Graphic Design Can Make or Break Your Web Site

We all want high impact graphics for our Web sites - Right.

Sometimes it is easy just to pick a template that comes included with a site builder and or hosting package.

There are also thousands of Free templates that you can download from the Internet.

But for those of us who want full control of our design and graphics, it is first a matter of sitting down and choosing your site design and color scheme.

Your site theme, design or layout will play a major part in the size and number of graphics you will use on your site. Somewhere along the process you will have to decide on how many and the quality of your graphic images.

Images used on websites are usually Gif and jpg or sometimes png and the odd bitmap image. Gif and Jpg images can be adjusted in quality and size to be a smaller file size to strike a balance between quick loading and image quality.

You may have an awesome graphic but if it takes 2 minutes to load on your page, you will notice by checking your Web site stats you will notice a difference between the number of page requests and pages viewed.

As the purpose of your Web site is to attract visitors and for them to make a positive decision either to request more info, join your Newsletter or to make a purchase, every lost visitor is a lost potential customer.

The header at the top image on a page often includes a logo or the name of the company or website. This is usually the largest image on a page. So if it is the full width of the page of 760 pixels wide, and depending on the height it may be worth considering cutting it into two pieces.

There are two reasons for dividing an image into smaller pieces, firstly having your image load faster as two separate pieces and secondly as many browsers load 5 images at one time, your header should load faster.

There are also webmasters who prefer all images to preload before displaying the complete page and some sites have two images for the one button, the image you see on first viewing the page and the image you see when you hover the mouse, cursor over or click on the button. Often with buttons that use two images these will be set to preload with the page so that they are loaded or stored ready for when you click the button.

Note that different browsers may load pages in a different order. as a webmaster it is good practice to check your page in Netscape, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and the Browser that Google is possibly going to introduce soon.

Your site layout may differ in appearance in the different browsers and some of the latest http versions and scripts will possibly not work in older versions on certain Browsers.

There is a balance to make your page quick to load and to be pleasant to the eye.

Many sites are using a very small image as a background image, for example if you are placing your buttons across the page you can create an image that looks like a raised bar but only one pixel wide. As an image of say 25 by 1 pixel it will load very fast as a background, once the browser loads this image one time, it then multiplies the image across the page.

Many sites use this background approach for their header, side bars and or their buttons and insert the logo as a normal image and the buttons are added as text links over the top of the background image.

Backgrounds are generally a small image that when loaded by your browser sits at the top left of the web page and multiplies itself across and down the page. A background image can be as small as 2 or 3 pixels square and up to full screen size.

The simplest are the thin lines usually of two colors. The more complex may include a water mark of the company logo.

TIP, The fewer colors or shades used in any image either as a background, header of banner the faster it will load.

Here is a list of images that form the first impression of anyone who visits your Web site. Make that first impression count.

  • Header
  • Logo
  • Buttons - bar
  • Side panels
  • Bottom bar
  • Background image
  • Product images
  • Banners

These images can be for decoration or they can tell a story. The old saying is still true in that a picture can tell a story that would normally take a thousand words to express.

Create an overall color scheme for your site, one that uses contrasting colors where text is used and a theme where images are used.

With Web site templates you can easily change image color and add text in many basic graphic editing programs, but to create your own images you may require a more professional program.

Adobe GoLive Web site editor and Adobe Photo Shop allow you to build your site and edit images. There is an Adobe package that includes other Adobe products, a very good package.

Macromedia also have a Web site and image editing package in Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

But there are many free Web site and image editing software available. I find that when editing images I use Adobe Photoshop and Fireworks for adding and embossing text.

Different software give different results. I use a Sony camera, when I compared the software supplied by Sony and Adobe I found that a photo downloaded to the Sony image editing software where an area of a photo 3 pixels wide was displayed in Adobe Photoshop it appeared at 7 pixels wide. I don't have any idea why this is but I now edit all my photos in Photoshop.

Here is a Template Directory listing free site templates, buttons, backgrounds, 3D text creator, clip art and scripts.

http://www.itsyournet.co.nz/free-web-templates.html

If you are using a template or image downloaded from the Internet check to see if there is a copy right or if the template or image is supplied for personal use only, i.e. not for commercial use as a business Web site.

When considering creating a Web site you also need to give some thought to the hosting. If your site is a graphics intense site and people are going to download lots of images you need to consider the hosting package as there are so many different sizes and band width packages supplied.

Your finished Web site must be appealing to your target market. If you are marketing products or services to Businesses your site should reflect a business atmosphere, as opposed to a gardening site where you can display images of garden gnomes, bags of fertilizer and flowers.

Remember every Pixel counts when editing quality images. But the opposite is true for quick loading Web sites.

May your week be a highly graphical one.

PETER GREEN.

Editor of ~ The INDEX ~ ezine.

Editor@Internet-income-index.com

http://www.Internet-Income-Index.co m

Your Free Weekly Internet Marketing News, Ideas, Resources and Sources Ezine.

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