Learn How To Create Basic Graphics

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Graphics For “Do-It-Yourselfers” If you’re dreaming about a flashy Web page, with lots of animated gifs and stunning image maps... Finish reading MYSS! 2002, and then come back here! Seriously! I’m not kidding. Amazing graphics don’t make sales. They increase page loading time, so your visitors arrive (if they even bother to wait) impatient and irritated. Even if your graphics are especially compelling, all they do is distract the customer from making the purchase. Not good!

The most important thing on your Web site is the TEXT! Forget about the graphics. All your Web page needs to be is clean-looking, neat, attractive, and functional... Make Your Site Sell! http://myss.sitesell.com/ Another great example...

Ultimatefatburner.com http://www.ultimatefatburner.com/ Simple, simple, simple! Do you need a stunning logo for your Web site? Once again, it’s not necessary!

Your logo doesn’t need to be elaborate. Visit the following examples. These are the top 6 “e-tailers” and their corresponding logos... (Source: PC Data Online) Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ Ticketmaster http://www.ticketmaster.com/ Pets.com http://www.petsmart.com/ Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ Drugstore.com http://www.drugstore.com/ CDNow http://www.cdnow.com/

See anything spectacular? I sure don’t. Simple. Easy to read. Functional. And that’s all your logo needs to be. You don’t have to be a graphics expert to create a satisfactory logo. Please, if you’re a newbie, don’t be intimated by all this stuff. Constructing a simple, attractive logo/banner is well within the grasp of a beginner. If the idea of constructing your own logo scares you to death, hire a professional, or try CoolText.com’s online logo generator. Chances are you can come up with something you can live with! CoolText.com http://www.cooltext.com/ If you’re on a tight budget, GotLogos will create your logo for a mere $25... GotLogos http://www.gotlogos.com/ The first step is to find some graphic software. Hmmm... where to start? The mother of all graphics programs is Adobe’s Photoshop... Adobe’s Photoshop http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html

Its power is undisputed. Unfortunately, it’s also rather expensive, tough to learn, and particularly user-unfriendly. If you’re familiar with Photoshop, or feel like a challenge, by all means use it. If you just want to bash out some decent graphics for your site without spending a year learning the finer points of graphic design, the following programs are simpler to use, cheaper, and in some cases, arguably just as powerful... A recent issue of PC World Magazine ranked PhotoImpact 5 a “best buy” in the “image editors” category. Yes, even against the mighty Photoshop... Ulead’s PhotoImpact http://www.ulead.com/pi/runme.htm Fireworks is designed specifically for Web graphics, and integrates seamlessly with their WYSIWYG editor, Dreamweaver... Macromedia’s Fireworks http://www.macromedia.com/software/fireworks/

Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro http://www.jasc.com/ At this point, you have the tools to build your logo and graphics. You’re almost set! It’s time to discuss banners briefly...

Banners, Ahoy! In general, I don’t recommend putting banners on your site. No one clicks on them, and they hurt your site’s credibility. However, there may be a special situation where you require a banner. Suppose... ...You’re implementing an affiliate program. In that case, you will need banners for associates to display on their Web sites. Yes, banners are ineffective. No, most people won’t even look at them. Do I hear you asking... “Why use them at all?” Good question! Here’s the answer... When you’re faced with a choice between an affiliate member throwing up your banner or doing nothing at all, you’re better off with the banner. Even .5% is better than nothing. Sure, your “super affiliates” know the importance of PREselling your product -- but for the vast majority, posting a banner will be the extent of their participation. (A banner advertising campaign is completely useless, as you’ll find out later.)

[ Page 39 of 802 ] Click to order -> https://secure.sitesell.com/myss2002/order.html MYSS! 2002... Introduction You have two choices when it comes to banner ads... 1) Contract the job out to professionals... Bannerworkz http://www.bannerworkz.com/ Lounge Lizard http://www.loungelizard.com/ Animation.com offers a very handy service. You can choose your banner, headline, or button according to your price (prices range from $1.99 to $125) and customize to your specifications. In order to download the finished version (unpaid graphics retain a “watermark”), you pay with your credit card... Animation.com http://www.animation.com/server/bannershop/affiliatesite/pwbannergallery.asp 2) If you’re on a shoestring budget, you may wish to attempt building your own... Difficult? Nope. Simple static banners are still within the realms of what a beginner can accomplish. But, and this is one BIG but... Be forewarned! Banners still remain an important “branding tool.” If your banner looks terrible, customers will assume the same of your company. Your banner is your virtual billboard in cyberspace. Make sure banners look decent. If not, save up for a professional job, or leave well enough alone for the time being. Want to give it a try? Building a static banner is easy. Best of all, you have several options...

Your best bet is to simply use a generic template, and customize it with your own text. Some potential sources... Creative Connectivity has a page full of templates. Download them to your computer (right click with your mouse and choose “Save Image As...”). Use your graphics editor to add your own text. This takes a little more effort, but a graphics editor will usually do a better job of adding customized text than an online service... Creative Connectivity http://www.crecon.com/ Quick Banner is a free service that provides dozens of templates and lets you customize banners online... Quick Banner http://www.quickbanner.com/ Media Builder offers a free banner generator as well... Media Builder http://www.mediabuilder.com/ Your other option is to build the banner from scratch in a graphics editor. Just decide on the dimensions, and build a single gif image to those specifications. Unless you’re a pretty competent graphics designer, here’s what I’d suggest... • Use riveting text -- and don’t use too much of it!

• Keep it simple. Very simple! • Make sure it’s easy to read, with one uncomplicated, legible font. • Finish with a call to action -- i.e., “Click Here!” • Keep file size to a minimum. • Be honest with yourself! No one wants to admit their “golden goose” is an “ugly duckling.” • Get a second and third opinion from people you know will tell you the truth. Animated banners are simply a couple of gif images strung together by an animator program (not a difficult process). Use a graphics editor to build a series of gif images. Then use the “wizard” function of an animation program to string them together. The animation program displays each image after an allotted period of time so the banner appears to be animated. However, it’s merely a series of images displayed one after another. The best animated banners are very small -- only a few frames/images are used. This is essential if you want to keep file size to a minimum. It’s very tempting to get carried away, so be careful with your experimentation. Here are two animation programs to research... Ulead’s Gif Animator http://www.ulead.com/ga/runme.htm

Jasc Animation Shop http://www.jasc.com/ (Free with Paint Shop Pro) Although there are services that will let you build free animated banners online, I’ve yet to see one that produced the kind of results I’d put on my Web site. Bottom line for animated banners is... • experiment with building your own. • save up for a professionally done one! Oh yes, and... If you’re joining a banner exchange program, make sure you know all the dimensions -- in pixels, and kilobytes. There’s nothing worse than spending hours getting it “just right” to find out you’ve exceeded the kilobyte restrictions. Phew! Just one last thing, and you’ll be ready for anything...

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