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How to Design Your Own Graphics For Your Website – For Free!

In the world of web design, one has many options on how they wish to build their website. Some folks prefer simplicity – white background, black text, easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. Other folks like to go all sorts of crazy, adding flash animations, animated buttons, cinematic swipes that supplement website navigation. In any case, if you want your website to stand out of the pack, you’re going to need custom graphics not seen anywhere else. This applies whether you’re going for a more simplistic website design that is easy to navigate, or for something more complex and in-depth, with music players, flash animations, and the whole nine yards.

Custom Graphics

custom graphics

Custom graphics are essential. For example, say you’re attempting to sell a product or service – you’d want your product or services to stand out from the rest, correct? Why else would someone invest in your skills or products if they think they could find them somewhere else? The internet is a tough place to start a business, considering how many other people are doing just that – millions of people across the world make their income primarily from their respective internet home pages. So instead of falling by the wayside amongst the internet flock, get your website to stand out with some custom graphics!

An eye-catching logo is almost necessary to build up a brand name. Logos, customized fonts, banners for both the website and social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr…it’s all necessary to grease the machine that is internet sales. Again, who is going to buy products from a poorly designed websites riddled with graphics that are offensive to the eye? Better yet, who would want to purchase products or services from a person who steals other images from around the internet as their source of web design?

Free Graphic Editing Programs

Free Graphic Editing Programs

While some people simply do not have the time available to spend on the creation of custom graphics, instead hiring freelancers or established graphic designers to capture that image, that edge, it is an important and very useful skill set to possess. Why wait on graphic designers to get back to you, and why spend valuable cash on something you can learn to do yourself for free?

The best course of action for budding graphic designers is to look into freeware and open source programs. There are a number of options available for graphic editing software that won’t even cost you a penny, as opposed to the dreaded and overly expensive subscription plan offered by Adobe for their programs, such as Photoshop. I’m going to briefly detail two separate programs and how they can help you jump-start your creative juices!

Paint.Net

paint net

You ever catch a friend cooking up some graphics in MSPaint and shake your head in disbelief? The simple act of using such a primitive editing software conjures nostalgic memories of 4th grade computer class, drawing dirty graphics on MSPaint and saving it to the school’s computer. Simply put, MSPaint is just not powerful enough for heavy duty tasks. It doesn’t even have a layer feature! Enter: Paint.Net.

Paint.net is entirely free, and best of all, it’s rather easy to get started with. Unlike Photoshop, which may take some time getting used to, Paint.Net is simplistic in it’s ways, similar to MSPaint, but is so much more powerful. There are also loads of free tutorials available online!

GIMP

gimp

Many refer to GIMP as the freeware Photoshop. The fact it is an open source program is a big ‘selling’ point – many, many plugins are available for GIMP, most of which are for free. Be warned, however, as the learning curve is quite steep. GIMP is a powerful program and may even take a while to load, depending on how many custom brushes and presets you’ve loaded it with, but once you learn how to best utilize the software, you’ll be making professional looking designs in no time!

Conclusion

So instead of dishing out wads of cash to graphic designers, consider getting some freeware graphic design programs yourself. Look up some tutorials, learn a new skill-set. It could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run!

Why Everyone Should Register Their Own Custom Domain Name

While one can always settle on a free web design platform such as Weebly or WIX and receive a complimentary domain name, it is in the best interest of any web designer and website manager to purchase their own, unique domain name. Having a “.com” or a “.net” just screams professionalism, and will no doubt add legitimacy and prestige to your site, vs having www.yoursitenamehere.wix.com That is just unsightly in comparison to a legit, purchased domain name. The fact you’ve invested money into your domain name, to make it stand out and ring clear and true, will no doubt add an aura of legitimacy and professionalism to your business or website.

buy your own domain name

Reasons to Buy Your Own Domain Name

There are more things to take into consideration beyond professionalism and appearances. If you’re going to change your web hosting provider, for example, or start an entirely new site up from scratch with a classy website redesign, your domain name will be retained during this process. If you have a substantial amount of web traffic, it would be remiss to not maintain the same web address. This may leave your customers / readers confused and frustrated. Having your original domain name redirected to the new website will save you a lot of pain and suffering, and will also save your customers / readers / fans / subscribers a substantial amount of anger and frustration as well.

Also bear I mind if you are looking for affiliates and sponsors, they are far more likely to do business with you if you have a purchased domain name. This ties back into the professionalism and legitimacy of having a domain name – who would want to conduct business with a company that can’t even afford a .com or .net for their website?

 Get Visitors Just Because of Your Name!

If you have a particular product or service and name your website in a clever and intelligent fashion, you may even stumble upon accidental viewers, who type in a random address pertaining to their desires and needs and land on your website by chance as a result. This is also easier for them to return later, as they will no doubt remember a simple, dignified, and applicable domain name vs something convoluted and excessive.

professional domain name

Having your own domain name is just better, period.

