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6 Eye-Catching Graphics that ALL Blogs Need

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Graphics for BlogsI don’t claim to be good at making graphics.

Nor do I have an ounce of artistic talent.

In fact when I was 8, my art teacher wouldn’t let me have a pair of scissors because I was too clumsy <— True story!

With all that said, I’m a firm believer that images can enhance the quality of any blog.

That’s why recently I’ve been working hard to improve the overall visual experience for readers.

The following are six types of graphics I’m currently using on this blog.  Each is specifically designed to enhance the quality of the written content:

Six Graphics for Blogs

#1 – Use Stock Photography

Many people get photos by using Google Images.  Of course these pictures can work, but you also run the risk of ripping-off other peoples copyrighted images.  Not a good thing.

There are some free sites that offer 100% legal alternatives with no attribution required:

Sometimes the quality on these sites is decent and you can find what you want.  But lets face it, most of it is free because it is not that engaging.  You get what you pay for.

One site I regularly use is iStockphoto.  This is the best low-cost place to find images for your blogs.  You can easily find quality graphics for around $2 to $3.

Yes, you have to spend money.  But I consider this to be an investment because it improves the visual impact of any blog post.

There are numerous premium photo sites.  The reason I like iStockphoto is you can literally find any type of graphic.  It doesn’t matter what topic you’re discussing on your blog.  iStockphoto makes it easy to find a related image.

#2 – Grab Flickr Graphics

Flickr has high quality photos taken from average people like us.  Sure some of the photos are amateurish, but there are many that are simply awesome.

Not all photos on Flickr can be used on your blog.  All photos are saved there under Creative Commons license.  But the Photo’s that are licensed as “Attribution Only”  are free to use as long as you give credit back to the originator.  A great way to do this is to link back to the picture on Flickr.

How do you find Attribution Only PhotosHow to get Creative Commons from Flickr

Here’s a simple process for getting started:

  1. Go to Flickr.com
  2. Go to the Pulldown Tab “explore”
  3. Click on Creative Commons (this reorganizes photos by how they are licensed)
  4. Go to Attribution Only
  5. Search away.  (It has a search bar that will only search for Attribution Only articles.)

Since there are currently almost 30 million photos here you should be able to find some good ones.

Attribution License Photos Flickr

 #3 – Create Sub-Header Graphics

Sometimes Word Press really annoys me.  They make it really hard to create headers that truly break apart the text on a blog post.  It doesn’t matter if you use H1, H2, or H3 tags.  Most of them look the same.

A lot my posts start at 2,000 words.  That’s a lot of text for people to read if there isn’t some sort of section break.

Recently I start adding “sub-header graphics” to my blog posts.  These images break apart the sections for a blog post.  In my opinion, this is makes it easy for the reader to navigate through lengthy content.

Want to create your own sub-header graphic?  Here is a video where I walk you through the process:

There are two sites I mentioned in the video:

  • Sumo Paint: This is a free online graphics tool.  What I like about Sumo Paint is it’s easy to use.  Even a technophobe (like me) can figure it out in an afternoon.
  • Marketing Graphics Toolkit: {affiliate link} Seriously this is the best $10 I’ve ever spent online.  The Marketing Graphics Toolkit has a catalog of graphics for a blog.  Plus it’s also great for writing sales pages.  (In fact, you can see how I used these images on the sales page of my information product.)

Overall, I recommend using both of these tools.  They are great for designing images that enhance any piece of online content.

#4 – Use Snag It Graphics

Snag It {affiliate link} is a tool that I literally use every day.  It’s great for pulling screen shots and adding images to them.

For instance, here’s an image I created for a new report I’m writing:

Snag It Image Example

I’ll admit the images aren’t pretty.  But I feel they do an adequate job of demonstrating a concept to readers.  Since I run a blog about the Internet lifestyle, I often need to show an online process.  Snag It lets me do this without wasting a lot of time.

#5 – Design a Footer Advertisement

One of the things I advertise on this blog is my information product: Affiliate Marketing without the Bulls**t.

Recently I started using a neat trick I like to call a ‘ninja advertisement.’  This is an ad that uses the same font (and font size) as the rest of my content.  Plus it has a red arrow with text that looks like a hyperlink.

The idea here is to have an advertisement at at the end of every post which gives readers a place to go after they’ve read my content.  Yes, it’s sneaky.  But it’s a really effective way to drive traffic to a monetary offer.

