How You Can Create Effective Infographics that people actually want to read (for FREE)

Hello, Internet Neighbour!

It's pretty well known that people judge articles by their cover image. I'd like to think otherwise, but that's how it is. There are just so many articles out there that just having a great headline isn't enough.

Have you ever thought of creating an infographic but not willing to shell out money for expensive software that you might not even know you'll end up using? (not to mention the time you have to invest to learn to do something useful with it)

I've tried Fiverr for infographics, but even though they did a good job, I ended up having to wait for days and ended up editing the final infographic myself anyways, so it's not like I saved any time.

In this post, you'll learn how to do just the essentials to make your own infographics and title images real easily because you're not starting from scratch.

So if you're ready to reduce the time it takes you to edit images, get ready.  Here we go.

Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Here's how you do it.

I just learned about Google Drawings last week and I'd like to show you how to use it efficiently.

Here are some quick and dirty videos I've made:

How to add text to an image:

How to apply the 'zoom in' effect to a screenshot:


The Infographic

Here's the infographic I've made to help you make infographics (I know… that's some meta shit right there)


Download Your Free Template

Are you spending way too long trying to create nice images for your blog/social media posts?

Download my free image template and I'll teach you how to use the free Google Drawings service to help you can edit the designs for your needs.

Post Mortem: Stuff I've learned after the fact...

After making the infographic, I've compiled a few learnings that might help you:

Resizing the canvas to make it longer will screw up the scaling, just start out with a very long image and shorten it if necessary.  If you really need to extend the height, make a long rectangle and drag it to the bottom of your screen, then scroll down and use the resize handle on the canvas.

Google Drawings doesn't export long images properly in png or jpg format, you must export as svg, then find a converter like https://cloudconvert.com/

Use an actual placeholder image in your template sections (and apply the mask), then use replace image (rather than using a placeholder shape like I did)

If you have white text and use a different font, copy and paste your text into notepad.exe before copying it onto your infographic. This is so that you can paste as plain text. Otherwise, your text will get pasted as black even though you want the text to be white.

Can't be bothered with this? Go to Fiverr.com and pay someone to do this - try to ask if they can make an infographic for you in Google Drawings so you can edit the text later. You'll have to send them the text (for the infographic content) beforehand.

Google Sheets : More Useful Than You Think

Hello Internet Neighbors!

Are you frustrated with spreadsheets?  Yeah, I know the feeling.  You probably know the basics, but there is just one little thing that you can't figure out... It sounds easy, but how the heck do you do it?

While I don't consider myself an expert, I know a few tips and tricks and have helped people with Excel, but it seems like Sheets is more popular online and I like the ability of looking up stock prices and sharing/embedded charts.

The guide covers just the most common features that you would use. The following infographic might help you out, (copyable text comes right after).

Let me know your favorite spreadsheet usages or if you have any questions, let m e know  in the comments below!

Try Out the Formulas

Head to sheets.google.com and try these formulas
  • =GOOGLEFINANCE("GOOG","price")
  • =COUNTIF(B:B, ">3")  - Count the number of items greater than 3
  • =COUNTA(B:B) - Count the number of non blank cells
  • =UNIQUE(B:B) - Show only unique items of column B
  • =IMAGE("the URL of image")
  • All the formulas (from the Google documentation)

Split Up Items

Do you ever run into situations where you want to make a comma separated into 2 or more columns?

Highlight the data, then go to: Data > Split Text To Columns

(you can specify another character to split on besides commas)

Filter Data

Once you have your data split into columns, you can assign names to each one of your columns

Now, go to Data > Filter

The Index-Match Formula

Q: You have two sheets mapping two different properties. How do you combine them?

A: Create a new column (in Sheet1) and use the “index match” formula

=index( [column to output (in table 2) ] , match( [ cell value you want to look up] , [column to look up the value in] , false) , 1)

If the second table is in another worksheet, use 'Sheet name'!A:A to reference column A

  • You have to put the sheet name in SINGLE QUOTES

Color the cells automatically

Select the column

Go to: Format > conditional formatting

You can highlight (and format text of) the cell with the following conditions :

  • cell value contains some text you specify
  • cell value is greater/less than (or between) certain dates/numbers or letters​

Count ALL THE THINGS!!!

So you have a list of items and want to count how many of each?

