When I first got my start online back in 1999, I assembled my initial website using Microsoft FrontPage. At the time people accessed the Internet using a dial-up connection and it was just excruciatingly slow. It took ages to load up images, so we were pretty much forced to keep graphics to a bare minimum.
Nowadays, of course, arguably most of us have high-speed Internet and can easily zip around the Internet. So now web developers don’t have an excuse for not having top-notch graphics on websites. Even the simplest site is using graphics, so therefore we all have to try harder.
Wisely using graphics really is the key to outwitting your competition. And if you use freelancers to do your graphics it can be very affordable.
If you asked me to recommend just one freelancer website, I would have to say it would be Elance. Just put all your ideas for your site into one project (to save some cash), post it on Elance, and the freelancers there will bid on it.
How the Elance Process Works
There are a ton of pro graphic designers on Elance that know everything there is to know about creating cartoon characters, icons, graphs, logos, illustrations – it runs the gamut. The thing is, on your end you do have to do some work. In just one sitting, sit down, focus, brainstorm, put your nose to the grindstone and organize your project. You can look at some of the websites you admire to bring some ideas to mind if it helps.
Don’t be put off by the work involved; think of it like you’re putting together an exceedingly detailed email to send to a possible graphic artist. The more details you provide, the closer the finished product will be to your vision.
When it comes time to make your final choice, you’ll probably be able to whittle down the list of prospects pretty easily. You’ll get submissions from graphic artists all over the world; some that fit your ideal, some that don’t.
If a particular graphic artist’s work catches your eye, you nominate them and put their payment in an escrow account. Then you can release the money in escrow as the work comes to your inbox. Before you know it, your freelancer will have created a top-notch website for you and your revenue and conversion rates will get a boost also.
Many people will assume that a simple freelancer, not knowing that freelancers really are pros, can’t handle their project. Freelancers are usually essentially small business owners (though some are actually firms of several individuals), and they really know their craft. Whether you need the expertise of an infrared photographer or a graphic designer to create a set of graphics and images as shared below you will more than likely for the right person for the task at Elance.
8 Expert Tips
Most website owners want their website to have great graphics, but they stop short because they simply don’t know where to start in finding a graphic designer or where they should focus when it comes to graphics. Having great graphics, however, really can boost your sites’ opt-in rates and sales if applied appropriately.
1) Header Graphic – Every site worth talking about has a header graphic. When deciding on a header graphic for your site, avoid anything too large or flashy; you just want a simple graphic that draws the viewer in. Personally, I always encourage others to put their smiling face on their header graphic to let visitors to their site know that a real person runs the site.
As an example, I have included below some of the graphics that were developed for my wife Arlene’s website which she constructed specifically to provide assistance to mothers who are dealing with an epileptic child in need of support.
2) Thumbnails – Thumbnails are cheap and simple to create using your header headshot photo. Ask your graphic artist to create a batch of thumbnails for you to use on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and blogs.
3) Banner Ads – Banner ads are the (often irritating) graphics that you see running across the tops and bottoms of websites. Your banner, of course, should not be irritating; you will find that a welcoming, polite message can be very inviting. Banners are simple to design and your designer can mock up a few variants for you.
4) Signature File – Your signature file is simply your signature in a digital format. Just put your signature a blank sheet of paper and scan it with your scanner. You can then insert it below your site’s introductory message, for example, for a feel of authenticity.
5) Control Panel – Control panels tend to be complicated and are listed under “specialty graphics.” Your control panel will probably be the toughest part of your project, so before you hire anyone make sure he or she is confident in designing one. The control panel essentially allows visitors to navigate the website using a striking, interactive graphic.
6) Promotional Graphics – If you are podcasting, you’ll need some promotional graphics. People won’t hear your podcast if you don’t let them know how to find it.
If aren’t already podcasting, I highly recommend it. It is a splendid way to let others know about your message. Arlene’s podcast alone has had over 50,000 downloads! Podcasting works so well because many folks prefer to listen to their IPods on the treadmill, rather than reading website text.
7) Cover Art – A lot of Internet marketers have books out, some of them only PDFs. Even if this is your situation, you can still have some cover art drawn up to bring in more readers.
8) Newsletter – A newsletter is vital, if you don’t already have one. Your graphic designer can simply use the graphics he or she has already created to make a consistent, eye-catching newsletter for you to distribute.
Form Relationships with Freelancers You Like
The end of your project does not mean the end of your relationship with your freelancer. If you found that working with them was really smooth and productive, keep in touch with them. You never know when you might need them. Who knows, some day you may need to retouch a photograph on your website. If you call upon the same artist who designed your site’s graphics in the first place, you will find that the entire process will be much smoother.
I’m confident that you will find that utilizing graphics to be as fruitful as I have for boosting sales and opt-in rates. I welcome any questions you have and can’t wait to hear your outsourcing stories.
About the Author
James Martell has been a full-time affiliate marketer since 1999 and has been teaching his techniques and winning strategies to others since 2001. He is a recognized expert in affiliate marketing, natural search engine optimization, and outsourcing and is also a sought after speaker at industry conferences. James hosts the“Affiliate Buzz” on WebmasterRadio.FM and lives with his wife Arlene and their 4 kids in a seaside suburb of Vancouver, BC Canada.