I’d agree this graphic isn’t particularly stylish.  But I’ve tested this against typical banner ads and it’s outperformed most by 53%.

Here is a video that shows how to create a footer advertisement:

It’s really easy to display one of these footer blog graphics.  Just upload the image to your site and then install the Add Signature Plugin for WordPress.

After that, you’ll need to go to the plugin within the Settings feature in Word Press.  Open it up and create a code that references the image and the destination hyperlink:

Add Sig FeatureHere is the code I use to reference both the image and the destination URL:

<p align=”center”><a href=”INSERT_DESTINATION_URL”><img border=”0″ src=”INSERT_IMAGE_LOCATION “></a></p>

Finally go down to the bottom of this page and make sure you’ve ticked the box for Display on Posts:

Add Sig UsagePretty simple, right?

#6 – Outsource Banner Ad Creation

I said this at the beginning of this post.  I’m not an expert at graphics.  And that’s why I outsource the creation of any sales images.

One sales image I regularly use is a banner advertisement.  The problem is I hate most of the images that  affiliate programs provide.  Why?  They don’t do what they’re supposed to do – Get people to click on them.

Frankly, most banner ads are ineffective because they don’t follow the principles of  direct response marketing.  These images might look good.  But they’re not intriguing enough to get clicks.

What I suggest is to create your own ads for whatever you’re promoting.  Treat them like a headline of a sales page.  Use good copy to create curiosity.  Then create a reason that people will want to click on one of these images.

You might think it’s expensive to create a banner advertisement.  Actually this is something you can outsource for five bucks on a site like Fiverr.  You’d be surprised at how easy it is to find someone to create a decent looking sales image.  The trick is to know exactly what you want on the ad before hiring a designer.  This makes it easier to find the right person for the job.

My final suggestion is to rotate the ads on your site and track the click-thru-rates for each.  Here’s a simple process for doing this:

  1. Create multiple banner ads
  2. Install the Ad Rotator Plugin
  3. Set up tracking for each ad using sites like Adminder or Bit.ly
  4. Wait a week or so and see which ad gets the highest CTR

With Fiverr it’s not expensive to create multiple ads.  My advice is to keep testing different banners till you find one that gets a lot of clicks from blog readers.

Final Thoughts...

These are the six types of graphics I use on my blog.  They provide that perfect blend of instructional content with straight-forward advertising.

It’s becoming increasingly important to create a multimedia experience with a blog.  So while I’m not a graphics guy, I do my best to include images that add to my written content.

My advice is to implement each of the six graphics I just listed.  You’ll find these enhance the content of your blog.

Questions?  Comments?  Respond below…

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

paul wolfe

Steve

I like what you’re doing – not just with the ‘graphics’ – but adding the screencast videos as well. Making the posts comprehensive – and positively ‘pillar’ like!

Question: what kind of conversion are you getting with the footer advertisement method? Always interested in that kind of data.

Paul

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Paul! I’m trying to ramp up the video content. But it’s still a pain in the butt to create these.

So far, I’m getting about a 1.3% conversion rate of readers to buyers from the footer. It’s nowhere near perfect; but I’ll take it for now. (I’m hoping this number will increase once the sales letter is rewritten and I tweak the advertisement.)

Reply

paul wolfe

Steve

Video is time consuming…..but the long term rewards are worthwhile. And it will get easier the more you do it (like everything). And most of your competitors are lazy – so it makes you stand out – another reward. So keep going with the video.

Thanks for answering the question too. (If i ever ask a question you don’t wanna answer – then don’t answer! )

paul

Reply

Mike McGill

We like to use our own images that we take around Portland. We agree that graphics are important in making a text blog visually stimulating.

Reply

Steve Scott

Original Images are great. No doubt About it. I just wish I was a good enough of a photographer to make good images for my blog. Even after touring Europe for eight months I really didn’t come back with that many exciting pictures. lol

Reply

Adrienne

Hey Steve,

I agree with Paul, I like the videos you’ve added too because for people like myself who want to learn how this is done, you walk us through exactly what to do. That in itself is priceless.

I really like how you’ve been breaking up your posts and I also do love the images. Very pleasing to the eyes so thanks for these tips. I will definitely be making some improvements to my blog now thanks to you.

Great post as always! You definitely are one for providing us with excellent valuable content. A+ in my book!

