1001 Newbie - Friendly Tips by Bob McElwain - HTML preview

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Are Free Graphics Really Free?

Well, maybe. But let's define free. Finding anything on the Web takes time. Often it takes a lot of time. So free must somehow be related to how you value your time.

It  can  take  hours  to  find  a  good  graphics  site,  then  many  more  to  shuffle through files often poorly organized in search of something useful. And generally what  you  find  is  free  only  for  non-commercial  use.  There  can  be  some  pretty hefty requirements if used on a business site. One such site requires a full size banner ad at the top of your index page. This "price" is much too steep for most.

Now  suppose  you  do  stumble  upon  something  really  neat,  something  that will add real zip to your site. The chances are others also liked it and are already using it on their site. If you use art your visitors commonly see, it will downgrade your site.

More  important,  unless  you  cost  your  time  at  zero  dollars  per  hour,  this  neat graphic you found was not really free after all.

Alternatively,   go   to   ArtToday   (ArtToday.Com).   They   have   a   public section you can explore. But the private section is the strength of this site. It is loaded with quality work. It costs $29/year, but you can use all you need. They require only a link on your site back to them. You need to sign in to use even the free  section.  They  will  not  flood  you  with  email,  but  they  do  send  out  some interesting  offers  in  hopes  you  will  begin  paying.  You  might  find  one  of  these deals very attractive.

It is the search engine on this site that is most important to busy site builders. Use it to save many hours looking at graphics you don't need. Type in "happy kid" and you will likely find something you like.

Since it costs $29 to access the complete library, what you find is not as likely to be  as  widely  distributed  as  what  you  might  find  at  a  free  site.  And  the  search engine will save you time worth much more than the cost.

However, the better approach is to go to an artist. This costs you zero hours, and the few dollars involved are well spent, for you will have original work that adds spice and sparkle to your site because it was specifically designed to do so.

While the focus here was on obtaining good graphics, this argument holds true for all the needs of a webmaster. Hire an expert to do anything you can not easily do yourself. Save your time for important tasks, such as generating leads and closing sales.