Select column A

Go to: Data > Pivot Table

  1. Under ‘Rows’, click Add field and select the column heading (e.g. ‘choice’)
  2. Under ‘Values’, click Add field and select the same column heading
  3. Select ‘COUNTA’ to count the number of entries

Embed Charts on Your Site

Select the columns/cells you want a chart for

Hold down Ctrl to select multiple cells

Go to : Insert > Chart

Did you know? You can get HTML embed code to publish the charts on your website!

Don’t have a site? Use sites.google.com create one quickly - if you can copy and paste text, then you can do this!

For website owners: Your Google Analytics in Charts

Using the Google Analytics spreadsheet add-on, you can: show visitors by country/browser or show # visitors for the past two weeks (these are just a few examples)

​The charts can be embedded and automatically updated!

Here are my charts

Leave a Comment!

Keep Being Productive! Simplify the Way You Track Personal Tasks.

Hello Internet Neighbours!

What apps or techniques do you guys use to stay productive? I've evaluated and used a bunch of tools like Evernote, Asana, Wunderlist, etc. and I just found myself not using it because there were just too many clicks to go through. Now, I've been using Google Keep for a few years now, and I thought, wouldn't it be nice if there was a very quick start guide for people who don't really have the time to experiment with it?

The guide shows you how to organize your tasks and todos effectively with Google Keep. I've created an infographic, which is a tl;dr version of what the guide contains.

Finally, I'd be interested in knowing what productivity app you currently use - let me know in the comments below!

Not feeling productive some days?

Get some quick productivity mindsets.

The Infographic

If you use Pinterest, pin this by hovering over the image. Much appreciated!
Google Keep 7 Tips - Keep yourself organized!
Now a Word From the Advertiser

Finally... Get the guide 

Prime Perks (check your no-rush credits & get free* books)

Disclaimer

All the links in this post are my affiliate links for. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you – i.e. products won’t be marked up) if you buy the product as a result of clicking the link from this page.

No Rush Shipping Credits – How much do you have?

If you’ve ever taken bribes from Amazon (you chose no-rush shipping in exchange for $1 off digital goods), you’re probably wondering what your balance is. No worries, just go to http://efficientHacks.com/amazonbribe and look at the number under ‘Amazon MP3’ (which is repeated again under Video, software, etc.) – ignore the fact that Kindle Editions says ‘0’ – these credits still apply to Kindle books.
Just make sure the item you purchase says sold by “Amazon Digital Services LLC”.

Free*-to-borrow Bestsellers (*if you have a Fire/Kindle)

If you have a Prime Membership and a Kindle/Fire device, you can borrow one book/month from the Kindle unlimited selection (no additional cost) – more details here in another of my posts. Check out the Kindle Unlimited selection at: http://efficientHacks.com/kindleUnlimited

Free Trials

I personally use Amazon Prime and I think it’s awesome – just the Prime Music service itself is worth the cost ($99/year vs $120/year for Spotify).:
Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Get TWO Free Audiobooks

Kindle books in your web browser

If you want to read Kindle books in your browser, here’s the link Kindle in the browser

Create a Gift Registries

Getting married soon? Congrats! Create a Wedding Registry
Baby on the way? Congrats! (and good luck!) Create a Baby Registry

Products I Own and Use Daily

The Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) is not just for buying stuff off of Amazon – I use this for voice controlled Home Automation (video to come later). I also use it to play ‘Wheels on the bus’ for my son – a lot of times. It integrates well with Prime music (you can even tell Alexa to play a song title that you uploaded – you can upload 250 songs if you have Prime)
Kindle Paperwhite – This is the best reader – the batter lasts weeks and it has a built in back light

The Video

Free*-to-borrow books for Amazon Kindle!

Hello Internet Neighbors!

Do you struggle to find time to read books?  Me too.  I end up buying books that I never read... Why? It's because there's no urgency.  After I found out that I can get a free book to borrow each month with my Amazon Prime membership, I'm more prone to finish the book so I can borrow another one in the next month.

I challenge you read a book this month!  In the comments below, let me know what book you plan to read!  If you don't already have a prime membership, keep reading to see what else you can get with it.  (spoiler alert: it's a whole lot more than just 2 day shipping)

Free* Bestsellers?

The * means that you'll have to have both an Amazon Prime subscription AND a Kindle (e-reader or Kindle Fire - not the apps), which a lot of my friends and neighbors have. If that's the case, then you don't need to spend any more money, but keep reading as I'll show you which books you can lend for free. If you don't have a Prime subscription or a Kindle reader yet, see the next section.

