Considering how many freelance sites and royalty-free image dumps there are on the Internet, it is too tempting to think that you can make your website ‘stand out’ just by buying cheap graphics or using a stock royalty-free image. I hate to break it to you but considering how competitive the Internet has become, simply going through the motions and getting cheap low-quality graphics is not going to cut it anymore. If you want your website to stand out and truly add value and engagement to the lives of your visitors, you need the services of a graphics designers who knows what he or she is doing. This can mean the difference between you barely scraping by with your online properties or actually making a decent living online. Here are the top ten reasons why you need the services of a professional freelance graphics designer.
Reason #1: Because you need a professional to create a solid online brand
No less than the head honchos of Google keep emphasizing the importance of branding when it comes to search engine credibility. They sound like broken records. From Larry Page to Eric Schmidt, they keep bleating about the importantance of brand, brand, brand. They are simply, albeit annoyingly, bringing home a point that many online publishers such as yourself are now finding out the hard way-the Internet is moving towards serious online brands. The rank-and-file Internet user is becoming more sophisticated and is getting less likely to trust unproven publishers. A key part of establishing a solid online brand are professional graphics. From your logo to your header to your post graphics elements, you need to convey professionalism and a brand-customised graphics presence. A graphic designer brings these, and many other things, to the table.
Reason #2: Your content is flat without great custom graphics
Internet users have developed a temporary form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This is no sad accident. In fact, it is a coping mechanism. How else can people navigate the over 2 million pieces of original content (without counting social network shares) produced every single day from all four corners of the globe. It is proving to be all too much so people ‘trained’ themselves to scan content. Either you ‘hook’ their attention within a fraction of a second or they bounce out of your site. Great custom graphics quickly communicate key elements of your web page or company site. Great graphics can reduce your bounce rate by quickly communicating what your content offers. High bounce rates lead to less money due to less audience engagement.
Reason #3: Graphics help you fill out your value proposition
In keeping with the temporary ADD coping mechanism discussed above, Internet users have learned to quickly size up content, sales pages, squeeze pages, and other forms of online content in terms of ‘what’s in it for me?’ You better answer that question in a fraction of a second or they will be gone – probably for good. When you have great graphics, you quickly grab their eyeballs and calm them long enough for the impact of your text to bring home your value proposition. Regardless, great graphics acts as brake to bounce rate.
Reason #4: The right picture is worth a thousand tweets
On the Internet, if you don’t know how to drive traffic, you are not going to make money. It is that straightforward and simple. There is no middle ground. You need to get traffic if you want to have any hope of getting money from your online presence. One of the most powerful ways to generate traffic is through social media sites like twitter and Facebook. However, if you share flat, pictureless, dull, boring-looking content, you won’t get as much love from social networks. Even if you post the most info-dense, life enriching stuff, if you only post intimidating blocks of text, your content won’t get as much traction from social media sites.
Reason #5: The little extras separate the serious players from the hobbyists online
It seems that everyone and his dog has a blog. Seriously. If you want your online properties to rise above the intense background noise created by millions of hobbyist blogs, show your visitors you are serious. Show them the level of your commitment by investing in custom graphics, custom logos, headers, and other ‘little extras’ that show you run a professional online publishing outfit – even if your ‘office’ is your basement or bedroom! These little extras can help you stand apart from the amateurs and hobbyists among your competitors.
Reason #6: You need to separate yourself from your competition
Even among your professional competitors, you’d be surprised at how many otherwise professional web publishing outfits neglect graphics and videos. As a result, they might produce highly professional info-dense content but the appearance of their content leaves much to be desired. Leave these clowns in the dust by going the extra mile and using custom non-stock graphics on your posts.
Reason #7: Graphics helps explain ideas better
It’s one thing to tell your readers about your ideas, its another to actually show them what you mean. Graphics can get the job then when it comes to bringing ideas to life and demonstrating benefits. Put it this way, your reader is less likely to whip out his or her credit card if you do a lousy job of demonstrating how whatever you’re pushing is going to solve your viewer’s problem. Use custom graphics to get more sales, pay per click ad clicks, or email form submissions.
Reason #8: Your online personality shines through better with the right graphics
One of the biggest problems businesses face is that their websites don’t have personalities. They form a massive faceless ‘crowd’ that focuses on a particular ‘niche.’ It is no wonder that the bulk of traffic in most niches tend to concentrate among a handful of sites. These are personality-driven. These look like they are operated and maintained by flesh and blood human beings. Make no mistake about it, the right graphics can add a much welcome human element to your online properties.
Reason #9: Self-made graphics can erode your brand
In your rush to pinch a few pennies, you might be tempted to power up GIMP or Illustrator and make your own graphics. Pay attention to me: put the mouse down and don’t do it. Low-quality amateurish self-made graphics will do your brand more harm than good. If you worked so hard to drive traffic to your blog, think twice about driving those people away with half-baked graphics. Spend the extra money on a professional graphics designer with the talent and experience to make your brand look great. Focus your time on what you’re good at.
Reason #10: Customisation drives community building
If you want to be successful with your online publications, you have to build a community around your brand. When you do this, you develop a loyal army of evangelists that would not only generate quality free content in your comments section but also promote you among their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and other social media platforms. You can build a community around your brand if you become ‘real’ to your site visitors. Custom graphics play a key part in getting your repeat visitors so emotionally invested in your brand that they promote your site for free.
If you are on the fence regarding spending money on a professional graphic designer, keep in mind that you’ll be losing more than you’ll be gaining if you use the same tired stock graphics everyone and his dog is using. You also stand to lose out big if you give in to the temptation of being your own graphics designer. Unless you’re a regular pixel Rembrandt, you might want to close that copy of Illustrator or Photoshop and hire a professional if you’re serious about pushing your brand forward. Whether you are using your website to push your business or brochures, leaflets and exhibition graphics, doing it right can make the difference to your company.
Contact me if you would like to hire me as your graphic designer!