"A picture is worth a thousand words..."

Creating infographics and turning stats into visualizations has been a form of communicating information for a very long time. However, maybe the best use for infographics is on the Web and have some solid benefits for Internet Marketing:

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There's a number of ways to exploit infographics. Here's a few suggestions:

Pinterest: Infographics are great to use on Pinterest. Not only can they go viral and be "repinned", by creating your own infographics you are in good shape concerning copyright laws. (Assuming you don't use any copyright protected material in your infographics)

Pinterest Suggestion: Recipes are "fair use" and can't be copyright protected, only the presentation can. Be creative and make a list of ingredients, then use a "mind map" to turn recipes into infographics. Maybe add a photo or clip art to dress it up. You can do the same thing with many step by step "how to's". Be sure to put them in your own words and create an entirely new graphic presentation using mind map software.


Twitter Images - When 140 characters isn't enough. Twitter Images allows you to post images and infographics are a great way to publish more info that you can post in a normal tweet.

Instagram - Their site says, "Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – it's as easy as pie. It's photo sharing, reinvented."

Google Image Search - Images can deliver some serious Google traffic and give you another weapon in your marketing arsenal. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to learn how to optimize images infographics.

Photo Sharing Sites - By creating infographics instead of always writing text, you can submit them to the photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Photobucket Pro and more. These sites can bring you attention and traffic, as well as linking opportunities for SEO.

Submit to Slideshow/PowerPoint Sites - Some infographics and visualizations can be produced using PowerPoint and/or Open Office Impress. Upload them to sites like Scribd, Slideshare and Zoho for even more marketing reach.

Make YouTube Videos - After you've created slideshows from infographics, you're only a small step away from exploiting all the potential submitting videos to Youtube gives you.

Check out my WSO for the ultimate guide to marketing in Youtube.


Content - And don't forget that infographics and visualizations make create content for your sites and blogs, adding depth, interest and professionalism to your pages. They can be interactive and animated. Many of the free resources included below will even host your infographics and visualizations for free.

Free Infographics and Visualization Tools You Need to Know

Tableau Public - A very cool and powerful Windows desktop program that creates great-looking, one of a kind charts and interactive visualizations. Be sure to check out the Tableau Public Gallery for design inspirations and ideas. See how Tableau Public works here.

Demo of Tableau





ManyEyes - Probably my favorite infographic resource. A great site by IBM that allows you to create "visualizations" using either your own data or data stored on the site. You can choose different styles, fonts, colors and more to display your infographics.

How to Use Many Eyes





Google Data Sets - Similar to ManyEyes, but not quite as good, IMO. Still, a good resource to check out.


Intro to Google Public Data Sets





Visual
.ly - A fantastic infographic site. Create, share, publish infographics and visuals. Connect your account to Facebook and Twitter and much more. Visual.ly is a "must checkout"!

What is Visual.ly?



There's a number of Visual.ly videos on YouTube.



Wordly - Another favorite. Just add some text and Wordly creates a visualization. Uses a "word cloud" so the more times a word is used in the text, the bigger it will appear. It can also import RSS feeds. Note: Wordly uses Java to create the images. This means you can't save the image directly to your computer. However, it the Wordly license it says it's OK to take a screen shot and save it that way.




To make a screen shot, after you've created your Wordly:
  1. press the "prt scrn" button on your keyboard.
  2. Open Paint (Start => All Programs => Accessories => Paint)
  3. Paste into Paint
  4. Crop the image
  5. Save as jpeg (png or gif is OK too)
Here's more info about taking screen shots from Wordly.

Tip: Once you get your Wordly visual into Paint (or your favorite graphics editor), add a simple picture, avatar or clipart to give it some more "oooomph".



Tagxedo - A very good text visualization tool similar to Wordly, but with many more features and controls. The problem with Tagxedo is the usage license, which is for non-commercial use only. The TOS also states they own the copyright to the images created and add a copyright notice to the bottom of each graphic. If you are OK with this, Tagxedo produces some very cool results.




Tip: For tons of ideas to make text-based infographics, do google searches for:
"list of ______"
"big list of ______"
"_______ word cloud"

...etc.

Collect your lists and make text-based infographics you can use on Pinterest, Facebook, forums, YouTube videos, sites and blogs.




StatSilk - (Formally called "Stat Planet") Has a number of free downloads to help creating infographics focusing on world maps and countries of the World. Download page

StatSilk (StatPlanet) Interactive Map Maker





Hohli - Fast and simple way to create pie charts, line graphs, bar charts, scatter plots, radar charts and Venn diagrams.