Quick Tip: Prime members can borrow one Kindle Unlimited book/month at no extra cost.

Click to Tweet

If you have Amazon Prime, then I'm sure that Amazon has a feature called 'Kindle Owners Lending Library' (where you can borrow one book at the beginning of each month, and return it whenever you're done).  The major gripe I have with this is that it is pretty hard to find books that are 'Lending Library' eligible... however, I've discovered that ALL the "Kindle unlimited" books are eligible (Kindle unlimited is a $10/mth service that lets you borrow up to 10 books at a time).

Even then, there isn't really an easy to find link to see what books are part of Kindle Unlimited.

Don't have an Amazon Prime or Kindle?

Don't worry, I got you covered. You can get a Fire tablet for pretty cheap. The problem is that it is straining on the eyes if you read for a long time. I personally recommend getting an e-reader, there are refurbished ones that don't cost that much more than the Fire tablet.  But I'd get a new one (Kindle "Paperwhite") with a built in nightlight even though it's about twice that.  Totally worth it.

Kindle Fire tablet
Kindle e-reader refurbed
Kindle e-reader new w/backlight

Everyone knows that Amazon Prime gives you free 2day shipping, but it also includes ad-free music where you can choose the songs... just the music service itself is worth the cost ($99/year vs $120/year for Spotify - granted Spotify might have a better selection).  Get yourself a 30 day trial or give Prime to one of your co-workers/friends:

On to the good stuff

To find all 'Lending Library' eligible books, I recommend using a web browser and not the kindle as it is easier to browse. Here is a link to the search results.  Most of these books should be eligible for the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (borrow-for-free) program.  One book I recommend is 'Will it Fly' by Pat Flynn - it's a great read if you're planning to launch something and it's eligible to be borrowed for free.  There are a ton of other good books here!

Link to the Amazon search result for business books kindle unlim search results

As of 6/10/2016, here are the number of books in each category:
Accounting (3,891)
Biography & History (767)
Business & Money (64,670)
Business Life (8,153)
Economics (3,576)
Education & Reference (3,030)
Entrepreneurship & Small Business (15,318)
Finance (2,789)
Green Business (215)
Industries (11,772)
International (1,286)
Investing (3,881)
Job Hunting & Careers (3,885)
Management & Leadership (11,230)
Marketing & Sales (9,857)
Organizational Behavior (1,358)
Personal Finance (4,286)
Real Estate (1,911)
Skills (3,662)
Taxation (486)
Technology (445)
Women & Business (504)
If you only have the kindle, here's where you can go to filter the search results:
Kindle Unlimited

How does it work again?

Say you borrow a book on the 25th of June, come July 1st, you can return that one and borrow another. However you won't be able to return and borrow another until August 1st even if you return that book. So choose your books wisely! If you choose to hold on to the book that you borrowed on June 25 and return it in September, you will be able to borrow one book in September only (i.e. in the months that you don't borrow a book, there is no accumulation of 'borrows'). This is one motivation to read at least one book a month 🙂
But wait! There's more

Amazon has a program called Prime Reading, which allows you to borrow up to 10 books from a limited selection (but at no additional cost and you don't have to have a Kindle!)

Want to borrow more?

So the Kindle owners lending library only allows you to borrow one book a month, and you have to have a Kindle... Kindle Unlimited is a $10/mth service where you can borrow up to 6 books at a time, and return and borrow a new one at any time. You don't have to have a Kindle (you can use their app). If you want a free trial, you can get it here.

If you have a Prime membership, there is also a program called "Prime Reading" in which you can borrow 10 books from a smaller selection at no additional cost.​

Btw, there are Kindle books that are actually free, but the selection isn't that great. You might find some classics here though. Kindle books that are actually free

Also on Amazon

Recommended for You

disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. The products will not be marked up if you use my links, but if you did not find my article helpful, you don't have to use them.​

Pinterest Share

YouTube & Gmail Shortcuts

Hello Neighbors! Let’s take a look at some not so well known features of YouTube and Gmail! YouTube Features When on youtube, hit ‘f’ to toggle fullscreen Use the cogwheel > Speed option to zoom through tutorial videos Time waster for Android users: Search for ‘360 video’ and get a Google Cardboard to view the […]