There is a vast amount of information on the internet. At the beginning of 2020, there were 1.74 billion websites and rising, and that’s not considering blog pages and social media accounts.
That’s a lot of pages to compete with, and the chances of getting your website found without having a marketing plan in place are, to say the least, extremely slim.
You might feel disheartened by that. But I think that it just highlights how important it is to do everything you possibly can to get your online content noticed. And a huge part of that is creating the right look – including branding and images – to make sure that when you are found, people will be interested enough to want to read what you have to say.
I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to use images online. I look at different types of image; photography, artwork, gifs/animated images…. I spend a lot of time testing things out, seeing how they work on the screen, gauging audience response. And I’ve spent a lot of years working out what works and what doesn’t.
Why images are important
You might ask why you need images as part of your online content at all. What if you’re a car mechanic, or a manufacturer? Surely these kinds of industries don’t require images on their websites, right?
OK, well think about this; if you’re online, looking for a specific type of company, where does your brain stop you scrolling – on the page filled with text, or the one with the high-quality images?
We have it hardwired in us to respond to visual prompts. So we automatically want to see images – it’s what our brains seek out first, in order to make sense of the page, and learn what it is about.
Then, if we’re pleased with what we see, we start reading.
Statistics say that online content with images get 94% more views than those without – that’s almost double. For that reason alone, I think it’s worth putting some thought into.
What type of images?
The main thing to remember is that all images need to compliment the content they appear alongside. The purpose should be to draw the person in and compel them to read your content.
Bear in mind that nowadays, most people will have access to smartphones, and so for many of them, this is how they will see your web content. Make sure that the images you choose look good on both monitors and phone screens.
You’ll also want to think about your overall branding – every image you use, whether that’s in the form of photographs or graphics, need to tie in with the rest of your branding. Consider colours, composition, and style, and make sure that everything follows the same theme.
The images you use should be the correct resolution – people can see poor quality a mile off, and if your images look shoddy, then so will the rest of your site.
The personal touch
There’s an old cliché that people buy from people – and it’s true. The most clickable images are always those which show a personal element to your business. That might be candid images of the work that you do, a sneak peek of your office or workspace, or even a short video of you giving some insight into a process that you could share with people.
Tell a story; show people who you are, and what they can expect if they hire you or buy from you. Let them see how you work, and some of the behind the scenes stuff you do in order to provide the service that you do.
How website images feed social media
The images you use on your website also dictate largely how you use your social media platforms. As well as building an audience via social, your social media platforms should also encourage people onto your website.
Changes in algorithms over the past couple of years means that reach has dropped significantly, so anything you can do to encourage “meaningful interactions” (their words, not mine) will increase the number of people who see your posts.
Using well thought out images can be a way to get people to read your posts, and comment on them, giving you more reach, and therefore lead more people to your website.