Best practices for using photos and graphics in web design
Let’s update the old cliché. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a digital photo, on your website, is worth a thousand clicks.
This is because using images in website design is one of the easiest things you can do to make your website more popular, both with users and with search engines.
There are many reasons to use images on your website. Images and graphics can:
– Improve your SEO,
– Help your company brand, and
– Create more user participation.
Ultimately, a more attractive website works better.
Of course, images will only work if you use them correctly, and we’ll cover best practices below. But first, let’s explore why you want to use photography and graphics in the first place.
Why use images in website design
Start paying attention when you browse the Internet. You will hardly ever see a website that doesn’t use images in some way. And if you do come across one, it’s probably old, and you probably won’t be forced to spend much time there.
No self-respecting web designer will publish written content without including images and graphics to break up the text.
A long, scrolling page of words typed without breaks is unflatteringly called a “wall of text” and no one likes to read them.
But we don’t just add images to websites because they look pretty (although they are). The effective use of images on a website can drastically improve its performance.
Here are three main reasons to use images in website design:
1. Images on websites can improve your SEO
If you want a lot of good, quality traffic to your website, you have two options:
1) You can spend thousands of dollars on ads, or
2) you can do good SEO. And including rich images is a key part of good SEO.
Search engine optimization, or ‘SEO’, is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines.
You want to make it as easy as possible for Google (and other search engines) to understand what your website is about, so they can show it to relevant users. The better your site is optimized for search engines, the more likely it is to appear at the top of search results, and the more likely eager customers are to find it.
Remember that Google is just a robot. It scans your site, looking for certain metrics like tags, headlines, and written content to understand what your business is about. When you scan your site, it also looks at the images, so good, optimized images can help your overall SEO.
Case in point: content with images gets 94% more views than content without. So if you want more traffic, you should use more photos on your website.
Of course, this only works if you use relevant images and follow best practices, which we’ll cover later.
2. Images can help brand your business
The right images can bring your brand to life in a way that text simply can’t. Neuroscientists have discovered that we can identify viewed images as fast as 13 milliseconds. That is much faster than the blink of an eye. When you use compelling images on your website, a visitor will immediately start to understand your brand.
If you haven’t spent time building your brand, check out my tips on creating a unique brand identity.
And if you’ve spent time developing your brand, put it to use! You don’t want your logo to remain hidden on business cards. Make people connect with you immediately, wherever they find you.
For example, by using a captivating image of a powerhouse entrepreneur at the top of its website, Douma Leadership immediately establishes its brand in the female leadership niche.
Remember that graphics are also images you can use, offering a great way to subtly incorporate your brand elements and colors into your web design. You should be adding all kinds of visual content to your site, helping people connect with your brand right away.
Also remember that any image you use on your website can also be used on social media. The best images for web content will usually work great across multiple platforms as well.
None of this means that good written content isn’t as important on your website. It simply means that good images have an immediate and lasting impact, which brings us to the final reason to use them in your web design.
3. Images keep users engaged
People are visual creatures. We love to look at beautiful and interesting things. This is especially true for the 65% of the population who are visual learners.
For example, by adding images, our Magic Home Staging client makes it much more likely that users will keep reading your list of design ideas.
Adding the right photos to your site is one of the easiest things you can do to captivate your audience. In fact, at least 38% of users will simply stop interacting with a site when it has an unattractive design.
On the other hand, a BuzzSumo study found that articles that used an image once every 75-100 words received twice as many social shares as articles with fewer images.
Combine this with the fact that people are busy and tend to scan websites. Breaking your text into shorter paragraphs and interspersing it with interesting photos and infographics can help make your website more accessible and user-friendly.
Ultimately, images make your site more captivating and visually appealing, which means users are more likely to spend time on and remember your website.
As a final note, Google notes how long people interact with a website and rewards engaging content. So when you use images to keep people on your website longer, you’ll also be improving your SEO.
READ: How to keep people on your website longer
It’s a simple equation: the more time people spend on your website, the more likely they are to convert into leads or sales.
So… do your website visitors like what they see when they land on your site or do they leave after a few seconds?
Do they choose to buy something from you or do they abandon their cart before making a purchase?
Statistics show that an average web user spends just a few seconds on a website before deciding whether to stay or leave. That means you don’t have much time to make a good first impression.
Read more on our website.
How to use photos on your website
Your website will only reap the benefits of images if you use them correctly. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when using photos and graphics in web design:
? Keep your photos relevant. They must match the text they are illustrating. And use captions when adding photos to blog posts.
? Keep the image file size small. Slow load times can negatively affect your SEO and user engagement. Images take longer to download than text, so too many large images can slow down your site (especially on mobile). This means that you need to compress your images, which you can do in Adobe Photoshop or with online image compressors.
? Properly tag your images with search engine optimized keywords and phrases. The file name and tags of your images should be done with SEO in mind.
? Don’t overdo the graphics. The cheesy and poorly done graphics can look like advertisements, which people tend to skim over.
? Use images with real people as much as possibleas they can help users feel more connected to your site.
? Encourage users to share photos. on their own social platforms.
? Use only your own images or images you have purchased and has the right to use. Give attribution when necessary.
Whenever possible, it’s best to use your own photos that you’ve taken professionally.
However, depending on your budget, this may not always be possible. In this case, you will need to resort to stock photos, but use them wisely. Try to choose photos that are not overly staged or unrealistic.
For paid stock images, we like to use DepositPhotos.com. You can also find a huge variety of free photos on Unsplash that are free to use, without attribution or permissions, for all commercial and non-commercial purposes.
When used correctly, photos are one of the best ways to enhance your website. But if used incorrectly, they easily clutter up your design and slow down your site. This is especially true if you are not familiar with proper web design best practices.
My team helps small businesses get online with website design, along with branding, SEO, and digital marketing. And we are experts in finding the right images.
Chat with us today to get started with a professional brand showcasing your next business to get the leads and sales you want.
For the success of your business,