Header Graphics Should You Use a Website Header or Not?
Header graphics are taken for granted. Ever since blogs appeared, we are subject to whatever themes we can get and, if we like the overall design, we may be stuck with the header graphics for a long time.
Only when we buy some of the more flexible blog themes are we able to have more control over the way each page of our blog is designed.
Header graphics are not always appropriate. There are times when your website header may compete with your content and should not be used.
Content Above The Fold
Internet marketers have adopted a newspaper term to represent the portion of your website that is first displayed on a typical computer screen. That term is above the fold.
When you go to buy a newspaper at a newspaper stand, what you see is only the top portion of the newpapers front page. Newspapers are always sold folded. In fact, folding is done automatically as part of the production process, where pages are printed on a web press on a continuous roll of paper, then they are cut, collated into sections, and folded. Local flyers, coupons, and TV guides are called inserts, because they are inserted later into the already folded newpaper.
Notice that the header graphics of a newspaper are non-intrusive. Notice also the use of headlines, particularly when the news are particularly important. The headlines are, and should be, more important than the header graphics.
Branding and Header Graphics
If you have tried to design and long and narrow header, you would have realized that it is not as simple to keep it narrow as it would seem. As you stretch your header graphics, they seem to lose impact and you want the branding value they provide.
Magazines have a different challenge than newpapers. Even though they are not folded, they are usually sold by displaying them in magazine racks. If the magazine is in front, then you will see the entire cover, but if the magazines is in any of the other slots in magazine racks, they all you see is the very top portion of the magazine.
For magazines, the area that may be displayed in the rack is so narrow that the only thing that it makes sense to display is a strong branding logo, which is the name of the magazine. There is little room for content. At most, you can show one headline about the magazine name, but not much more. Once someone picks up the magazine, then they can be exposed to the entire front cover and get the full visual impact of the images and the headlines.
Using Header Graphics or Not
Google came up with a dramatic departure from the way print media and websites were designed. They put their logo and search box in the middle of the page with very little else around. That was the perfect combination of branding and content. They are a search engine. All they needed was a logo and a search box.
Your header graphics are used as branding. That doesnt mean that they should contain logos; they may only contain an image that serves to establish the theme of your niche site. If your header graphics do not help with branding or do not help to establish a theme, then they probably dont belong on your website.
Going back to the examples of the magazines and the newspapers, you would notice that proportionally the branding on a magazine is much larger than the branding on the newspaper for the reasons that we discussed.
It would be counterproductive for a newspaper to use large header graphics that compete the content above the fold, while it would be absurd for magazines to reduce their branding and become almost invisible in the newstands.
If your header graphics compete with the content that is first displayed when a visitor arrives at your website, then perhaps they should be removed. The only way to be sure is to test two verisions of the page and send enough traffic to both to make an informed decision.
How To Create a Header Graphics fast for free | Image Tutorial with Gimp
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