Most everyone knows that modern website design today involves using visually engaging content to grab the attention of your audience. Whether you are building a new website, revamping an old one, or just creating a landing page to showcase a new content offering, there are a few key points to consider before placing website images.
To begin with, there needs to be enough intrigue from your potential customer when they first land on your webpage to consider moving forward in the buyer’s journey. If the first photo they come across is a tiny image that was taken with a flip phone from 2005, they may feel that the accompanying content is going to be just as dated. Similarly, if it’s a high quality stock photo, but the subject matter looks staged or fake in any way, they may also assume the authenticity of the content is going to fall short.
Ah, you are thinking to yourself that finding the perfect photo to draw someone in is a subjective matter? Well, in most ways, it is. However, there are three key qualities of website images that do make a difference regardless of subject matter.
Never use an image that is grainy or poorly focused. This can automatically knock the professionalism of your content down a few pegs, causing distrust from your potential buyer.
These days, nearly everyone carries a smartphone around with them and is apt to take photos along the way. If you prefer to shoot your own website images using your phone, it can be an option – just make sure you do your research on how to best use your smartphone to take professional looking photos with regards to lighting, focus, framing, etc.
Additionally, there are many stock photo websites these days that offer free or inexpensive images for commercial use, including Pixabay.com and Pexels.com. These are typically very high quality images that can greatly enhance the look and feel of your website.
TIP: If you do happen to still be using a flip phone, please use the money you’ve saved from not buying a smartphone to hire a photographer for your website images, I swear it will be worth the money.
Make sure that if you are using large images on your page, they are properly compressed to reduce overall page weight and page load time. If you select the perfect image, but it’s 1MB in size, your buyer may not have the patience to wait for the image or page to load. They may instead opt to leave the site altogether, especially if they’re on a mobile network.
It’s important to not only pay attention to the weight of the image file, but also the height and width of the image itself, being sure to reduce overall file size for a faster load time. If, for example, the original stock image you purchased is 5000px by 3000px, it’s probably safe to say that it can be saved down to at least half the size, if not a bit smaller. A good rule of thumb for downsizing is to save the image around the laptop size of 1366px wide. There are many free sites online like TinyPNG.com that offer high quality image compression and size reduction if you don’t have access to a photo editing program.
TIP: Bigger is not always better. Aim for less than 500kb for final file size on your website images.
Choose images that relate to your content either directly or in a manner that could be associated with the content in an abstract sense. Sometimes finding a photo of the actual subject matter you are presenting can be quite difficult. One of the most time-consuming parts of building a new website or revamping an old one can often be finding the perfect photos to match up with the content being delivered. It’s important to find images that your audience can identify with. While choosing photos that include people, keep in mind the following traits and try to align them with your audience: age, gender, style, emotion, and action.
TIP: Beware of phony looking photos, e.g., people smiling while eating salad. No one starts laughing randomly because they are eating a delicious salad. That’s an instant call-out for “I’m a stock photo!”
The competition for audience engagement is fierce in the digital world these days. Users have so many options out there for where to shop, where to bank, where to book hotels, etc. that it’s imperative the imagery used across your website be thoughtfully chosen to best capture the attention of your potential customers.
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