~Adrienne

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Adrienne,

I must say I’m happy with the way things look since I started using images to break up the text also. You can get away without them on shorter posts with no problem, but longer post really need something to break it up. And since a lot of my posts were of the longer variety, this was a pretty important find for me.

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Chris Cole

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the post and cool resources. Some of them I was aware of including sumo paint. Love that one :-)

I think adding images not only makes the page/post look better visually it also draws the reader to explore more. I always look to add in as many relevant images where possible within my posts.

I also love creating videos and have recently began adding them into my posts to break up the content also. In future I plan to start adding a lot more videos to my posts.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Chris,

Like I said in the post, I am far from being a “graphics guy” but i agree whole-heartly. Well-placed and relevant images can really make or break a post.

I have been on-again, off-again with my videos. I know I need to do more get better in that area!! So I’m with you there!

Reply

Satrap

Hey Steve,
Oh I am so happy I came across this post. Thank you so much for linking and introducing Snag It. I have been looking for a tool like that for a long time. Thanks.

Reply

Steve Scott

Satrap,

Snag it is really cool. One of those programs that is so neat because it is so simple to use for those of us who were not really graphically inclined, then it makes some pretty cool effects for pictures.

I’m sure everything is done with the kingdom of photshop but just looking at the million choices there makes it so much harder for new graphics guy to work with. (and of course the cost).

I have been using snag it on just about every image for months now, definitely a valuable tool.

Reply

Jasmin

SnagIt is a fantastic peace of software. It is so easy to capture snapshots and to modify them to your needs. Great for creating smal infografics and to visualize what you want to say. Love it :)

Jasmin

Reply

Steve Scott

Jasmin,

Thanks for the comment. I agree. Snag it is a joy to use and so easy for those of us not exactly graphically inclined.

-Steve

Reply

William Harding

Some great suggestions in your post Steve.
A good image is definitely worth a thousand
words.
Like you say,be careful where you source
free images from as I’ve heard a few horror
stories when people get sued for theft of
intellectual property.Best just to bite the
bullet and spend a few bucks.

Please read my latest post: Humax Foxsat HDR

Reply

Steve Scott

For sure, it is far better to pay a few cents for images than big $ in a settlement. For those that want to go the free route Flickr is great. It is just important you are getting pictures from the free-creative Commons section. (and giving credit where it is due)

Reply

Brankica

Hey Steve,
I love these detailed posts of yours, you know that :)

I still use Fotolia, it is cheaper than iStockphoto and they have pretty much everything you might need.

I used Flickr a lot and often, if I want to avoid too many outgoing links on a page, I will contact the owner of the photo and ask them if I could use the photo without the link, with just credit. Often they will let you use it even with no credit. I did this a lot when I started my first site, I was afraid of linking out (yeah, I know better now) and could not afford to buy too many images.

As far as screenshots I always use a browser extension. I can’t remember the name of the one on FF, it was better than Chrome one, but now I am using Chrome a lot and I use Aviary extension. It is great for screenshots. I will usually do some additional editing in Photoshop and that is it.

I use Photoshop a lot because I actually make graphics for some of my clients so I am learning more and more every day. I will sometimes put everything aside just to play with images, lol.

Anyway, I am starting to ramble, thanks for some great ideas here!

PS Who actually did the images on your ebooks (the product), I love them!

Reply

Steve Scott

Brankica,

Thanks for some great additional information.I will definitely have to check out Fotolia. It sounds like it will be worth a shot. I am sure photo-shop can rule for those who know what they are doing. but it is just so many buttons…it confuses me for doing simple things.. ;)

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Brankica

LOL, I agree. I kinda had to learn it for some projects, but there is so much more I don’t know. Fotolia has all the same pics as iStockphoto pretty much, but is way cheaper for me. You can see the link next to my name.

You missed my question, who and how did the graphics for your ebook.

Reply

Steve Scott

I had a “contest” on one of those crowdsourcing sites and picked the winner. If you want the guys contact info shoot me an email and i will get it for you. (it is on my other computer…not home right now). But I agree, the guy did an awesome job! Very professional.

Reply

Duy

Wow Steve, your graphical skills stun me man :D

Lol, I think you should call your art teacher and tell him (or her?) how good you’re now. Who said Steve can’t use a scissors!

