Before I became an author of books, I was a writer of poems and a musician but most importantly, I was a community manager on MSN communities and I was a graphic designer.
During that time as a community manager, I learned that creating your own graphics is absolutely essential. If you used the same stock graphics as everyone else, you might as well shut down the community. Nobody was going to join. It did not matter how great your content is. What mattered and always will, when it comes to any website, is the appearance. If it does not make a great first impression, it will be the last impression.
This is true of every website on the Internet. The reason is quite simple. If you cannot make an original site, then people have no confidence in your professionalism. If they have no confidence, they won’t buy, read, listen, or even bother to glance around.
That does not mean that the persons behind the site are necessarily unprofessional. It just means they were too lazy to make themselves look professional. On this one, I will have to side with the masses. If I go a website that is poorly designed, I will leave. Who has time for extra headaches, right?
The point I am trying to set in here is, it is more important to learn how to create your own graphics, than it is to spend money on buying someone else’s stuff, which they have sold a billion times. No where on my blogs will you find stock photos(other than company logos for recognition purposes). I create all the graphics myself. This guarantees that nobody will have graphics like mine and it WILL be a new experience for them.
Someone suggested on Twitter to today, that you use premium themes. But let’s analyze this for a moment. If you buy a premium theme and use stock photos(graphics), then that is a the equivalent of serving shit on a golden platter. You completely wasted your good money, UNLESS you are going to go all in and pay for custom graphics. Then you are basically looking at someone building a website for you. That is going to cost you at least $500.00!
My suggestion would be the inverse. LEARN TO CREATE YOUR OWN GRAPHICS! Then no matter what kind of theme you choose, you can create a custom site for your visitors.
Sure it will take some time, but the money you save can be used on advertising!
Invest $100.00 in photo editing software such as Photoshop Elements. It has enough customization options for most people. Learn a little html. Do these in your spare time, when you are not creating. A website, you should not expect to be an overnight success. It takes time and that is the time you can use to learn.
You can start that journey toward a successful website right here at WordPress.com. There are so many great themes with various options, including customization options, that it is the perfect place to start and even keep your blog permanently, as long as you do not plan on making money from the blog itself(placing ads). Note: They may have changed this policy and allow you to do that now.
This website offers plenty of free space( I have over 1000 pics on this blog and still have lots of space), they have a great spam blocker that actually works. They have plenty of widgets(plug-ins), layout choices, etc. all with no coding knowledge required. You can upgrade your account at any time to remove ads, add more space, or even install a custom or premium theme, should you desire.
Now, I do not use a custom landing page. I never will. It has been my experience that you cannot force people to do anything they don’t want to do. Trying to do so will only cause them to leave or to give you false information. If you want people to visit and return, just make their visit enjoyable.
Feel free to look at my stats on the front page and you will see I am not talking out of my ass. I have nearly 700k visits in eight years time. That is nearly 100k visitors a year and with less than 12 posts a year. Obviously, I am doing something right.
If you follow the path I suggest, not only will you save money, you will have fun learning something new, and you will have more money to put into things that matter…like advertising! There is a reason big companies spend lots of money on it every year. It actually works if the advertising is targeted.
Of course, the obvious question might be why don’t I advertise? The answer is simple…I have no money. I spend it all on medicine thanks to Obamacare. But that is a different story, for another day.
I hope this article you found useful. If so, please like, link, share, or comment. Your support is always welcome and appreciated!