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You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Regardless, the majority of people – at least initially – do it anyway. With the prolific growth of online shopping, social media, and online advertising, this standard has really become just words in the wind. Images are more important than ever. But what does this mean for your website?
We’ll answer the following all-important questions:
Whether you’re building anew, making a few updates, or implementing a digital marketing strategy – image selection, along with image optimization – is more important than ever. Sure, you have a lot of tasks in the development of a site: strategy, architecture, navigation, mobility, accessibility, design, functionality, written content – phew!
By the time you’re ready to check off images, you might be tempted to rush the process. Don’t. Now is not the time to underestimate the value of carefully-selected images for your homepage, product pages, blog, or digital ad. Here are a few reasons why you should care about your website’s images:
Hiring a photographer can be costly and time-consuming, so many businesses (including ours) opt for stock photo libraries like Getty Images to source imagery for websites. There is, however, a potentially big problem with this tactic.
Stock photo libraries are massive! You can easily lose several hours searching for the right image that not only captures your brand, message, and goal – but that hasn’t been used a million times before. More often than not, people will just pick an image just to be able to move on to something else. Don’t do this.
You might have the most creative, expertly-written, SEO-optimized content of any site out there, but it won’t matter if your images aren’t great. Internet users are scanners. If your webpage, at first glance, is not user-friendly, engaging, or eye-catching, they’ll bounce. (Hence, that all-important bounce rate statistic.) Choosing the right image will greatly enhance your user experience and conversion rates.
According to our Creative Manager extraordinaire, Sylvia Foerster, there are a couple of things you should consider when attempting to choose the right image:
For example, selecting a hero image is quite different from selecting an image for an interior product, service, or team page. A hero image is broad and bold and typically includes text. She notes that it’s important to select a balanced image that conveys your message while not being so busy that your text becomes lost or illegible. She says, “If a user has to strain to read your messaging, chances are they will ignore it.”
You should also avoid using cliche, overused stock images. Ironistic services a lot of credit union sites that provide home equity loans or car loans or vacation loans. Rather than just selecting standard, boring images – say of keys or handshakes – they often use images that elicit emotion and show how you might feel when using their services. For instance:
When choosing images, you must also weigh your personal preferences against your branding. Every image on your website should be consistent with and reinforce both your branding, your message, and your tone.
Proper image optimization will decrease page load times and improve SEO, helping your site improve in both rankings and user experience. The overall goal is to create high-quality images with small file sizes that are search-engine-friendly. Here are some basic best practices for optimizing your website’s images:
Images are returned for a good chunk of search queries, and visual search is becoming more and more of a factor so making sure that search engines understand your images is very important.
Think about user search intent. Will they search for Image1000444, or will they search for farmers markets in Alexandria, VA?
Selecting images can be creative and fun – but they are also an integral part of your digital strategy and incredibly important to the overall success of your website. If you have questions or want a professional to handle this critical task, contact Ironistic, and we’ll help you translate your vision and brand into a dynamic online presence.
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