Create Wicked Cool Marketing Graphics

If you read my earlier post, you already know how awesome I am at creating graphics (not!) :-)

Here’s a software box image I created many years ago (around 2001) for my then-active web site, WebmasterInABox.net – later renamed to MyWebmasterInABox.com, because Google banned the original domain when the site got hacked and was injected with malware for a period of time back in 2005 or so. And since I had not been actively maintaining the web site at that time (thanks to my J.O.B), I never even realized that my site had dropped out of the rankings until after a few months, when I noticed a big dip in sales.

Anyway, here’s the terrible CD box cover image that I created myself back in 2001.

wbib

Fast-forward many years later, I wanted a more professional image for DAP. So I paid someone about $200 for this software box image.

DigitalAccessPass_Box

 

Then again in 2011, when we were getting ready to launch WickedCoolPlugins.com, since we were planning on launching multiple plugins, I figured $200 – or even $100 – per image was going to be wasteful and expensive. By this time, of course, there were many marketplaces where you could hire designers – like dribbble, odesk and even fiverr.

Still, I managed to overcome good sense, and tried creating this myself during that launch. Took me only about 5 hours!

box_smp

And then I found the holy grail of “Graphics Tool For Noobs“.

The one below took me less than 10 minutes.

Drag, drop, done.

STU-Cover

Box Shot King: Easily the best option even if you are a Photoshop guru, better than using Photoshop macros.

Create Super Cool Buttons

Ok, I have a confession to make.

I suck at creating graphics. Be it any kind – buttons, ecovers, banners, etc.

Here’s one I created at the peak of my graphic-creation prowess.

addtoorder1click

Makes me want to throw up :-)

The problem with buy buttons, is that you can’t get them easily.

If you go search image sites, you may find some decent buttons – but they will never ever have the words you want. They will not have the colors you want.

If you want to outsource it to an image person, they usually charge you like $50 – $100 per image. And if they’ve never done any marketing online, then their buttons would look something like this:

buy-button-terrible

And that’s absolutely terrible! Feel like throwing up – twice!

I would rather go with my own terrible creation from earlier.

Not.

Anyway, if you want a quick way to effortlessly create beautiful buy buttons with your own text, maybe even dollar amounts on them, etc – then I’ve got the most awesome online tool that I discovered just recently.

Here are a couple of buttons I created myself.

Took me all of 1 full minute to create these.

add-to-cart

add-to-order

buynow

checkout

Actually, just the first one took 1 minute. The rest took like 10 seconds each, as all I had to do was change the text.

And this online tool that I used to create these beauties (yup, I have set my bar pretty low) even gives you a permalink – a permanent link to the template – that you can save and go back to each time you wish to create a new button in the future.

And the cool thing is that the permalink stores all of the button’s settings – including font type, color, background colors, gloss type, etc.

You can find a link to my template below. Feel free to modify it, save it, and add yours to the comments section below.

Oh, and feel free to right-click & save-as the above images to your computer and use them as you deem fit.

No charge. It’s free. Enjoy!

Click here for my “Add To Cart” Button Template.

From the awesome DaButtonFactory.com.

How To Over-deliver

Imagine the little girl in the beginning, dropping just a few coins in your hat, as one of your customers.

And the musicians as your team.

Now imagine how thrilled your customer would be if your team could over-deliver like in this video.

Think you would get a standing ovation (great ratings and testimonials) and everyone flocking towards you (viral marketing, social proof) and have happy customers (repeat business)?

“But.. it was all planned”, you say? Well, who’s stopping you from executing a well-planned service like this?

Who said it has to be on-the-fly?

Who said it’s not OK to generate a “planned WOW!”?

Carbonite vs Dropbox vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Google Drive

Backup Restore Buttons Showing Data Archive Or RecoverySo many awesome file backup services available today.

So, which one is the best to back up files on your computer?

For the sheer reason that you can back up files from all over your computer, in all kinds of directories, all from right where they are – disorganized and un-categorized and lumped up on your desktop like a sick cat threw up – and not have to worry about putting them all onto one single folder each time just so it can be backed up (like you have to do with Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive or Google Drive or Microsoft Sky Drive), my vote goes for Carbonite.

Plus, Carbonite offers you unlimited backups for one flat fee – so you don’t have to pay per GB backed-up like with the other services. And they also have a business plan to back up upto 3 computers (which is what I have myself for my computers at home).

And there too, you get unlimited backups without any limits.

So my most recommended backup service for your precious pictures, videos, documents, software, and any other junk you have collected over the years…

Winner: Carbonite

 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

You probably wouldn’t recognize a Monet painting if you saw it in my living room.

You probably can’t comprehend the other-worldly talent of LeBron James if you you weren’t a fan of Basketball.

You probably can’t appreciate the excruciating hard work that went into the 4-year training of an Olympic athlete.

So guess what happened when a world-famous violinist played a violin worth $3.5 million, in a NY city subway, pretending to be a street musician?

Sadly, greatness fades when surrounded by ignorance.

When The Outside Makes The Inside

You know that saying about not judging a book by its cover? How it’s what is on the inside that matters?

The cover does not always have to be for others. The cover can sometimes help create the content inside. Even make the content come perceptibly better.

