This week we have a very exciting guest blog. The fabulous Jenny Callanan of Jenny Callanan Photography has kindly given us some great advice about the importance of using photographs on your website.
Over the last year we have seen how important websites are for the continued existence of most of our businesses.
Many business premises are closed and their websites are now their only way of presenting themselves and their products and services to their existing customers and potential customers. Showing off their product, showing off their service, showing off themselves.
Instead of your fancy window display, in-store displays and promotional displays everything needs to go online. Websites and social media platforms are now, for many the only way to get their products and services seen.
People are very visual beings, so images not only attract our attention but also spark emotions and draw us in. Our brain interprets images much quicker than text. Because of this, if your website has appealing imagery, there is more chance of people viewing and clicking through it. Once on the website, images can improve the user experience and help to present important information in a more digestible way. Visitors will be more likely to stay on your website, buy your product or book your service
Websites containing high quality images in addition to their relevant and unique content will get more views than those that are just text based.
It is important to use high quality images but not massive files. Finding the balance here is important as large files can slow up your website and people are unlikely to wait for the image to load. It is equally important not to make the images so small that the quality is affected and the image loads quickly but appears pixelated.
Low quality, pixelated or blurry images certainly will not keep people on your website. This often happens when people take images from the web or from facebook to use on their site. This should be avoided.
Unique, compelling images that engage your audience and improve their experience also need to be relevant. You don’t want to confuse your users with an image that sends the wrong message or doesn’t explain what you’re trying to get across. You also don’t want to add an image just for the sake of taking up space if it’s not relevant to the content on that page. If you find it’s distracting, or just filling in white space with no other purpose, either remove it or switch it out with something else. The last thing you want is for someone to leave your site just because of your image choices.
Although this image may catch your attention unless you have a kitten circus it may not be relevant.
These can be great and they can be terrible. It’s all about relevance. I often see people using random stock imagery just to fill space or as they feel they need to add images. Do not do this. If an image has little or no relation to the surrounding content, then the page is probably better off without it. Random images or ones that do not relate to the content around it only serve as distractions to the user.
However if a supplier supplies you with perfectly lit images of the products then by all means use these rather than trying to photograph them yourself.
While using stock photography is great when the budget is limited, it does have its downfalls. When you’ve found that perfect image that says everything you want it to say, it explains your message, conveys exactly what you want it to… guess what? You may not be the only company that has felt that way about that image. Imagine going to your competitor’s website and seeing that same exact image! Maybe it’s not a competitor; maybe you see it on a completely separate site that has no relation to your company whatsoever. It doesn’t matter, the point is stock photography gets used over and over again by many different companies and if you really want to be unique, you have to be 100% original.
Let’s think about this in the context of web design. ‘About us’ sections are a common feature of many websites. They commonly act as a way for users to learn more about an organisation, its staff and its values. Using photographs of actual staff members can help provide genuine insight into a company, and can even build greater trust in the organisation
Showcase things that no stock images can, use photos of your actual shop front, premises or restaurant. Use images of your actual staff, your real customers or people using your products.
Get a good quality Headshot taken. Make sure you like it and put it on your website. People like to see who they are dealing with when booking or buying online. It will give your website a more personal feel.
How to get High quality Images
1) Hire a professional Photographer
2) Take them yourself
3) Use stock or supplier provided images
Deciding on the images you are going to use
Is it eye catching, is it relevant, does it evoke an emotion? All of these feelings need to be felt by you, the user, in order to keep you scrolling and interested in the content being served.
We are all visual creatures and we can process visual information almost instantly. Imagery can be a powerful way to capture your audience, as well as differentiate your product from the competition. A single image can convey so much more than a block of text can. It can help explain a complex concept, making it so much more valuable to your users. Don’t get me wrong, you do need text on your site in order to drive traffic to your pages, but if an image can accompany that text – all the better, for you and your users.
Photography is an investment of both time and of money. Whether its original or stock, in the end it’ll be worth it if in doing so it drives more traffic to your site, evokes an emotion and a connection with your audience, and ultimately converts a sale. Images engage users when they come to your site, keep them intrigued, get them to actually want to read about what you do, what you can offer and how you can benefit them in their lives. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Choose wisely, think about your audience, and capture their attention at first glance.
Big thank you to Jenny for this great piece of advice! Like what you see? Check out Jenny’s work here
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