First of all, what the H is a gif?
Well, technically a gif is just a type of image file that can be either animated or static. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and just like a .png or .jpg, it represents a file extension type, e.g. picture.gif. The gifs you’re used to seeing are probably animated like this:
Gifs are a great way to express a sentiment that’s hard to express via a single image like “mind blown” (above).
I like to think of them as halfway between an image and a video. Or like a video without the commitment. I have used them here on the blog many times, especially for Workout Wednesday, to illustrate how to correctly perform a move, like this:
They’re also useful for making experiences come alive, like these two:
Gifs are also perfect for sharing clips of shows, movies, and videos that might be relevant to a situation you’re discussing. That’s why I made the one below, which is taken from Sex and the City, of which I am a total fangirl:
So let’s recap. Why should you use gifs?
- You want to express a sentiment that can’t be expressed with a single image
- You want to illustrate something (e.g. a step in a tutorial)
- You want to share a clip of a show, movie, or video that’s relevant to what you’re writing about
- You want to make an experience come alive for your readers
Okay, I get it. Now how do I make one?
You have a lot of options. The most non-committal option, and the best one for a rookie gif-maker (no shame in being a rookie), is to use a free online service to make your gifs.
Free online gif makers:
Imgflip is my favorite one. It is very easy to use and you can make gifs from a collection of photos OR from a video. Drawback: it has a watermark and can be slow to process.
Giphy is great if you want to make a gif out of a YouTube video. Just paste the video URL into the box and it walks you through the rest!
There are also a few different downloadable gif-making programs for when you are ready to kick it up a notch and turn the gif-ing up to 11.
Free downloadable gif-making programs:
Instagiffer. Available for Mac and PC. It has a great function that allows you to capture your computer screen as you use it, which is how I made the gif I used to show how Giphy works above. Whoooaaa, so meta.
PicGif Lite. Only available for Mac. I have used this one a lot and it’s my favorite.
K. I made a gif. Now how do I put it on my blog?
The best way is to upload it to Imgur and then insert it into your blog post via URL.
Why can’t I just upload the gif to my Wordpress media library? Well, you can, but because there is a file size limit to the media library, I like to just skip the potential hassle and upload all my gifs to Imgur. Plus, it’s free to sign up for an Imgur account, and if you want to use a gif again down the line, it’ll be saved right there in your Imgur library.
Once you’ve uploaded it to Imgur, copy the URL to the right of the image that says “Original GIF Link”.
In the WordPress post editor, click “Add Media” and then “Insert from URL”. Just paste the URL in the box, adjust the alignment, alt text, etc. as desired, and click “Insert into Post”. Done!