The killer thumbnail image – HOT CLICK BAIT

The killer thumbnail image – HOT CLICK BAIT

Can the right thumbnail image pull in viewers like a flock of birds to a moldy loaf of bread?

A sub-culture that has long paid attention to front cover images is magazine publishing. Particularly magazines with no real content, who rely on totally superficial impulse purchases. That would include most magazines but particularly magazines about celebs. In fact, front cover images are the only subject that the publishers of these magazines have ever really looked into. Or more accurately, the only subject they have paid for someone else to research.

What got me started with thinking about all this was seeing a post by @kyriacos which had the best click bait front image I have seen so far on Steemit. It really ticked all the boxes, so I was gobsmacked to see the post languish all day at only $8, before taking off and pulling in a mind boggling $16. Possibly it wasn’t the most upbeat and inspirational post of all time, but the lead image was great.

Admittedly I did recently do two posts myself about the best time to upload your post to Steemit. And after those posts both netted me less than one cent, I began to wonder if post upvotes might be a mysterious and unfathomable process of random events involving giant aquatic mammals rather than something that could be broken down into easily followed rules. So quite possibly any theories I have about click bait images are rubbish too.

But falling back into that whole “luck of the whale” line of thinking feels like defeat to me. I’d like to understand how to direct traffic like one of those old time policemen with white gloves.

When I’m not on Steemit, one of my other online identities is that of a webmaster of a site that occasionally posts fake porn pages with 100,000 pervy tag words. It’s safe to say that these pages generate a lot more traffic than any of my Steemit posts. I have no idea how that tactic might fair on Steemit, but I get the impression that adding 100,000 porn tags to my Steemit posts probably wouldn’t attract that many extra votes, and might even lead to problems – so I haven’t tried it.

Using some click bait thumbnail pics on Steemit on the other hand, is right up my alley, so to speak. (Because I’m into photos and images, not because I’m into any kind of weird insertion techniques.)

First and foremost, in a giant column of thumbnails, our lead image needs to stand out like dog’s balls. Like on a small dog, with balls so huge that they drag on the ground and flop from side to side when he walks, like two tennis balls in a thin, worn out stocking. And we need to use every trick in the book to make our balls bigger and floppier.

The thumbnails on Steemit are so small that one of the key tricks used by magazine covers is just not going to work for us. Words. We can’t just add a bunch of text to our lead image because as a thumbnail nobody will be able to read it. Even saying “Justin Beiber caught naked in sex scandal” is not going to be a drawcard in a tiny thumbnail. So essentially, we are limited to one simple striking image, with no text. (Unless it was very big text maybe, and I’ll experiment with that in another post.)

Here is a checklist of things to include in our images, based on what magazine publishers consistently use – eyes, faces, direct eye contact, celebs, bodies, and sex appeal.
So, like moths to a flame – what pulls readers in?

Now, in addition to those things, here is a key secret design element used by my world famous web design company Frot Design, in creating some of the most iconic thumbnails and logos of all time – intense use of purple –

The colour purple has special characteristics. It is alluring, and confers a sense of regal luxury, which no other colour can match. So whenever possible, use purple. As long as everybody else keeps failing to grasp this design basic, you can stand out from the crowd simply by making your dog’s balls purple.

SIFT666 aka Ian Gregson is a collector of phallic purple plastic objects and crypto-currency investor from Wellington, New Zealand.
In between designing purple websites and painting himself purple, he likes to watch YouTube videos about the rituals of primitive cultures and is currently developing a new purple website portal to rival Steemit called

This post was originally uploaded to my Steemit account –