Whether you’re launching an eCommerce website or creating a hobby blog, you cannot undermine the importance of content. And this means keeping an emphasis on both – text and visuals!
Unfortunately, the second element is often ignored, and their absence makes the website look dull. However, you have to carefully plan your web design and the layout of images – keeping your audience’s thought process in mind. Remember that the average attention span of your website visitor is only a few seconds. If they don’t like what they see, they have a thousand other options in the same niche as yours.
The million-dollar question is: how do you go about this task?
Here are some helpful tips for effectively adding images to your web design and grabbing your audience’s attention.
1) Use Relatable Images
Your audience will naturally appreciate anything they can relate to. For this reason, you need to add images where your target audience can see themselves in place of the models. Customers will automatically be intrigued by a product or service whose promotion makes them feel like they are part of it.
Take the example of The Canvas Prints. They have added images related to family and vacations on their homepage, something everyone can connect with. As a result, more people are likely to order canvas prints from the site, especially with the convenience given through the call to action button.
2) Put Emphasis on Emotions
If images on your website show people with emotions you wish to convey, the audience will more likely connect with your brand’s offerings. There is nothing better than a relatable image that also expresses feelings. A picture with a person happily using a product versus just a photo of the product will undoubtedly create more interest.
Open Door is a website that helps sell your house rapidly. Their homepage shows an image of a pleased couple sitting in their living room, with a statement saying that nine out of ten customers recommend their website. The picture and the information perfectly complement each other.
3) Use Plenty of Images
Sometimes, a single photo may not be enough. You may need additional images for the object to be better understood by the audience. For example, you may need three to four photos to showcase clothing. Different angles help the viewers appreciate its quality and better perceive how they will look after wearing it.
At the same time, do not use a dozen images where a couple would do. As a basic rule, always add multiple photos only if they add additional value.
Once you add the images, look at the website from a layman’s perspective. If you’re unsure if it looks good, you can assemble a focus group and get feedback on the overall design and images on the site.
4) Get High-Quality Images
A couple of decades ago, acquiring high-quality images was a challenge, especially for small business owners. You needed either an expensive camera or a professional photographer to get. But with the advent of technology, getting these images is much easier and less costly.
Today, marketers have multiple picture options for their web design. And the two prime ones are: Getting original photos or Using stock photos.
Take Original Photos
Taking original and custom photos for your webpage is the best option since you have the freedom of creativity. You can experiment with different light conditions, backgrounds, and other aspects of photography. Plus, they will also allow you to showcase your product, employee, services, and relationships in an authentic light.
The best part is that you can easily take pictures from your cell phone camera with a bit of practice. However, for exceptional results, you will need the services of a professional photographer. Though they are expensive and time-consuming, the end results are generally worth the effort.
Use Stock Photos
Stock Photos are another decent option for website images. They’re affordable, boast great quality, and are available to use almost instantly. Additionally, numerous websites offer an excellent selection of affordable stock images for your web design.
Most stock photo sites give their users the freedom to utilise their resources in any way they want. You can even edit the pictures, crop them, and add filters to suit your branding. But keep in mind that stock photos come with a licence, and you must abide by it to avoid any legal issues in the future.
Since stock photos are accessible to everyone, just ensure you do not use pictures already uploaded on other websites – especially your competitors.
Most reputable stock photo agencies give information about the number of downloads for their assets. It is a good idea to see these statistics before adding a stock photo to your website.
5) Optimise Images for SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a set of practices that helps websites rank higher in the SERPs. It helps your website get noticed and gain more significant traffic. Traditionally, written content has been used for SEO purposes. However, with advancements in SEO techniques and the advent of image searches, you can also use your images to improve visibility.
Here are some key areas to identity:
Cameras assign random file names to images such as img_1900456. File names like these give no information about the image to the search engines. This is why it is important to name your image files with descriptive terms and phrases.
For example, the image below shows a person playing guitar. Instead of leaving the name set as default, you can give this image a name such as man-playing-guitar. You can add keywords in image names as long as you do not force them there.
Alt-tags are a brief description of the images. They provide value to the search engines by telling them more about the pictures. Suppose an image fails to load on a screen due to a slow internet connection. In that case, the alt-tags are displayed to help viewers identify the media. These are also very useful for visually impaired people since browsers spell out these alt-tags for them.
For the picture above, a description such as “a man playing bass guitar in a studio” is adequate. Similar to file names, you can also add keywords to the alt-tags. But avoid keyword stuffing as the search engine may penalise your website in such cases by dropping your site’s position in results.
Select a file format for your image that takes minimum space, loads fast, and does not compromise the quality.
For most images, JPEG is the ideal format. There is very little loss of image quality during compression, and the file sizes are really small. For vectors and other graphics with text, PNG is an excellent option. When it comes to small animations, you can benefit from GIFs.
There are several online tools available for compressing images. These tools do an excellent job of modifying the picture’s format while maintaining the quality.
An image sitemap carries a lot of importance for SEO purposes. Similar to the content-based, the image sitemap tells the search engines about the media files present on the website, even the non-indexed ones.
You can code in the sitemap with relative ease. Some plugins like Yoast for WordPress automatically create an image sitemap, which is excellent for SEO. The information added to these sitemaps is generally limited, and you can add further details manually.
Captions are not a ranking factor for search engines, but they significantly impact your SEO efforts. They give your audience helpful information about the photo since they can be seen, unlike image names and alt-tags.
They also help your website visitors spend more time on the website and lower the bounce rates, an important ranking factor.
The Bottom Line
Any web design will be incomplete without high-quality images. No one wants just blocks of written information.
To summarise the above points, the key is to:
- Find the right photos and add them naturally.
- Ensure images are relatable to the audience.
- Ensure they exude positive emotions.
- Benefit from either original or stock photos for good results.
- Optimise pictures according to SEO guidelines.
We can conclude that adding images to a website needs a bit of good planning and execution. Once you achieve this, you can successfully attract your intended audience, improve conversions, and achieve higher search engine rankings. Good luck!
John Wilson is a branding and website design expert. He boasts over 10 years of digital marketing experience. He loves to share his expertise and insights on all things digital marketing by keeping this blog up to date.