8 Ways To Improve Your Website Without Breaking The Bank

by derek on May 6, 2011 · 25 comments

All websites have a design that should reflect upon the exact purpose of the site. A theme is like the backbone of a website and should embrace your website’s title. Once you’ve come up with a great title based on your chosen niche then choosing or creating a theme should come naturally.

How Do I Decide On A Website Theme?

If a person decided to create a site to sell baby clothes, the sites theme would then be something in the nature of smiling babies or toys. Your theme imparts a consistent look that runs throughout the entire site while helping to relay your message. There are free or low cost themes on websites like WordPress, Drupal, Mambo or a variety of content management system and blogging platforms and they come in all shapes and sizes tailored to the individual. While using themes readily available, it’s the addition of custom graphics that would cause your site to stand out ahead of the competition.
The use of custom graphics by a professional graphic designer presents a polished more professional look to visitors. This often results in higher conversion rates for your site so it’s a worthwhile decision to make.
Try to think outside the box, browse a few successful websites to see if you can spot the things that make a difference between their site and yours.
Do you know the type of things outsourcing a graphic designer could get you? You probably have an idea but feel it could become a bit expensive. It’s amazing how many people can cling to that thought by passing up on opportunity. There’s a saying that has been around for many years that when opportunity knocks, you let it in.

What Can A Graphic Designer Do for My Site?

A graphic designer can do anything you want them to. Take a look at your site and you may see that you have a need for adding a header graphic or making improvements on an existing one, getting thumbnails created for numerous purposes, even hiring a professional photo retoucher to do some work on your website’s photos.
An affiliate manager might need a new set of banners created to offer their affiliates. An affiliate marketer looking to increase conversion rates would outsource professional graphics services to increase the IMPACT of their marketing materials. The needs of professional graphic services vary from person to person based on their occupations.

Types of Graphic Designer Services You Need & Why You Need Them

1. Header Graphic – Setting the stage
All websites usually have a header graphic. The header graphics tell the story of what your sites based around. My wife Arlene’s header graphic at her “Epilepsy” website includes a short simple tag-line telling the story of how our son diagnosed as a child with epilepsy has been drug and seizure free for over ten years. It’s straight to the point for families that have kids with epilepsy. The header also included a photo of both in the top right hand corner.

Anyone visiting the site that has a child with epilepsy could easily relate and that keeps them on the site. When using header graphics you’ll want to avoid making them too flashy or too big. Knowing exactly where you want your logo, photo and middle is also something to give thought to. Placing your face in the header is also an excellent idea if you can do that.
2. Thumbnails – Making your presence known
You can use thumbnails with a photo and website address on them for a variety of sites like twitter. It’d be like having a banner for free advertisement. Any type of site where you can include a photo will be beneficial towards your business for a very long time.

3. Banner Ads – Another way of branding
Banner ads are also great for business. In Arlene’s case she used her banner in conjunction with a free report offered on her site. Keep banner ads short, simple, and straight to the point. If you don’t know how to capture people’s attention with your words, outsourcing is available for that.

4. Signature – Signing your name on the dotted line
Have you ever come across a site in the past or maybe an online job that required your signature on documents? It’s nice to have a signature file because you never know when you might want to use it for a blog post or in a newsletter. Signature files could be outsourced or you can create them yourself by simply writing your signature and scanning it through your printer.

5. Control Panel – Cruising the road of your site while avoiding bumps
Specialty graphics such as a control panel would allow better navigation of your website which is always a plus.

6. Promotional Graphics – Connecting with the people
Maybe you want to include a podcast on your site for interviewing or teaching so you’d want to outsource for promotional graphics. Include promotional materials for your podcast because you can upload graphics. Graphics and images are always good resources for branding.

7. Cover Art – To read or not to read
To present that professional look and breathe of fresh air for a book you can have a wonderful book cover created. Book covers make the difference between viewing a book as exciting or interesting or passing the book off as maybe being boring and unattractive.

8. Newsletter – Offering your visitors more
Many sites like to either send out emails or include a newsletter on their site. Arlene used this in a way where she had several small photos including herself in the right hand corner. If you could showcase real people to fit your niche this would appeal better to everyday people.

Where to Find a Graphic Designer?

You can find graphic designers by doing a simple Google search for them directly or searching for freelancing sites. I’d personally recommend Elance because it has an excellent outsourcing reputation including strict policies that are beneficial to both the clients and providers.
When posting your first job at any freelance website you should make sure you’ve included every detail of the services you wish to receive, even on down to the smallest detail.
Is it expensive?
Outsourcing graphic designers through a freelance network like Elance can be very affordable even when you’re working with a budget. You should try bundling all your graphic designing services into one posting to get better rates from providers.

