Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How to Create a Web Image Ad

I've touched briefly on this subject when I wrote a post on how to make a website banner using MS Paint last year. And though I've happily used the services of a professional when it came to making an ad, being able to make a basic one on my own means I have that much more available in advertising funds.

There are two places that I know of that will help you place an image ad: Project Wonderful and Google AdWords. Project Wonderful is generally less expensive, and is considered to be a good starting place for those who haven't done paid advertising before. The down side is that a lot of the more affordable ad spaces are for blogs or websites that don't have a great deal of traffic -- you really have to choose wisely. Plus, the sites there tend to be less well-known than the ones on AdWords.

AdWords used to be only for text ads, but now they also place image/banner ads as well. I used their text ad service before and didn't do so well, I think with my work it's a lot easier to get clicks when people can see it -- either that, or I'm just not much of an ad-writer. I also like their new "placements" option, where you can choose the sites your ads appear on.

These are instructions on how to make a square ad (125x125 pixels for Project Wonderful, or a 200x200 pixel "small square" for Google) with a single photograph as the image. I'll be doing another post on how to do the other size/multiple photo ads as soon as I get a little better with the technique myself.

1. After opening Paint, go to Edit, and select "Paste From." Choose the image you want to use for your ad and click "open."

2. Move your cursor over one corner of your image until you see a diagonal, two-pointed arrow. When you see this, this means you can resize, rather than just move the image around.

3. Resize your image. As you move the cursor, you will see the dimensions displayed at the bottom of your screen. You can leave the image slightly larger than the size of the ad you're making, for example, when I was making a 125x125 ad, I sized the image to 127x127. Do not click away from the image during this time, otherwise it will be set at whatever size/position you were in at the moment, and you will be unable to make any corrections without deleting the image and having to start all over again.

4. Using your mouse, drag the image over to the top right corner of the page, next to the menu. If you don't do this, when you resize the overall file, you could potentially "lose" your image.

5. Click on "Image," then choose "Attributes." Make sure that the "unit" selected is pixels, then enter the size you want in the width and height boxes.

6. To add text to your image, click on the text button (the one that looks like an "A") and use your cursor to create a box where you want your words to go. Two new buttons will appear on the side of your screen. The first is the "Draw Opaque" button -- it has three shapes, with the green square appearing on a white background. If you choose this option, your text will appear on a white cut-out over your image. The second button is the one that will allow you to type text onto your ad, but keep the image you've uploaded as the background, rather than reverting to the white screen. Personally, I like having the background showing through, so I choose that second option. Select the color and font style of your type and add the words you want to say. You can also create text areas in other portions of your image if your words don't fit in the original space, and if you want to avoid having text over certain areas.

7. When you've finished click on "File" then choose "Save As." Type in a file name, and select the ".png" file type. You may also want to check under "Properties" to double-check that the size of the finished file is within the limits of the ad-placement service you're using.

The only drawback to using Paint as compared to a fancier program is that your choice of fonts/font colors is pretty limited. Also, you can't create animations, or add special effects. But for a basic web ad, I think it's a pretty decent -- not to mention, free -- option.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cleaning Up My Inventory

I have decided to a little "house cleaning" of my inventory by adding a "Sale and Clearance" section to my Etsy shop. The first design to go into this section is shown above. It's the kanji character for "Seimei," meaning "Life."

Although I've always liked the way this particular character looks, the majority of my customers have asked for "Long Life" rather than just "Life." I am still in the process of researching the new character, but I have several copies of the current design in my Etsy and craft show inventory.

The regular price was $34 (without frame), and I marked it down 20%. The new sale price is now $27.20 plus shipping.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Additions to Shop

Finally uploaded a couple of things that have been on my to-do list for a long time. One was this bouquet, which I've named Midori, the Japanese word for "green" or "spring." It also happens to be the name of a couple of my favorite relatives... I came across these paper colors while searching for a "honeydew" paper for a custom order. Though the order itself never was finalized, I liked the look of the two different shades of green, and that was how this bouquet was born.

The other item I've uploaded recently is the "Seahorse." It contains 95 cranes. It's one of the few designs I've done that was mostly "freehand." In other words, I didn't create a sketch for this one until it was absolutely necessary. The last time I used the freehand method was with my hammerhead ACEO, which I wasn't really happy with and ultimately ended up pulling out of my Etsy shop.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Blue Treasury

A big thanks to LDPhotography for including my "Ready for a Close-Up" ACEO in her blue-themed Treasury! We 'met' in that never-ending thread in the forums that inspired my earlier blog post: "A Whale Tail and a Monster Thread." Oh, and that thread, by the way, is now
almost triple the size it was at the time of the original blog post. It's now 892 forum pages long!