Now while some web hosts offer domain names and can register them for you, it’s advisable to instead go through a domain name registrar. Remember, you might switch web hosts in the future, and you don’t want to lose your entire audience when you make the transition, do you? Perhaps you’ve gotten tired of your web host and decide to invest time in redesigning your website, moving your business to a new web host. It would be far easier to simply transfer your domain as purchased separate from your web host than it would to start from scratch with a new domain name entirely. Your audience will appreciate ease of use, functionality, professionalism, and stability. People do fear change, and to make drastic changes with new web domain names may potentially isolate even the most loyal members of your websites audience.

different domain names

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Maintaining Simplicity For Killer Website Designs

A common theme with users of the web these days, is lack of an attention span. And who can blame them? There is simply so much content to go through, so many websites and social media sites and blogs and news outlets and personal journalist pages…the list goes on and on. Some people argue you only have a few seconds to catch the attention of those viewing your website. If you fail to catch their attention, they could very well disappear back into the world wide web, getting mentally tangled amongst the thousands of distracting Youtube videos!

Simply put, websites and blogs fight tooth and nail for attention on the internet. There is a LOT of competition, as well as a LOT of diversity. Whether you have an established website that’s been gathering traffic for years or are just starting a new website, it’s good to consider this simple fact:

Simplicity may be key in holding the attention of internet users.

Older Web Design

In the 90’s websites were far more low budget. Any 10 year old with access to America Online could fire up Expages or Angelfire and create a makeshift website that hurts the eyes. Back in those days navigation menus were primarily focused on the left side of the page in a separate frame. The designs were shoddy, eyesores really, and folks would utilize HTML help sites to assist them in the arduous and tiresome process of coding websites.

old websites

Back in those days, something as simple as a navigation bar with animated buttons was quite the spectacle to witness! Other animated or flash based website properties weren’t quite as effective…ugly snow fall in the background that ate up CPU, invisible music players that crank out horrid MIDI recreations of pop tunes. It was a time of great development, when very few could actually design a website and the rest adhered to ugly templates and ease of design. My how things have changed!

Modern Web Design

Enter modern web design. Gone are the days of shoddy templates. Angelfire and Expages have been replaced with WIX and Weebly, which afford more design freedom implementing drag-and-drop interfaces, available right through the website. You can design your own graphics and have them sprucing up your website with a few clicks of the mouse!

Add to this the ability to drag and drop pre-made Flash or HTML5 widgets directly into your site, and you can design a pretty professional looking website in only a few hours! Because of the potential ease simplicity of modern web design, a good percentage of web designers have opted to make more simplistic, bare-bones websites.

simple website

Conclusion: Simplicity May Be A Necessity

Simplicity can very well be the key in capturing viewers attention and keeping them hooked. Instead of cluttered websites that only work on a certain screen size and look jumbled on mobile devices, it is just smarter and more efficient to make simplistic, aesthetically pleasing website designs. Instead of focusing on flashy navigation bars and cluttered graphics, it is wise in these days to instead focus on killer, high quality content and keeping the website easy-to-navigate and easy on the eyes….this enables it to be easier to bookmark!

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A Blog or A Website – Which is Best For Your Needs?

It seems like these days, everyone and their mother (and their uncle, grandfather, 2nd cousin twice removed, and ex-girlfriend) maintain their very own blog or website. The internet connects the world – you can interact with people from all over the globe from the comfort of your bedroom. You can share your half-baked political opinions with people 500 miles away, or share music with friends from another continent.
In any case, it is best to go over all the different options available when choosing how to submit your content to the internet. With so much competition out there, it’s unwise to make a website that would be better off as a blog, or to start a blog that would be better off as a website.

website

Website Positives

The good thing about websites is the diversity of pages you can create. Do a bit of photography, a dash of writing, a helping of graphic design, and create some rockin’ music? Your best bet is to get a website so you can properly house each separate category of artistic expression, giving each skill it’s own subsection. Blogs can become cluttered, especially if you’re multi-talented and wish to showcase each talent individually. And it’s also easy to forget, you can throw a blog right onto your website for even more efficiency in design and ease in navigation!
Website Negatives

In web design, I’ve found that it’s rather quite difficult to maintain news archives. Eventually, you’ve gotta delete the old news updates to make room for the more recent news updates. Bandwidth can be an issue if you wish to perpetually host content, as well. Don’t wanna run the costs of your website up the roof when you’d be better off utilizing a blog!
Blog Positives

Blogs are great if you’ve got a particular niche skill you’re trying to focus on. An entire website devoted to photography may be better housed on a Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr account. If people like your work (be it song uploads, graphic design, writing, or photography) they are likely to scroll to the older posts and check out a good chunk of your work.

Blog

Also, the templates offered by most blog sites can help you bypass the designing phase entirely, giving you the time you need to focus on producing killer content! With a blog, design isn’t nearly as important – the blog serves as a host of content, a stream of consciousness, vs the order and tidiness of a website.
Blog Negatives

Blogs have their set of pitfalls as well. For one, if you’re in the game of making rather offensive and morally deprived comedy, prepare yourself for an influx of harsh comments and negativity. Some blog comments can rival even the worst Youtube comments! Also, it is keen to realize if you have multiple skill sets and which to showcase each, posts will be lost in the clutter of a blog. Older updates will get pushed back in favor of new updates, and some of your best work may not get the attention you were hoping if it’s just ‘another blog post’ amongst hundreds of other updates.

web vs blog
Conclusion
It’s easy to rush a project and end up with a website that should be a blog or a blog that should be a website. Carefully ponder what will serve your content and writing style best, and react accordingly. Also realize a good chunk of websites nowadays also implement blogs into the fold, so perhaps the best course of action is going with both!

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