Hohli Tutorial Video on Youtube:




yED - A good, free flow chart creator and will run on Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac OS. See yED in action in the short video below:


Make Sweet - Easy and fun way to make 3D Venn diagrams consisting of two over-lapping circles.


MakeSweet Basics




Gapminder - Adobe Air based program so it will run on Windows, Mac and Linux. Creates impressive visualizations and includes a self-updating data base of World facts and statistics.

Creately.com
- An online flowchart creator with some good looking templates. Free version is limited to 5 diagrams a month. Can upgrade your account to unlimited diagrams for $5 a month.

Creately Tutorial (Note: Collaborations aren't available in the free version)



More Free Online Graph and Flowchart Resources:

Amcharts.com - Flash charts maker
ArtViper.net CSS Chart Generator - "On-the-fly" fast bar chart maker
Barchar.bet - Simple online tool for tool for bar charts
Bubbl.us - Brainstorm online
Cacoo.com - Create site maps, wire frames, UML and network charts
ChartGizmo.com - Variety of charts
ChartGo.com - Make charts online quickly.
Chartle - Java based online tool to make charts
ChartPart.com - Quickly create charts online
Create A Graph - nces.ed.gov - Selecty five different graphs and charts
DIYChart.com - Easy and powerful online tool to create interactive charts and graphs  
FusionCharts Gadget - Google Gadget creates animated flash charts
Grapher - amblesideprimary.com - Very fast and easy, but with few features
Gliffy.com - Flowcharts, mind maps, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings.
Highcharts.com - Add interactive charts to your site
LovelyCharts.com - Free online diagram editor
Mind42.com - Online mind mapping application.
Online Chart Generator chartgen.blogspot.com - Easy chart maker - 9 different styles
OnlineChartTool.com -  10 chart styles
PieColor.com - Nice pie chart maker
ProductPlanner.com - Creates product flow charts
SlickPlan.com - Online sitemap  and flowchart designer
yUML - Makes UML/Mind maps and Flowcharts for use in web pages and blogs


More Data, Statistics and Content Resources and Suggestions

Copyrights - Statistics and facts can't be protected by copyrights, only the presentation of those facts can be protected. By creating your own infographics and visuals using facts and statistics, you are creating a new and unique presentation for them.

Read more about US Copyright Law from the US gov site.


AibOnline - Stats about the food industry
All Fun and Games - Good collection of weird and funny stats
ClickZ Stats - Focus on marketing and advertising
Data360
datacatalogs.org – List of  data catalogs.
DataMarket
Daytum
EveryBlock – Data for large cities
Freebase – Data from Google.
Gallup – Public opinion polls
Gapminder - Time line data  for countries.
Get the Data – Answers for questions
Google Public Data -
InfluenceExplorer  – Political data
Knoema  –
Number Of –  Number of NASCAR Fans, Natural Disasters per Year, Number of NASA Employees and many more...
The Data Hub –  Easy data research tool
United Nations Statistical Databases
US CensusBureau  –
WorldBank Data  –
WorldMap

Also try:
Google Image Search for "funny statistics - Use for ideas.
Google for "funny statistics database"



Suggested "average" search queries:
The average _____ has
The average _____ weighs
The average _____ lives
The average _____ eats
The average _____ makes
The average _____ owns
The average american male
The average girl's guide
The average elevation
The average length of a _____ 
The average height of a _____
The average value of _____ is
The average cost of a _____ is
The average size of a  _____ is
The average temperature of _____ is
The average hourly wage for  _____ is
The average salary  _____ is
The average price in 2012 for  _____ is
The average price of _____ is
The average cost of a ton/pound/oz of  _____ is


More Free Map Resources

GunnMap - Free online custom world map resource
StatSilk Map Maker - See above for more info
Free World Maps Collection - A vast assortment of VECTOR maps of the World


More Content Ideas for Infographics:


Quotes and Jokes/Humor - There's many good sites with collections of jokes and quotes, and I won't list them here. However, they make great content for infographics and often can go viral on social sites like Pinterest and Twitter.

Images
Morguefile.com - While the images on MorgueFile aren't in the public domain, they do offer the most liberal usage license of any of the only picture sharing sites. You can use them for just about anything and you don't even need to give attribution. Be sure to read the Morguefile license here.

PublicDomainPictures.net - Has a great selection of free quality pictures, backgrounds, lighting effects and more for personal and commercial use.