Just kidding, thanks a lot for the tutorial. I always want to give my readers some graphics especially when it comes to my chosen niche. A picture is worth a thousand words ;)

Have a nice day!

Duy.

Reply

Steve Scott

Duy,

haha, I’m not sure my graphical skills are stunning are not… But I have mastered the scissors. ;) Hopefully there are some good tips here people can use to break up the text and get some better graphics. pictures certainly are worth 1000 words…

Reply

Extreme John

I like it. Thanks for the tips. I think it would be great to put a proper theme for a blog and to add the graphics would be a complete plus for the readers.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks John,

For sure. mix the right theme the right pictures and you’re off to the races. All you need are those pesky words.

Reply

David

I use images in blog posts mainly for two reasons only. One is to break up long posts and the second is for keyword optimization. If I can not find quickly a free stock photo I open up any graphics make a small rectangle inside a larger one, fill each with a different color and just place a word relevant to the post in the inner rectangle. Upload and use the alt and title tags and caption for SEO purposes.

Now, for variety I will be using your sub-header graphics also.

Reply

Steve Scott

David,

It sounds like you would have a pretty good system for bring up text. Hopefully subheader graphics will integrate well. Important part is that you are already doing it. I’m all for writing nice long posts, but they need to be done with care and not be daunting to the eye

Reply

Ming Jong Tey

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the great tips, resources and videos. I love the footer advertisement, which I think is brilliant to direct people to your desired offer.

I really should start adding more pictures to my blog :)

Usually, I use Google image to search for graphic that I want, and just put a link back to the graphic I used. One thing to do in Google Image is to select “Advanced Image Search”, check the “Commercial Use” in the image right section. This will ensure all the images displayed in Google Search are good to be adopted.

Cheers,
Ming

Reply

Steve Scott

Ming,

Thanks for some good info on the Google images. I didn’t know they had a free use section also. That is something I will definitely be using in my future graphic searches. Thanks for adding to the graphics information, here.

Steve

Reply

Cristina Ansbjerg

Graphics are definitely very important. I’ve seen that lately you’ve been experimenting a lot with them on your sidebar.
You should write a post about how those graphics are converting.

I’ll check out snag.it. So far I’m using mostly pixlr.com (free and very similar to Photoshop).

Reply

Steve Scott

Cristina,

Ahhhh! you get ahead of me! I will surely be talking about traffic and conversion of sidebar post a whole lot more in the near future! ;)

Reply

Leo

Thank you for the amazing ideas! Graphics are very important for any blog as they attract the viewer towards your blog and also let them remain hooked. Presentation matters a lot! I will surely use the suggestions above.

Reply

Steve Scott

Leo, For sure, presentation really matters. It truly can make a difference between people reading what you have to say or completely skipping over it

Reply

Rob Cubbon

You can get WordPress to wrap h2 and h3 tags round a subhead by clicking the last icon in the Visual Editor “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink” and then you can choose “Heading 2″ and “Heading 3″ from a dropdown menu. But, yes, WordPress annoys me that it doesn’t make this easier because subheadings are crucial!

Reply

Jay Gumbs

This is what I do, mainly for using h2 tags for subheadings. Once you know you need them, you’re going to find out how to do it.

Reply

Steve Scott

Rob,

I agree, WP is annoying in this way. Thanks for the great additional info on how to actually make them h2 or h3 tags. An important piece of the pie I forgot to mention!!!!!

Reply

Mark

Hi Steve,

I like what you are doing here and find the information valuable. Your auto-responder email that brought me here and I have to say I get ticked off by the many similar emails I get from online marketers. However your information content and quality is of the highest order for an online marketer.

You were asking me in your email if I had a website? Yes I do its a high quality website http://www.mark-jago.com.

The problem I have with these communications is that if I were to consider a business relationship I would need to know that those who were wishing to have this relationship with me would know at least a little about me and what my needs are.

My own needs really boil down to a little mentoring by someone that is successful at attracting a lot of motivated visitors and who is making sales. I feel much of what is being presented is done in a way that is a one way communication.

Reply

Steve Scott

Mark,

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I am glad you find some of the info here valuable.

Steve

Reply

Eddie Gear

Steve, for some reason I’ve never used images in my posts. Recently I’ve been thinking about adding images, but still not very sure about how to go about it.

