This is a Guest post by James at JamesMartell.com
The words free and advertising don’t often go together in real life. Getting more site traffic takes time and effort, finding a way to effortlessly gain more clicks is always good news.
A method for generating more traffic quickly was a right in front of me. Banners brought a lot of attention to my site, but not every format allows this type of advertising. Then I discovered another way to use the same pull of a banner that did work in almost in any format.
Social media sites like Twitter, and Facebook, where typical banner advertising is not allowed does have another way to utilize the same drawing power.
Thumbnails can advertise your site as easily as a banner will. The best news is this tool is less expensive to have created and is welcomed with open arms on most social sites.
Smaller Package, Better Visibility
Since thumbnails are allowed on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites, they become visible. Blogs, chat forums, and other social media sites enthusiastically welcome users to upload a thumbnail with open arms.
My guess as to the reason that thumbnails do not receive the attention they are due is because most people never realize how efficient they can be in helping to generate that click.
Using the Thumbnail to Generate Attention
The thumbnail is really a smaller, and more “portable” type of banner ad. While leaving a message through many types of social media such as posting on Facebook, or using Twitter your thumbnail works the same as banner ad would in giving anyone who sees it a view of your message.
Thumbnails can be designed and created in many different sizes. Having a selection on hand for the different websites you will visit that allow thumbnails is great idea. Common pixel sizes are 50×50, 80×80, 100×100, 170×170, or 200×200. The pixel size that is recommended for iTunes is 600×600.
My wife Arlene created a popular website called EpilepsyMoms.com. She found out how well thumbnails could work in generating interest in her podcast by using professional and descriptive graphics.
Having thumbnails created by a professional could be done at a low cost, and Arlene had two sets created, one with her website address which is already descriptive in what the site is about and one that promotes her podcast.
4 Simple Ways to Generate Traffic
When working online the easiest ways often work the best for you. That is why the technique for promoting a product or service with a banner is very effective. It’s easy to use and can be re-used often. Thumbnails are just as usable and can bring that same exposure on sites where banners can’t be utilized.
1. Using Facebook and Twitter to Build Your Brand
Using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn business have found a natural for introducing their products and services to people via numerous exposures online. This is the best type of promotion…free! 🙂
A well thought out and carefully designed thumbnail can even offer a tempting link back to your website from many social media sites. A plain picture or name doesn’t necessarily carry the message you want, or create the desire of everyone viewing it to click the link and go to your site. Having a professional graphic can gain attention instantly giving those viewing it a reason to want to know more.
2. Businesses Gain Attention on Facebook and Twitter
Online retailers, affiliate marketers, promoters or really anyone using website promotions will find it’s smart to have a set of banners and thumbnails of various sizes.
In the same way, a carefully crafted banner draws attention so too does a well-designed thumbnail establish and build your brand, which can then increase click through rates to your site.
Your thumbnail can bring more people to your site wherever you blog, chat in a forum, or leave a comment on someone else’s site. No matter where you go online, this can work as a continuous draw for your site.
3. Get Tons of Traffic to Your Site
Thumbnails have the drawing power to bring thousands to your site. And because thumbnails have more applications in many more places, these smaller versions of banners are more versatile and adaptable.
Polished, professional, and personable thumbnail graphics grab attention. Thinking of thumbnails you might have clicked on or followed back yourself chances are good these carried an image that first caught your attention, and then made you want to know more. You can even give your photo some retouching from a professional.
4. Posts or Tweets With More Power
As you post a tweet on Twitter, or make a comment on someone else’s wall in Facebook a thumbnail speaks for you. The greater number of times you use these sites with your thumbnail representing you the more clicks you will see.
I have found this to be true on sites where I am a frequent poster. Most major blogs where you write, post, or even simply respond to a message, as a commenter will allow the use of thumbnails. With the thumbnail, you are not a “John Smith” type of poster, and people will want to know more about you. Following your interesting thumbnail link thousands will pick up the trail to your site’s door.
4 Creating a Dynamic Thumbnail Graphic
1. Use a Good Photo
You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to get the best feature all photos need most…your smile. A smile is a welcome, and people instinctively respond to you. The background should limited and professional, and be sure there is enough light. A digital photo will work just as well as one taken by a professional camera. A photo retoucher can often help work out problems with a photo you want to use.
2. Find a Graphic Pro
Hiring a professional graphics designer will go a long way to getting the best thumbnail possible. Professionals will have software that can give your graphics a smoother, perfect look. A pro can even retouch your photo to look its best on a thumbnail. Arlene had several thumbnails inexpensively created for her by a professional and she was happy with the results.
3. Keep Text Simple
The wording on graphics should be short and get your point across. The name of the site and a word or two such as Arlene did with by using the name of her site and “Podcast” conveys a clear message. Too much text will detract from the message.
4. Find a Style
Once you find a look that works for you don’t keep changing it. Changing too often will confuse those viewing it and they might not remember you as easily. Keep details between your thumbnail, website, and brand as similar as possible.
Give It Drawing Power
Should you think I’m making a big deal over something that is very simple consider this – the saying that people judge a book by it’s cover is true, and your thumbnail is going to be the cover for every Twitter tweet, Facebook and blog comment, or chat forum thread. Over time, this can number into the thousands of images all working for your site or other promotion.
As Arlene worked on her site and wanted thumbnails created, she decided to use a source she used previously with success. Since she had much of the work for her site done using a service provider site, she quickly found a professional do a touch up on her photo and use a few simple words to convey her message.
As the mother of a child with epilepsy, she wanted to reach as many other mothers as possible who might be facing the same challenges making this site important to her. This was a job she had to keep on a budget, and the results were exactly what she wanted.
She also had a professional graphic designer create banner ads, header graphics, and an image for the audio player she features on her home page. Using these types of sites, a professional is not expensive, because there are many professional writers, technical pros, and others all competing for jobs. Easily negotiating with someone to handle any budgeted job from clerical to a web design is not difficult.
Never Miss Your Chance –Gravatar
Not too long ago I found myself at a site and wanted to post my thumbnail after making a comment. Looking through the settings however, I wasn’t able to find how to add the thumbnail.
After some searching, I was able to find out that many places where you find blogs, chat forums, and commenting boards use a system called Gravatar service to place thumbnails.
Going to Gravatar.com I realized that all I had to do was upload the thumbnail on this site, and then give it an assigned email address. From that point on all I had to do was go to any place I wanted to comment or post and use my email address in the usual field and my thumbnail appears without my having to do anything else.
Not A Secret From You
A professionally created thumbnail graphic can provide you with a constant stream of traffic to your website at no cost. With a little effort getting your thumbnails designed, you will be ready to go.
Over to You
Are you satisfied with the thumbnail you have now?