Everyone likes the word free, especially when it comes to advertising. Driving traffic to a site usually takes considerable time and effort. Finding a way to almost effortlessly, generate additional traffic is an exciting idea. :)
One easy way to generate more traffic was right in front of me the entire time. Banners are a great form of drawing attention to your site, but this form of advertising cannot be used in every format.
There is a way to use the same information, and drawing power of a banner on social media sites like Twitter, and Facebook, where traditional banner advertising is cost prohibitive for many or simply not available.
Thumbnails can carry the same information, and represent your site as powerfully as a banner does. Even better news is that thumbnails are easy and inexpensive to have created and are welcomed with open arms on most sites.
Good Things Come In Small Packages
Thumbnails are smaller, highly visible and their use is encouraged on Facebook, Twitter, and most social media sites. Additionally most blogs and chat forums also encourage members to upload a thumbnail.
It would be my guess that thumbnails are not given more attention because many people underestimate how effective they can be in helping to generate that click.
Utilizing Thumbnails to Generate Interest
Thinking of a thumbnail as a more “portable” version of a banner ad, more uses become apparent. Every time you post on Facebook, use Twitter or leave a message on many other types of social media then your thumbnail functions as a mini-banner giving everyone who sees it a view of your message.
There are several sizes for thumbnail creation and it’s a good idea to have a selection on hand for the different websites that allow thumbnails. The most common pixel sizes are 50×50, 80×80, 100×100, 170×170, or 200×200. If you are a podcaster there is also a 600×600 size for iTunes.
Creating a versatile thumbnail doesn’t have to be expensive. When my wife Arlene created her website EpilepsyMoms.com she discovered how well thumbnails could work in generating interest in her podcast by using professional and descriptive graphics.
She also found that the graphic design, retouching and creation of the thumbnail by a pro could be done at a low cost. In fact, she decided to have 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 Tactics For Generating Traffic
Simple often works best, especially when working online. Tactics for promoting a product or service such as banners are very effective. Thumbnails can bring that same exposure on sites where banners aren’t as welcome.
1. Building Your Brand on Facebook and Twitter
Businesses are learning how to generate interest using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn finding them a natural for getting the word out about their products and services. This is of course the best type of advertising too …free! :)
A thumbnail can even link back directly to your website from many social media sites. Just using a picture or even a name doesn’t necessarily carry the message you want, or stir the desire of anyone viewing it to click the link and follow you to your site. A professionally created graphic can draw attention immediately and anyone viewing it will want to know more.
2. Promotion on Facebook and Twitter
Thumbnails can work much the same as a banner in this sense. For affiliate marketers, online retailers, or anyone using website promotions it is a good idea to have a set of thumbnails of various sizes.
Just as with the well designed banner a clearly thought out thumbnail helps to establish and build your brand and increase click through rates to your site.
Your thumbnail can bring people back to your blog, or site whenever you chat in a forum, or leave a comment on someone else’s site. Whenever you are active online, your thumbnail works as a constant draw for your site.
3. Generating Traffic for Your Site
The smaller powerhouse effect of a thumbnail has the potential to draw thousands to your site. Because it has more applications in more places these pint-size posters for your site can draw traffic.
A thumbnail that will generate rewarding clicks to a site is polished, and professional, but still personable. Thinking of those ads or thumbnails you might have clicked on or followed back in the past chances are good these showed an image that first caught your attention, then demonstrated a welcoming message or promising idea.
4. Making the Most of Every Post or Tweet
When you post a tweet on Twitter, or make a comment on someone else’s wall in Facebook your thumbnail marks the spot. Most people in business for themselves have learned the influence, and power that using these sites gives you in exposure each time you use them. The more you interact with other sites the more often your thumbnail will appear increasing the potential of more clicks to your site.
Most major blogs where you write, post, or where you respond to a message, as a comment encourage the use of thumbnails. With the thumbnail, you are less anonymous, and people will want to know more about you.
4 Tips for Creating a Better Thumbnail Graphic
1. Use a Great Photo
You don’t need to hire a pro for a great photo. Digital cameras are great as long as you remember the most important part of any picture …a good smile. Check out the lighting and use an uncluttered spot for the background.
2. Hire A Professional For Graphics
Hire a professional graphics designer to put the image together. A pro will have the software to give your thumbnail the right look. You can even find a photo retoucher if needed. When Arlene had several thumbnails created for her these were done all at one time through Elance.com, and she was very happy with the results
3. Use Minimal Text
Keep your word messages professional and to the point. The name of the site and a word or two such as Arlene did with just the word “Podcast” conveys a clear message. Trying to squish a lot of text into the thumbnail will only distract from the message.
4. Keep Your Look
Once you find a look you like keep it. As with any advertising it’s easier for those who see it to remember you if you don’t change too many details between your thumbnail and website, and brand.
Give It Drawing Power
If you think I am making a big deal about a simple thumbnail consider this -people really do judge a book by it’s cover, your thumbnail is the cover for every Twitter tweet, Facebook and blog comment, chat forum thread, which over time can number into the thousands all working on your behalf.
When Arlene wanted her thumbnails created, she went to a source she has used in the past called Elance.com. Since she had much of the work for her site done using this method, she was able to find a pro to work with her photo and a few simple words to convey her message.
As the mother of a child with epilepsy, she wanted to reach as many parents as possible so this work was important to her. Still, this was a job she needed completed on a budget, and the results were exactly what she wanted.
At the same time, she also had a professional graphic designer create banner ads, header graphics, and a professional photo retouch of her photo. Using sites like Elance 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 technology specialist is possible.
Gravatar – Your Secret Weapon
It wasn’t all that long ago I found myself wondering how to add my thumbnail to a comment I was making on another website. I looked through the setting for my site and couldn’t find anywhere to upload my thumbnail.
I did a little investigating and learned that most of the major content management systems, blogging and chat forums rely on Gravatar service to serve up the thumbnails.
I quickly learned that all I needed to do is sign-up for a Gravatar account (free), then upload my thumbnail into their system, and assign it to an email address.
Once this had been completed the next time I post a forum comment and add that email address into the field provide voila my thumbnail automatically appears.
Now You Know the Secret
A professionally created thumbnail graphic has the potential to provide you a stream of free and ongoing traffic to your website. All it takes is for you to spend a little time getting your thumbnails created and ‘you be ready to roll’.
Over to You
Are you surprised you never thought of your thumbnail as a pitchman?
Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James Martell is host of the “Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp.” A sought-after speaker, James is also the host the “Affiliate Buzz”, the 1st ever and longest running affiliate marketing podcast in the industry. James relies on outsourcing for the creation of his websites, graphics, articles, podcasts, and video in order to streamline his business, enabling him to break away from the daily grind.
- Could you adjust your Facebook thumbnail? I can’t see your face. (insights-group.com)
- the blip.tv blog: A Better Way to Choose a Thumbnail (kellysutton.tumblr.com)
- “Liking” a story now posts a thumbnail to your Facebook stream, just like the FB share button. (thenextweb.com)
- 7 Ways To Grab Your Visitor’s Attention (donnygamble.com)
- Dear YouTube, Let Us Pick Our Own Thumbnails Already! (socialtimes.com)