Reply

Steve Scott

Eddie,
I think he deftly should use some images near posts. It can help to make them pop. Not only that but there’s Seo benefits also. I get a couple hundred people find my site a day through images. Admittedly, these mostly end up as bounces since the pictures themselves may not always be relevant, but hey, traffic is traffic.

Reply

Peggy Baron

Hey Steve,

I like your idea of sub-header graphics. It’s a great way to break up long text.
And I love your footer advertisement. I’m going to have to do that soon! …ok, just added it to my list of To Dos.

I usually use Flickr, iStockphoto, my own photos, and some, ahem, homemade graphics. For Flickr photos I use the WP plugin. The photos it pulls up via your keywords are all Create Commons license.

Thanks!
Peggy

Reply

Steve Scott

Peggy,

Make sure to read Rob’s comment. That was an important part that I forgot to mention. Getting those H2 tags in their means you don’t lose any Seo from not using h2 tags. Nothing wrong with homemade graphics by the way. I’ve taken a couple shots at them myself ;). I hadn’t even thought getting a Flickr WordPress plug-in, now I feel kind of dumb, I’ve just been adding some extra steps in manually.

Steve

Reply

Eugene

I really like the sub-header graphic idea. I recently did something similar on my new consulting page…but I used a bit of CSS to create a background for the text. But your graphic idea definitely gives it more depth because you can have a pattern. Good stuff!

Reply

Steve Scott

See you lose me when you start talking about making your own css. My eyes begin to glaze over and my mind wanders. I know how to plug in css that is done, but am clueless when it comes to making my own, so i can’t say if this method is “better” in any way. But easier…I would think so… at least for me ;)

Reply

Jens P. Berget

Hi Steve,

I use Flickr (and creative commons) for almost all of my posts, and I use LittleSnapper to create screenshots.

I almost never create any graphics on my own, that’s because I truly suck at design :)

I’m going to take a closer look at the websites you mention.

Thanks a lot.

Reply

Steve Scott

I haven’t heard of Little Snapper. I assume it is probably very similar to snag it. I may have to play with it…just so I will know.

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Jens P. Berget

Yes, it’s fairly similar. It’s for Mac only.

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Steve Scott

Ahhhh that makes sense. One of those cool mac only programs. One of these days I am going to become one of you cool mac guys, mac seems to have the best toys

Reply

Jimmy

Hi Steve,

I am a sucker for graphics too, but I have not included too many on my post. Just enough to SEO the post and make it too artifiicial.

I love the ways you included snapshots of instructions for people to follow. I am always attracted to these. What’s good about yours is that the instructions are so clear. You can delete the explaining text actually.

With regards to the other tips on including graphics, I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

Reply

Steve Scott

Jimmy If i deleted the text what would the search engines find. LOL. (I actually had thought it superfluous, but kept some for that reason).

Taake your time on graphics. It is a learning curve, but hopefully one you will get comfortable with in time. It is not a “must have” but an “icing on the cake”

Reply

Dia

Hi Steve,

I couldn’t have said it better my friend, graphics and images do play a huge part in engaging the readers in our websites. I really like the sub-header you have in your articles. It looks very professional and it gives the reader a break especially with long articles.

I although I don’t use images for my articles, but I have a footer where I list my products. I also have an image of my ebooks on the side bars and the home page.

Images and graphics tend to make the readers more interested in the website. Looks do count my friend. ;) Thanks for sharing Steve

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Dia,

Not sure if your footer is text or an image. One thing I am not sure about is how much of a ding Google puts for duplicate content. When you think about a block of text. Even only 3 sentences long, on every article google has to rank that as a snippet of dup. content. Is it enough to penalize? I don’t know. But I like to play it safe and have that image there instead.

Reply

Rick

Awesome info – as always. Your ability to create so much content so often is….scary! :-) Truly value-add.

With Flikr photos in Creative Commons, is it necessary to contact the owner for permission to use?

Thanks Steve.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Rick!!

I appreciate your kind words.

As for CC. there are different licenses. So some require a lot more stringent methods. (even $$). But the way showed to get the “attribution only” photos supposedly only needs attribution. If you look in the bottom right corner of the picture page when you grab it you will see any special instructions. If they want you to contact them first, it will say it there. I have only seen that on about 3 photos out of 500 or so.

I WOULD let them know though. This is for traffic (and politeness). in the picture comments I leave something like.