Audio/Video - Archive.org offers a wide variety of public domain works:
Archive.org moving pictures (Includes movies and television)
Archive.org audio


Ratings - Create info graphics for Amazon products and be sure to include an appealing graphic. However, be careful about using product pictures themselves, as they may be copyright protected. Instead, create a chart or graph of the average ratings for two or more products, for example.

Trends - Trends are great to convert to infographics. Here's a few ideas to find and exploit popular trends:
  • Google Trends - Enter multiple related keywords to compare trends, then convert to your own infographic
  • Youtube Trends - Find trending topics as well as create videos from infographics.
  • Trendsmap Twitter Trends - Create infographics based on Twitter trends, then upload as Twitter Images to exploit hot Twitter subjects to drive lots of traffic.
  • Amazon Hot New Releases - Discover the products that are new and hot on Amazon.

Infographic Design Tips and Tools

Infographic Designs - Here's an excellent article detailing the hows, whats and whys of infographics.


The 7 Steps to Successful Infographics - An interesting article by a journalist giving the 7 1/2 steps she uses to create interesting infographics.


GraphicRiver.net- Graphic River sells infographics mostly intended for print. IMO, their license is a little expensive and restrictive to use for Pinterest and other web project, unless you need something of very high quality. However, it's free to browse and a great resource to help stimulate your creative design juices. Check it out if you need some design inspiration. Here's a search I did on GraphicsRiver for Infographics

123rf.com infographic templates
- Also sells vector-based templates for infographics. Another good source of inspiration.

YouTube is always a great place to learn and discover...Here's a couple of "infographics" related YouTube searches:

Infographics
infographics tutorial
infographic design

More Infographic Resources


12 options for creating cartoon characters -  Cartoon-ize: Want to include a pic of a celebrity or famous person in your infographic, and still respect copyright laws? Maybe "cartoon-izing" that person is the answer. Or create cartoon look-alikes...Here's a web page that reviews  to use in your infographics.


Jashaka.com - Jashaka is a free program similar to Adobe After Effects, which creates animations and special effects for videos. If you want to animate your infographics and create videos for them for Youtube, etc, without paying for After Effects, give Jashaka a look. The program hasn't been updated in a few years, but a new version is expected to be released in the summer of 2012. Also be sure to visit Youtube for Jashaka tutorials.


8 Quality Infographic Vector Collections - If you're good at design and understand working with vector images, give these collections a look-see.

Free Infographic Vector Design Kit - I had problems getting the download link when I gave my email address. But give it a shot, it looks pretty cool. From the site: "Included in this set is a world map, gender elements, as well as multiple pie and bar charts. You can easily combine and modify all the elements to create a distinctive infographic. The elements in the kit can be used for personal and commercial purposes."

Free Infographic Building Resources - A good collection of PSD and vector images designed for making infographics. Includes charts, maps, "pins", icons and more.


5 Free Vector Image Programs - This site reviews the 5 best vector image programs. You are probably more familiar with paint programs, such as Photoshop, Gimp and Windows Paint. But when creating infographics, you may have a need to be able to work with vector images. I won't get into detail, but there's two ways to create images on a computer The most common is called paint/raster. The other method is called draw/vector. Simply, "paint" uses pixels and you can control it on a pixel by pixel basis. "Draw" or vector uses math to draw lines and curves.

After you choose a program (I suggest Inkscape), you can find all sorts of tutorials on Youtube.

Youtube search for Inkscape Tutorials for Beginners



PowerPoint and Open Office Impress Templates - Both PowerPoint and Open Office Impress have built in graph and chart features.

Gallery of PowerPoint Presentations - Good, quality assortment of infographic-based PowerPoint templates.


Don't forget to google for keywords like:
"free Open Office Impress templates"
"free PowerPoint templates"


Color Scheme Design Tools


If you are "color challenged" like I am, these tools are your best friend when it comes to picking colors that go well together.

ColorSchemer - Creates matching color schemes using a wider variety of colors.

Color Scheme Designer 3 - A excellent tool for creating matching color combinations.

Color Wizard - Color Scheme Generator - Creates matching color schemes for any color entered.

Color Palette Generator - Enter the URL of an image to get a color palette that matches the image.


Final Tips:

Unless you're very talented with graphics, keep it simple. From a marketing point of view, a simple infographic can go a long way. Your goal is to be productive, not Picasso.

Use the color schemers above. Just getting your colors to match can have a big impact on how good your infographics look.

Add your URL to each infographic. Not only do you want credit for making it, you can brand your site at the same time.





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