Nowadays, there are millions of websites online that have been quickly thrown together to turn a quick buck – and us web surfers can easily tell. If your website is to stand out, you are going to have to make an effort.
Many of those websites were created using Joomla, Mambo or WordPress. These content management systems make it easier than ever for anyone to quickly throw up a professional looking website making it more important than ever to go that extra mile to add a professional set of graphics to the site.
Graphics are known by everyone, but they are sadly often under-utilized. Website graphics grab visitors, increase engagement, keep them on the website longer, and can increase your sales and your opt-in rates.
Back in 1999 when I created my very first website using Microsoft’s FrontPage, most of us were limited to dial-up Internet access and it was painfully slow. Images took eons to load, so by default we kept graphics to a minimum.
Today, most of us have Internet connections that are amazingly fast, however. So now there’s no excuse for not using graphics to add that extra punch.
Whether you already own a website or just setting one up, you can utilize graphics to gain an edge over the competition. Though you may have heard otherwise, graphics can be very affordable when you outsource to freelancers.
The best freelancer website I have discovered is Elance (and I’ve used many). On Elance, you can easily post all your work in a single project (instead of a lot of small projects) to save money and then the freelancers will bid on it.
How the Process Works
You will find many professional graphic artists on Elance that know how to design icons, logos, graphs, cartoon characters, illustrations – virtually anything you can think of. On your end, all you have to do is sit down and organize a project in one sitting. You have to do the brainstorming first. Check out some of the sites you like online for inspiration and ideas. Really get your creative juices flowing.
Think of the process like you’re cobbling together a very detailed email to send to a prospective designer. Just ensure that your details are vivid so that you get the product you want.
One of the coolest things about the entire process is all the bids you’ll get from a vast array of designers that want to work on your project. If you favor a particular designer, you can choose them and put money for the project in escrow so that you can pay the freelancer as their work comes to you.
Before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful website that really shines and you’ll also have the increased conversion rates and revenue that go along with any such site.
Whatever you do, don’t make the common mistake of believing that your project is too simple or too complex for a freelancer from Elance. The professionals you’ll find over at Elance have expertise in all areas. Whether you need a simple graphics set such as those listed below or something as elaborate as hiring an infrared photographer I can pretty much guarantee you will find some to handle the job for you at Elance.
The 8 Conversion-Boosting Methods
Most site owners want beautiful graphics on their websites, but they don’t put forth the extra effort because they simply don’t know how to find a graphic designer or on which aspect they should focus. Using graphics, however, really boosts your opt-in rates and your sales.
1) Header Graphic – Every website needs a header graphic. Your header graphic should be kept simple; you don’t want anything too big or flashy that may turn away visitors. Personally, I’m a big advocate of placing your smiling face on the header to (literally) put a face on the site. This lets visitors to your site know that you are indeed a real person. Once again, make sure that you give your graphic designer clear directions so you get the product you want.
As an example I have included for you below the graphics my wife had created for a website she developed for moms struggling with a child with epilepsy.
2) Thumbnails – We’ve all seen thumbnails – those little graphics that are sprinkled everywhere online. Thumbnails are usually very affordable and can be made using the same headshot you used for your header. You can ask your graphic designer to give you a few varieties and sizes for use on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs and forums. It’ll help you stand out even more.
3) Banner Ads – For better or worse, we’ve all come across banner ads as we surf the Internet. Little banners featuring a warm welcome message are a snap to create and the graphic designer you’ve hired can make up a few variations for you to pick from. Again, you don’t want anything too flashy; focus on being enticing and polite.
4) Signature File – This is actually something that you can easily do yourself. Just sign a white, blank sheet of paper and scan it in your scanner. You can then insert the signature on your website, giving it a feel of authenticity.
5) Control Panel – This feature often falls under “specialty graphics” because of the complicated nature of it. The control panel basically consists of attractive, clickable graphics that allow visitors to your site to navigate it easily.
6) Promotional Graphics – Promotional graphics are things you can have your designer create for you for your podcast, for example, if you have one. Visitors won’t find your podcast if you don’t advertise.
If you don’t already have a podcast, I greatly recommend you start one as a great way to spread the word. My wife Arlene has had over 50,000 people download her epilepsy podcasts last I checked. To put it simply, it’s a lot easier to listen to you speak on a subject on an iPod than read text on your site.
7) Cover Art – If you have a book (even in PDF format), you’ll also want to have some cover art created. This art can be put on your site to bring life to your book and also encourages people to find it.
8 ) Newsletter – If you don’t already have a newsletter, you’ll want to create one. Your graphic designer can use the graphics he or she has previously created for you and make a nice-looking newsletter for you to distribute.
The End of Your Project is not THE END
Just because your project has ended, don’t think that your relationship with your chosen freelancer has to end. If you like the work your freelancer has done for you, you can use them for future projects.
In the future, you may need to retouch a photo on your site, for example. If you call upon the same freelancer you used before, you will find that you will probably find the whole process smoother and quicker because they are already familiar with the material.
At the end of the day, I know that you will discover that utilizing graphics will boost your sales and opt-in rates as I did. I welcome any questions you may have and would love to hear about your experiences in outsourcing.
Author: Since 1999, James Martell has worked full time is the affiliate marketing arena, building a reputation as a leading expert in the industry. He has coached countless others in the areas of outsourcing, SEO and is well known for his affiliate marketing training course called the “Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp”. James also hosts the “Affiliate Buzz”, the first and longest running podcast for affiliate marketers where newbies and veterans alike can keep updated on the events and changes in the affiliate world. James and Arlene live in a beautiful seaside community close to Vancouver B.C. Canada and have four children and one granddaughter.