Thanks for the great picture. I have included it on ArticleURL. You do some great pictures, thanks

This leaves a link that (sometimes thousands) of visitors can see and maybe follow. Plus, like I said, it is polite and hopefully engenders good feelings in the photographer, gets a link to your page (it is nofollow, though) and probably brings a few curious people to your site.

It might not drive a ton of traffic, but every little bit adds up

Reply

hunterX0506

I really like the sub-header you have in your articles. It looks very professional and it gives the reader a break especially with long articles. | :P

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Hunter, Glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment

Reply

Daniel

I really like using GIMP to create graphics for free. OK, mostly I’ll use it to edit existing graphics I get from Creative Commons or IstockPhoto.

It’s a freeware photo editor.

Reply

Steve Scott

GIMP is a great free program. I could easily have that as an addition here. I have (and still do sometimes) use that program (along with inkscape, another good freebie). Thanks for the comment, Daniel!

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Justin | Spiritual Growth

Great stuff Steve. I need to learn how to create an eBook cover or find someone to do it for me. I like the creative aspects of blogging like creating design and visual effects but I am not too sure that I want to invest the time to learn how to do it.

I may be taking a trip over to Fiverr and see what services they have.

I am an avid user of Flickr btw. Tons of photos available.

Reply

Steve Scott

Justin,
I still outsource my ebook covers. I think I -could- do it, but the time and energy it would take I can pay someone and have them do a better job. If you want send me an email and I will send you the name of the guy I used. But if you are able to find someone who does a decent job on fiverr, that will be a LOT less $$$.

I think it is important to get a start on learning the day-to-day graphics stuff. But I agree, when it comes to the big important projects it is better to use someone who can do it well, rather than invest hours trying to muddle through it yourself.

-Steve

Reply

David

These are amazing tips for great graphics. I am currently learning how to use photo shop. I learned how great it is in making logos and web design. I can’t wait to try them out and make some improvements in my site.

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Steve Scott

Yeah, A lot of these tool are work around’s for not having photo shop. That tool will do it all. My only problem with it is that is it expensive… and it is not intuitive. IN the simpler programs you can not know what you are doing and get what you want done anyhow, In photo shop…not so much. There really is a learning curve before you can do anything . So many buttons, lol.

Reply

Janet Callaway

Steve, aloha. Thanks so much for all the tips on the graphics. Since I like the graphics on your site, I never would have guessed they were so easy to do. Your blog is clean and the graphics are compelling.

Thanks too for including the videos. As a non-techie, your videos make it much easier to understand how to implement.

Steve, I receive your posts by e-mail because most of them I end up filing in the Steve Scott folder that lives on my computer. Your generosity in sharing your tips and knowledge is much appreciated.

Best wishes for a terrific week ahead. Until next time, aloha. Janet

Reply

Steve Scott

Janet,

Glad you liked the graphics. And yes they are easy to do. I am not a super techie myself. If it can’t be done fairly easily by a layman, I outsource it.

That being said, some things ARE so easy they are worth taking the time to learn at least those simple methods.

My own folder! Wow! That is awesome! :) You made my day!

Steve

Reply

Frank

I use Stock Photos for my blog and I also outsource my header and banner since I don’t have any talent in graphic design. LOL

Frank @ solar power for the home

Reply

Sergio Felix

Hey Steve,

If you’re not a ‘graphics guy’ you pretty much do an amazing job at using them a lot better than the average blogger in your site!

I was just wondering why there were so many changes with graphics lately around here, now I know why!

The videos you have been creating, I know they are a pain in the butt to create but you’ll get better and better and will be doing these easier with a little bit more of time (same goes to Brankica).

I am also wondering what the heck happened with our everyday tools of the trade from before?

I remember that in the past everyone either used Corel Draw or Photoshop and Paint if you definitely did not have any friends who could ‘lend’ you a copy.

I started using Paint because there was nothing else (well actually there was Banner and others even before the Internet and Windows but I won’t talk about my techie past as it is boring as hell) but when finally the applications started emerging everywhere, there were several choices.

Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks (I particularly use this one since it was on Macromedia and from the early versions) and so many others.

On the other hand, I have this huge mental problem (LOL but it’s real!) with stuff that is not aligned perfectly.

I can’t stand GIMP because everything is floating around, the same reason I can’t stand Mac OS and everything else that just floats anywhere.

