While there is a bounty of useful items on the Internet, there is also that vague area of things that serve some purpose, but by themselves, would be utterly useless.
An obvious example of this is a Web counter. Create a Web page by putting nothing on it other than a counter. Put it on the Web. What does it prove? If people actually go to your site, they are insane? True, but in a sense, we already know that everyone is crazy.
What about a submit button? That's right, I have a page, and the only thing it has on it is a submit button. What does it submit, telepathic messages? A button is not very useful unless it constitutes some action within it. At least a button on your sweater sweater can be thrown, sewn on or swallowed.
A key component that falls into this category is clip art. Can clip art stand alone? Maybe if it has feet, or maybe if there are no buttons to press, clip art could survive by itself. But I must warn you, lonely clip art is worse than a sweater with missing buttons.
There are ways to utilize clip art effectively, and there are sites that contain truckloads of it. A simple Google search for "clip art" yielded more than 1.6 million entries. Barry's Clipart Server seemed nice enough. There were plenty of graphics, both static and animated, from which to choose. This site also has a few supporting sites, including Clip-Art.com, etc. The images are free to use on just about all these sites. But the tricky part is exactly how they are free.
Most sites do not allow you to take their images and use them for commercial purposes. Therefore, if you are just building a home page for yourself, go ahead and populate it with 234,459 clip art graphics. But if you are going to sell blenders online, or if you work for a blender manufacturing company and you wish to use this graphic for free, you'd better think again. Most sites don't allow freebies to be used for your business site.
But there are sites that do. At ClipArt.com, you pay a weekly or monthly fee to download images. This site doesn't set a limit to how many you can download per day, while others allow you to grab only a certain amount at a time. There are still limitations on even the paid clip art services. You are usually not permitted to distribute them to other individuals, and you sometimes cannot exceed a certain amount of printed image usage. Web impressions, though, are not usually counted in this tally.
While clip art is neat, to a certain extent, you may want to take a step up and use stock photograph images to make your Web site or printed publication stand out even more. AbleStock calls items like these Photo-Objects™, and they can be purchased on a monthly basis as well. The images are professionally shot, and using them could make your once-dull Web site look a little bit brighter.
Just remember, none of the above should act like the cheese and stand alone. Combine stories with effective clip art can be beneficial, but if it's done incorrectly, it could be hazardous to everyone's health. The only thing worse could be random clip art next to a counter or a submit button. If you were wicked enough to actually combine only these three things on one page, the little man running the Internet might have to shut it down and ask you to leave forever.