When it comes to your website, design matters. Great design is no longer optional. It’s expected.
Our world is becoming increasingly visual. The rise of Instagram, Pinterest, and food and fashion blogging has resulted in shifts in our aesthetics and our understanding of imagery. Your users will judge you, more than ever, on the value they attribute to you. Give them crappy images, give them an ugly page and they will blame you for that assault on their eyeballs.
And then they will go to another site that has invested in beautiful design. And that's where they will spend their money.
Strong and positive brand recognition requires sleek and beautiful design. Do it better than your competitors and you will reap the rewards.
The best advice we can give is that in all likelihood you need to think about your images more. Images can make a huge difference to your site. They help make your content more compelling and more valuable to readers, and can significantly increase readers’ engagement with your content. If you have pages of wordy content, it’s really great to include images to give your readers a break.
And make sure you update your images regularly and add fresh ones. Always credit the photographer if you are using free photography, and never use it if you don’t know the source, unless you want to land yourself in a world of legal trouble.
But how do you choose the right images for your site? Here, we provide you with simple tips to ensure you have the right image every time.
1. Brand relevant
Choose images that will fit with your brand tone and style. Is your brand corporate and professional or fun and personal? Match the image style with the words and values that you’d associate with your brand.
Professional photography will make a huge difference to your website. Although there are costs involved, it can be so worth it when you end up with a set of gorgeous brand-aligned images. And you will own them! So you can use those images however you like, across all your different channels, and not have to worry about copyright issues.
If you're looking for a photographer, a good tip is to search for someone who specialises in your industry. Ask to see their portfolio and make sure you feel comfortable with them because being photographed can be nerve-wracking.
Ideally, include some headshots or ‘doing' shots of your staff. Incorporating the ‘face’ of your business in your shots can be very beneficial.
3. Engaging and original
Remember that there are always real people who are looking at your website. While it’s great to have pictures of the mechanical widget you sell, it will be more appealing if you have pictures of people holding the mechanical widget you sell. In many instances, a face will be more appealing than an object.
Try to be original with your image choice. Show your personality where you can. Include images that are colourful, or memorable, or express emotion, or that create a dramatic hook in some way. Make people feel something. Make them want to click on the image or your call to action.
4. Technically correct
Ensure all your images are the correct size, proportion and resolution with no visible jpg compression. Save them to the right pixel size for your website. This means you will need to know the optimum image sizes for your website. Ask your website developer for the correct pixel height and width for all the different images on your site. If you are using a WordPress template, the image sizes should be indicated on each of the page template.
If the image is really detailed, seriously consider whether it will work on your website. Images that are a little more sparse, with less detail, tend to work better online, so you might need to crop.
5. Tacky-o-meter says no
If you don’t have the right images and can’t afford a shoot, then a stock library could be your answer. There are lots of cheap or even free stock photography websites on the market these days.
When selecting your stock photo, try to look at them with a discerning eye. Ask yourself: does this look fake or too American? Is this relevant to my audience? Will this have impact (in a good way)? Do the colours clash with my brand colours? Does it look unnatural, posed or weird? Is it obviously a stock image?
Use your tacky-o-meter!
If it looks tacky, don't use it.
With a bit of love and care, your site can have images that have impact and create a beautiful, consistent brand identity for your business. Just keep front and centre in your mind, what impression do I want visitors to have of my business – and go from there. Good luck!