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How to Create a Photo Header for Your Blog

March 1, 2010

One of the most challenging steps to starting a new blog (or website) on WordPress is creating a photo header for your site. Sure, most free themes include a stock photo, which is great … until you realize that thousands of other blogs are using the same photo! You’re one of a kind, so you need a unique header to brand your blog or website.

I’m a writer, not a designer. I know some basic image editing tricks and enough HTML to get myself into trouble. But, a graphic designer I am not. If you’re in the same boat, here’s a quick and easy way to create a great header for your blog or website (like the one at the top of this page).

  • Step 1: Determine the image size you need. On WordPress, go to your Dashboard. Then select Appearance > Header. This will show you the image size you’re allowed to use (e.g., for my theme, Vigilance, the size is 920 x 180 pixels).
  • Step 2: Find a great stock photo. There are actually several sites that provide access to free photos. You can try Google Images, or a free stock photo site such as Stock.XCHNG.
  • Step 3: Edit your photo. Once you find a photo, you’ll need to edit it to fit. If you don’t have fancy software like Photoshop, no worries. You can use Picnik to upload and crop your photo. There’s a handy “Upload Photo” button on the homepage that will allow you to import your photo into an “Edit” pane. Once you see your photo, just select “Crop” in the left margin, type the image size allowed for your header and click “Apply” (you may need to play with the image a bit to select the exact part of the photo you want to use).
  • Step 4: Add text to your photo: You’ll also want to add your company name or blog title to the photo so you can use it as a header. (I have to admit, this is the step that prevented me from doing a header for a long time!) Luckily, Picnik has got you covered. Just click the “Text” tab, type the content you want to display, and crop the text to fit it into your photo.
  • Step 5: Save your header to your desktop: While still in Picnik, select the “Save & Share” tab. Type in the filename (including file type, such as .jpg).
Then, just access your WordPress Dashboard, select Appearance > Header, upload the photo from your desktop, and you’re good to go!
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