Are Your Web Images Working For or Against You?
If you are responsible for your company website or social media posts, you will no doubt be aware of just how important great imagery is and how difficult it can be to come across.
There are three main ways in which photography can be sourced, one, you can buy an image from an image library. While you are likely to have plenty of choice, the downside is that it may feel generic and not necessarily reflect the feel of your organisation and it will certainly lack your company’s branding. Two, you can choose to commission new photography. This can be expensive and time consuming and will require that you write a thorough photographic brief to ensure you get the shots you need. If the images are to be used as a permanent fixture on your website, the investment is likely worth it, if you just need a great shot for social media, the cost could be harder to justify.
Finally, you could try to source an image from a royalty-free stock library, again, you may find the images are bland and if it is a good image, you may find it has been used elsewhere plenty of times.
If the right images are difficult to get, is adding photography even worth it? In a word, yes! A great image can succinctly sum-up your brand and on websites, images can be used to highlight a point, break up a block of text, attract attention and send a call to action. They can also make content, especially within social media, more sharable.
So, what are the rules to follow when looking for great website and social media images?
Leaving the science and the artistry of photography to the professionals, in terms of this blog we are thinking of ways to help you select the right imagery for your site or social media post.
Firstly, make sure the image adds something, a website littered with images that slow it down and make it hard to navigate will just irritate users. The image you choose should be relevant to the page it is supporting and explain to users, at glance, what the content of the page is about. Eye-tracking studies repeatedly show that images added purely for decoration are largely ignored.
Next, where possible, include people; images with people in tend to draw the eye, especially if the person featured is looking towards the camera, in effect creating eye contact.
Don’t forget if you upload a full size image, even if you shrink it down once in place it will still load in its original size, so be sure to resize your image before you upload it and help keep load times to a minimum. Remember also to consider the file type; the file type you choose will vary, depending on factors such as the size of the image and the colours featured. Check out our blog for details on image optimisation.
Always add a title your images, making it as descriptive as possible, the title will appear when a user hovers over the image and it can help with SEO.
When selecting an image, look to see if it could be used in a variety of ways, helping you to maximise its use. For example, could it be cropped to focus on a different element? Or treated in some way to give it a different feel? Something to consider especially when choosing royalty-free images that may have been used repeatedly elsewhere.
With so many of us utilising the technology of smartphones and tablets, we now expect websites to look and function just as they would from our desktops and at the same speed too. When adding new images, test what they look like on a device to be sure they are loading correctly.
If you would like help and advice on making your website work harder, get in touch at [email protected] or call us on 01509 631 136.