Enjoy this inspirational time-lapse video of how a homeless drunk veteran went through a physical transformation first, before that change eventually resulted in personal transformation.

It’s the same concept behind the motivation for weight loss, for example. Looking good can make you feel good.

Sometimes, it’s not just about the inside changing the outside.

Sometimes, we just need to feel good first, before we can be good, and do good.

 

Onion Goggles

Gotta get me one of these… wearing my swimming goggles hurts my eyes – and they get foggy too (imagine not being able to see what you’re slicing thru – oops!)


Onions have a defense mechanism. No, they don’t have impenetrable steel armor, or spikes, or adamantium skeletons. They rely, instead, on chemical weaponry. Now, before you go calling the Department of Homeland Security on your green-grocer, hear me out. Inside the cell walls of a typical onion are a collection of enzymes called “allinase” and “prensco.” Normally separated, once you start to cut an onion, those walls breakdown, and those enzymes create 1–propenylsulphenic acid, which further break down into propanethial S-oxide gas. Those gases waft outwards from the onion, eventually dissolving into the tears that coat your eye, turning them into a mild sulfuric acid! Your tear-ducts produce more tears to help dilute the caustic chemical. All that knowledge isn’t very helpful, though, when you’re eyes are burning, but it does help to protect you next time you’re chopping onions. If you know to keep that chemical out of your eyes, you’ll be just fine. These Onion Goggles fits snugly over your eyes, sealing them up and protecting you from those sulfurous fumes. Okay, maybe they’re not exactly the most fashionable kitchen accessory out there, but at least you don’t have to be afraid of chopping onions any longer! Don’t believe the old wives’ tales – breathing from your mouth, burning a candle, wine-cork between your teeth… none of that works. Onion Goggles do! No more tears!






Where were you that fateful day?

Where were you on 09/11/2001, do you remember?

I was in NY.

My wife Veena and I were both working for a company called Prodigy Communications. We had just joined a few months earlier.

That unfortunate day, I was earlier than usual to work. I was just settling down at my desk with a hot cup of coffee, when I heard a lot of murmuring, and I stood up to see many people suddenly rushing towards the staircase going downstairs.

I thought it was either a fire – or something had happened to someone at the premises. So I followed suit.

Going down the stairs, I saw people gathering in the big community hall where we usually had our all-hands meeting.

It was the first time I noticed that there was a a small TV in one corner of the room. And I saw everyone huddling around it.

I went closer and saw a building on fire. Smoke billowing out of it like crazy. It was the first tower.

Don’t remember feeling much at that time. It was just that terrible feeling when you see a tragic accident. They were saying a plane had crashed into one of the world trade buildings. No one knew it as an actual large, commercial plane – it looked more like a much smaller training-plane kind of accident. No casualties had yet been reported. Luckily, it was still early in the work day – so hopefully the offices were still not too full. “Hopefully, it isn’t going to be too bad”, we all nervously consoled ourselves.

And then as we all kept watching, the second plane hit. I don’t know if we actually saw the second plane, but that’s how I remember it.

And soon after, the first tower collapsed.

I heard a emotional male co-worker let out a blood curdling shriek in horror. That’s actually the first time when it really hit everyone that we were witnessing one of the greatest acts of terror ever carried out not just on US soil, but in our lifetimes too.

And then the second tower collapsed.

People were getting sick and passing out around me.

Some were sobbing uncontrollably.

Some were calling others to find out if their friends or loved ones were safe.

I don’t remember what happened the rest of the day after that – it’s all one big blur now.

Looking back to that day, and thinking about the events that unfolded, it still gives me goosebumps. I have a sickening knot in my stomach even as I write this. And I didn’t even know anyone among the 3,000 unfortunate souls who lost their lives on that fateful day.

I don’t know what it feels like to have lost a loved one to the tragedy. I can only imagine.

I was fortunate enough to not have lost anyone among my friends or loved ones on that day.

The closest I came to it, was finding out later that a close friend’s brother had been to the WTC buildings that morning. He couldn’t be reached immediately, and it was a nervous few hours for my friend, but he eventually turned out OK. He had already left the building by then, and he narrowly missed being part of the tragedy.

Even though 10 years passed since the tragedy, no year has had so much impact on my emotions or on my entire family, as it has this year.

As I sat with my wife and children and watched the various memorials and documentaries and interviews, we couldn’t help but thank the media for it.

I had never before felt the compelling need to write and share about that day, but today I’m doing so, thanks to the media that made us all remember why this day is so special, one to be remembered, one to be mourned, and one to be celebrated.

I guess I needed to wake up and remember the pain.

I needed to realize how fortunate I am – and how fortunate my family and friends are to have not lost anyone that day.

And I needed to appreciate the unimaginable suffering and pain that all the families who lost loved ones that day have endured for the last 10 years.

So I wanted to write this, to share my acknowledgment of the pain – and let the world know, that I have not forgotten.

And I will never forget what happened. Because it changed all of our lives in so many ways.

May God bless the souls of those who died on September 11, 2001, and bring peace to their families and loved ones.

- Ravi Jayagopal

PS: If you have a story of your own to share, please do so in the comments below.