You’ll be surprised to turn on my Macbook because the first thing you would see is the Windows Logo loading. LOL

Anyway, I enjoyed a LOT this post Steve, it is PACKED with great information like all your posts, sorry to write so much, I haven’t updated my site so I guess I just used your site for it haha

Take care and speak soon!!

Sergio

PS. Keep making videos man, I can see you creating even more professional stuff VERY soon!

P.P.S. Thanks for the recommendations for Spain, I visited Madrid and Barcelona and fell in love with those places!

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Steve Scott

Thanks for a great comment, Sergio. I hope I am slowy “Forrest Gump(ing)” my way towards having some decent skills. It is definitely a case of “If I can do it you can too, because I do not have any expertise in this” so hopefully people will take on the good stuff.

For graphics, first of all I don’t have a MAC (may go that way someday) but I hear all the best graphics programs are over there. (or maybe it is because all artistic people have macs… what came first the chicken or the egg?)

Anyhow, I think illustrator and photoshop are still alive and kicking. It is just that they have become so damn powerful that they are really professional tools now. I look at them and have no idea how to do the simple little things

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Sergio Felix

Gonna tell you a little secret… I have no idea how to use those design tools anymore either! LOL

I think that’s why I like Fireworks so much now, it is still so easy and intuitive to use and doesn’t have hundreds of buttons everywhere, the bad thing is that it is a bit expensive.

You had me rolling with your second paragraph man and just for the record, I bought a mac because I couldn’t stand all the buzz about Macs and had to experience it by myself.

I can tell you I was NOT impressed but I used it to defend my thesis in university and at the time, people in the room WERE impressed just by the computer alone LOL

I still do all my main work in PCs so don’t feel any urge to get one (a mac), you’re not missing much!

Sergio

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Salah Messaoud

Thanks Steve for sharing those tips, when it comes for graphics I am not really good on it but I got a friend he is professional graphic designer he helped me a lot.
I just search images on Filckr since it is for free

~Salah

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Steve Scott

Be careful with Flickr. Not all pics theere are free. Of course, many people might never know or say anything, but the only ones you are really allowed to use are the “attribution only” ones like I have shown above. Chances are you could “get away” with it for a long while, but personally I just prefer knowing I am not going to get in trouble someday because of pics.

I am jealous, though, I wish I had a friend who was a professional graphics designer! :)

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Mouh

I once read that the famous “This Page is Intentionally Left Black” we find on books and eBooks means a blank page for relaxing and resting. Graphics are similar to “This Page is Intentionally Left Black”. It helps people relax and be prepared from what’s next. So using them is paramount.

Mouh

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Steve Scott

Mouh,

For sure. Blank space works. Too much crowding jars the eye and somply creates indecision rather than decision!

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AstroGremlin

Sure do like the way you write, Steve. I always get worried when I pull a free photo off the web because I’m not sure if I’m in compliance. I tend to shoot most of my own photos or use DeviantArt to generate interesting patterns. A strange photo sure seems to attract more views than a good article.

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Danny

Great tips. Too many people are using copyrighted pictures, not only can you get in trouble, but it’s also just plain stealing. But most of us don’t have a problem stealing (downloading) a song or a movie, so this is probably a never ending problem.

Using graphics to break up lengthy text like you do is great!
When I see a long article/post with no pauses, I feel demotivated to start reading it. But when there are pictures/graphics breaking up the text, it looks a lot less intimidating.

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Steve Scott

Thanks for the comment Danny! For sure graphics are a huge part of a blog, and the good thing is you really don’t need to be a professional designer to get it reight. Just keep it crisp and clean, break up those large text blocks, make sure your MWR gets out there and that you have rigths to use the images (for your own protection in the long term)

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DJ Portis

Hey Steve,

I absolutely agree that most affiliate banners should be substituted with your own. I have two main reasons for doing so.

1.) As you mentioned, most affiliate banners look great, but looking great doesn’t necessarily translate into clicks.

2.) Having a unique banner gives viewers something fresh to look at. Let’s face it, not matter what niche you’re in, there are probably hundreds or thousands of other affiliates promoting the same thing. People can quickly ignore a banner they’ve seen 100 times, so having something fresh can get them to take a closer look at something they may not have otherwise.

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Paul

Using the graphics inside of the post to break up the reading space is a great concept. I was amazed how much easier the reading was with the eye relief gained. Thanks for the great pointers.

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