The web is a visual medium. Pictures, graphic and video play a huge role in capturing our audience’s attention. If the images on our web pages don’t interest our visitors, inform them, and compel them to find out more information, we’ve lost a potential customer, most likely forever.
Our audiences have a very short attention span. From the time a visitor lands on one of your web pages, you only have about 5 seconds to:
- Tell your visitors who you are
- Tell your visitors what you do
- Convey to them that you’re credible
- Make them believe you’re trustworthy
- Convince them you’re an expert in your field and your industry
- And lead them in a direction to help solve their problem or get information they’re seeking
And the way your web page is designed and the images and graphics that you choose to use are going to largely impact whether or not your visitor is going to spend more than 5 seconds on your site. If your images confuse your audience, don’t look professional, and don’t provide a clear path to the information that visitor is seeking, they will leave your site, most likely never to return. First impressions are life and death online and your images help to set the tone for whether or not your visitors are taking you seriously.
Images and graphics on your website are an extremely important part of the overall look and feel you convey to visitors. Meaningful visuals on your site can complement text to show, rather than tell, what your products looks like. For product sites, it’s important to have clear, professional pictures of those items that you sell.
For e-commerce sites with lots of product categories, set a standard image size for your category vs product pages and use those sizes consistently. There is nothing worse than going to a site where the product pictures are shown on the same page in different sizes. You can see how The Grommet retains a professional look with all the product images on this category page being the same size. For product sites and e-commerce also remember to use images that are large enough to be viewed on the product page, but can also zoom in to show enhanced detail.
If you sell a service, it can be more difficult to figure out the proper imagery for your website. But there are many ways to use a group of related abstract images of landscapes, buildings, offices or technology to provide a visual reference point without it having to exactly picture what you do. You can see how WerkPress, a custom WordPress developer, used a cityscape with a color filter on their homepage. Creatively cropped images of your office, landscapes, archetecture can give your site a very unique look, regardless of what you sell.
Every image you use on your web pages should have a purpose. Whether it’s to grab attention and help move the visitor to another page of the site to help answer a question or solve a problem, or to provide a visual explanation of what you do, or provide a human touch to allow someone to relate to your staff, or provide a placeholder for a lead generation form, images can have different purposes on different pages. It’s important you think about exactly what you want each image to do. That will help you find an image that will meet your goal.
Calls to action help incent your visitors to act. Whether it’s calling for an appointment, filling out an online form, signing up for a service, buying a product, or as on Square.com, getting a free credit card reader for your iPad or smartphone. Calls to action tell people what to do. And yes, you need to tell your visitors what you want them to do. Your images are a great place to put calls to action. Visitors are naturally drawn to your pictures and graphics. Overlaying text to get action can be very effective.
When looking for images, it’s important to keep composition in mind. What is the orientation of the placeholder on your site where the image will go? Is it a rectangle? A square? Is it vertical or horizontal? Having the answers to these questions will allow you to add filters to your image search on online websites when you look for pictures to use and can save you a lot of time. Also think about what text or calls to action you might want to put on top of this image. That can impact where objects need to appear (right sided, left sided, top or bottom), shading of the image, color, and how busy the image is.
For search engine optimization, when you save images, it’s important to use the keyword and words that describe the theme of the page when you name the image. Image 873489.jpg doesn’t help you get found on Google. But raybansunglasses.jpg or legalconsultantindc.jpb can help contribute to stronger on page ranking factors.
Another SEO element is adding your keywords to the image alt tag. This is in the code of your webpage and not visible to the visitor unless they scroll over your image. Then this text would appear as a description of the image. You don’t want to use keywords repetitively over and over again. That’s considered spamming and Google doesn’t like Spammers. But a keyword used once in a natural way to help visitors understand what the picture is about is just fine.
Using images and graphics, correctly on your website, can have a huge impact in your conversion rate of turning visitors into customers. The proper images will really do the selling for you.