What About Graphics?

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If your business is well-established, chances are you already have some graphics that will prove useful on your website. Perhaps you have a logo or other art work featured on a brochure or business card. Dixon Design business cardScanning this material and editing it for the web can save time and establish continuity between your "brick and mortar" business and your web presence. This sort of "branding" not only makes your business more recognizable to visitors, but it also adds credibility to your web presence. Anyone can launch a website, but it takes more skill, perseverance, and reputation to build a brand.

In addition to these types of graphics, you may also want to use photographs on your site. Perhaps you'd like to feature some of your products or events you're business has been involved in. Collage of website screen capturesDigital photos allow you to skip a few steps between taking the shot and downloading it to the computer. If you don't have a digital camera, you can have photos digitized when you develop your film. As an alternative, you can scan the images into digital files at your local copy shop. No matter the file type, all graphics must be edited and optimized for the web. The larger the photo's physical dimensions and resolution, the larger the digital file size and the longer the download time on the web. Generally, the lower the resolution, the lower photo quality. The goal is to shrink the file size as small as possible while maintaining a photo of acceptable size and quality. This is achieved with image-editing (also called photo-editing) software. Most digital cameras come with photo-editing software that allows you to adjust the image resolution and size for the web.

Color is an important consideration when selecting graphics for your site. You may decide to repeat graphic colors in your text elements. Be careful about using graphics where text would work, as in headings or menu items. Not only does this effect download speed, it also greatly effects the way search engines index your site. Search engines reward meaningful text more than graphics.

As you consider the graphic content of your site, always keep in mind the purpose and goals of your site determined in the crucial planning stage. While your goal may be to entertain, you never want to overwhelm your site visitors with colors or graphics that are too loud or inappropriate. Don't make the common mistake of showing off your skills at the expense of satisfying the goals of the site.

Unless you have expertise in creating graphics, you may want to hire a graphic artist or web designer to create and/or edit the graphics for your site. If you're a bound-and-determined do-it-yourselfer and you have lots of time to learn, you can find Open Source or freeware graphics tools, as well as royalty-free image sites on the links page.