Be Able to Admit When You Lack Skills in Certain Areas

The many different types of things a graphic designer can do is often brought up at my affiliate marketing trainings to give affiliates with websites clear views of what could be achieved with a well thought out plan presentable to the chosen provider of their services.
Many online marketers are breathing a sigh of relief because if faced with all those tasks their selves to complete they’d never be able to get the job done. Through outsourcing graphic designers, this allows us to focus more on other important things relating to business or just sit back and take a much needed break. I must admit that there are skills in the area of graphic design that I’m lacking in so it’s easier to get what I want done, when I want it done by trusted professionals in that field of work.
About the Author
James Martell, a full-time affiliate marketer is an expert in the field and has been successfully teaching others to do the same since way back in 2001. Host of the first ever and longest running podcast for affiliate marketers and a sought out speaker at industry conferences. James resides in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb south of Vancouver, B.C. Canada with his wife Arlene, and their four children.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Bjorn May 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Professional graphics work is making the brand more attractive, no doubt. I struggle to make a logo for my website, maybe I should consider hiering a professional instead..?

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Joe May 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm

The importance of making your site stand out of the crowd cannot be stressed enough. I can’t tell you how many times my eyes glaze over when I come across yet another blog using the same old generic Wordpress theme, or one that looks exactly like the last ten blogs I visited. James is absolutely correct here; spend the extra money, hire a designer – it will make a huge difference to your site down the line.

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Gold Star May 8, 2011 at 2:01 am

The theme of the website can either make or break your traffic. It is the feel that can make the readers stay and browse some more or it can make them leave in a snap. Hiring a graphic designer can be pricey but I guess it is worth it. 🙂

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Spring Season in India May 9, 2011 at 6:35 am

these suggestion are great, specially for the person is new in designing his own portal. Thanks for such a wonderful blog sharing 🙂

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Settlement Purchaser May 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

These are great tips not to break the bank when starting out. There are quite a few ways to do it. Thanks again.

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Mik@Ethos Logos Pathos May 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Getting a good graphic designer is important. Especially when it is important to maintain a professional image.

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Jason Mitchev May 20, 2011 at 9:08 am

Thank you for great tips. Being a new to blogging scene I’m in a constant learning more and finding superb information shared in this post is something that will help me progress and hopefully achieve my goals

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Frances May 24, 2011 at 8:31 am

I agree that in wordpress there are free or low cost themes. I don’t have graphic designer but I was thinking of changing the header of site just like I did in the past. I want to change the header to add personal touch and having thumbnails is a nice idea.

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Ragab @ spinal surgeon May 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I run on a budget all of the time so I look for professional help also. I normally check sites like fiverr or flash developers sites for items that I can download and configure my self. A lot of sites include complete instructions on how to modify their items. Just another way to save a buck.

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Fine Art Photo Prints May 28, 2011 at 12:00 am

Cool, thanks for your advice, this is truly useful for my new website.

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Jenny @ BingoBabe.co.uk May 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Great article, i have found one designer that i have used in over a dozen projects. He is dirt cheap and is a very talented guy from Malaysia.
Anyway, i ran a contest on 99 designs a few years ago, this guy stood out from the crowd. After he won the contest, we touched base again and he has been doing projects for me ever sites.

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LED_Lights_Man June 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I really enjoyed your blog. thanks for keep it up

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Luigi July 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

The last consideration of this interesting article is the most significant one. Lots of people don’t rely on others for various reasons: some of them just want to save their money or simply don’t want other professionals to touch their websites!!!

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Luigi@Translations Online July 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I forgot to wish you all good luck in your web projects!!!
Bye bye from Italy

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Kostas@Online Opportunities July 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Making a website looking beautiful is certainly a plus but the most important is to make it more functional and easier for the visitors to navigate

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Victor Jacobs@Cadouri July 27, 2011 at 6:50 am

Great pieces of advice, we must respect those rules if we want to improve our websites in the correct way. But also, we can’t entirely change a website within 2 days so that’s why we need to work a lot in order to achieve the success. Thanks for sharing!

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Brian Kinkade@lakewood homes August 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

I do agree that hiring a professional graphic designer is a worthwhile investment. If you want to do this on your own, there are a lot of tutorials on the web that can help you do this. But you will definitely have to invest a lot of time in doing so. And, it also takes time to be good at it, so..

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Hidlight_Accessories_HID September 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

these suggestion are great, specially for the person is new in designing his own portal. Thanks for such a wonderful blog sharing!!!!! 🙂

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Randall@Logos November 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

it’s true “You should try bundling all your graphic designing services into one posting to get better rates from providers”… I do that for some of my customers and work out a monthly agreement because of more work, and it works pretty well for both.

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James@basic computer skills January 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

This is something I am about to come across with my website. I realize my skills here are lacking and I will probably need to outsource. I have outsourced a logo for a different site and it turned out great. Really helped improve the look and get people interested.

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Adeline@Pediatric Dentists February 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Graphic designer is a big help in your website. As discussed here, it’s an all in one task for your site and there are a lot of things that will contribute to your site. There’s no need to study on your own and can really save time

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adam @ Coventry Website Design March 5, 2012 at 6:19 am

I’ve certainly found that sending out a newsletter to my customers has kept the relationship close, I like to get to keep them in the picture so they don’t think I’ve forgotten about them even if the project is finished.

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Richard Johnson March 12, 2012 at 1:07 am

Graphic designer really have many functions in your website. He will be the all in one creator of your website which is a great assistance to have. Your only job when the graphic designer exists is you are the one who lead him. The main goal or the objective of your website is important for him to mention so that he will have the right output.

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Shaun@Hypernova Design Studio April 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Above sugesstions are great and are well explained. I will improve my skills in web design. Thanks for sharing!

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