easiest to understand when you have a good amount of supplying text.

Give Credit Where It’s Due

If you took a bit of information, statistic or anything of the sort from a specific source, mention it in your infograph. This does two things.

First of all, it helps you avoid potential lawsuits for copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Secondly, it helps your readers know that you’re not making up all those statistics out of thin air. Using words and phrases like “according to ___, in a recent case study by ___, ___’s research team found that” add credibility to your work.

Make It Look Beautiful & Creative

This goes without saying. Infographics are all about looking good, being pleasing to the eye and creative.

Naturally, the “professional” infographs created on high-profile blogs will cost you quite a bit out of the pocket, as you might need to hire a graphic designer to make the end result a “sight for sore eyes”. This could run you up a few hundred dollars in the least.

You don’t NEED to have an artistic eye, but one sure would help. Just do your best, and make sure that you have it critiqued by an honest friend before final publication.

Add The Finishing Touches

Finish it all up, and make it one of the best projects you’ve ever done. Put in as much time and effort as is required. Don’t sacrifice quality for anything.

Hit Publish & Leverage

When you publish infographics on your blog, it’s all about leveraging them to generate as much traffic, response, user engagement and revenue.

Think about your target audience – are you going for U.S. residents? If so, you should probably post sometime mid-morning, as a recent case study by ProBlogger showed. Not too surprising is the fact that social media activity is hubbed around Friday evenings.

Do your best to leverage your infograph, and make the most of it. Since they are so shareable, they have the potential to get you that viral traffic which can result in hundreds (if not thousands) of new leads and prospective customers. Do your level best to get your infographic shared across some of the top blogs in your niche.

Additionally, you can also include HTML code right below the infographic that allows fellow bloggers to publish it on their own site with attribution to your blog for original publication plus a backlink.

Indeed – you should spend twice as much time promoting your post as you do writing it.

Summing Up

You just can’t go wrong with infographics. Create your own today using one of the seven free tools listed above. Here’s a quick recap of the steps involved in creating the perfect infograph:

  1. Choose a relevant topic fitting for your blog that would be represented best in an infograph.
  2. Pick the right template.
  3. Include a bunch of relevant statistics from authoritative sources.
  4. Use lots of graphics that go well with your site’s overall color scheme.
  5. Also include a good amount of supplementary text.
  6. Credit and source your information.
  7. Make it look pleasing to the eye.
  8. Add the finishing touches.
  9. Hit “Publish” and leverage potential traffic, leads, and revenue.

Get ahead of your competition with infographics!