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Using Images In Your Website: What You Need To Know
Best practices for using photos and graphics in web design
Let’s update an old cliché. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a digital photo on your website gets a thousand clicks.
Because using images in website design is one of the simplest 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 brand your company and
– Create more user engagement.
After all, a more attractive website performs better.
Of course, images only work if you use them correctly, and we’ll cover best practices below. But first, let’s explore why you want to use photos and graphics in the first place.
Why Use Images in Website Design
Start paying attention as you browse the internet. You’ll almost never see a website that doesn’t use images in some way. And if you stumble upon one, it’s probably ancient and you won’t be forced to spend much time there.
No web designer would ever publish written content without including pictures and graphics to break up the text.
A long, scrolling page of written words with no breaks is called a ‘wall of text’ and no one likes to read it.
But we don’t just add pictures to websites because they look pretty (although they do). Effective use of images on a website can dramatically improve its performance.
Here are three main reasons to use images in website design:
1. Website images 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 advertising, 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 that they can show it to relevant users. The better your site is search engine optimized, the more likely you are to appear at the top of search results – and the more eager customers will find you.
Remember Google is just a robot. It scans your site to understand what your company is about, looking for specific metrics like tags, headlines, and written content. When it scans your site, it also looks at images, which is why good, optimized images can help your overall SEO.
Interestingly: content with images gets 94% more views than content without images. So if you want more traffic, you need to use more photos on your website.
Of course, this only works if you use relevant images and follow best practices, which we’ll cover below.
2. Images can help brand your company
The right images can bring your brand to life in a way that text cannot. Neuroscientists have found that we can quickly recognize images seen up to 13 times milliseconds. It’s faster than the blink of an eye. When you use attractive images on your website, the visitor will begin to understand your brand immediately.
If you haven’t spent time developing your brand, check out my tips for creating a unique brand identity.
And if you’ve spent time developing your brand, use it! You don’t want your logo to appear on business cards. Get people to connect with you instantly, wherever they’re looking for you.
For example, by using a striking image of a powerful business woman at the top of their website, Douma Leadership immediately establishes their brand in the female leadership niche.
Remember 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 add all kinds of visual content to your site, helping people connect with your brand immediately.
Also remember that any images you use on your website can also be used on social media. The best images for web content will usually perform well on multiple platforms as well.
None of this means that good written content on your website is also important. This means that good images have an immediate and lasting impact, which brings us to the final reason for using them in your web design.
3. Images engage users
People are visual creatures. We like to see beautiful and interesting things. This is especially true for the 65% of the population who are visual learners.
For example, by adding images, our client Magic Home Staging makes users more likely to keep reading their list of design ideas.
Adding the right photos to your site is one of the easiest things you can do to attract your audience. In fact, at least 38% of users stop engaging with a site when it has an unattractive layout.
On the other hand, BuzzSumo’s study found that articles that used images once every 75-100 words received twice as many social media shares as articles with fewer images.
Add this to the fact that people are busy, and they scan through websites. Interspersing your text with short paragraphs, and interesting photos and infographics, can help make your website more accessible and user-friendly.
After all, images make your site more attractive and visual, which means users will spend time on your website and remember you.
As a final note, Google takes into account how long people are engaged on a website and rewards engaging content. So when you use images to keep people on your website longer, you’re 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 a lead or sale.
So… are your website visitors liking what they see when they land on your site, or are they leaving after a few seconds?
Are they choosing to buy from you or abandoning their cart before purchasing?
Statistics show that the average web user spends only a few seconds on a website before deciding whether to stay or leave. This 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 benefit from images if you use them properly. Here are some best practices to remember when using photos and graphics in web design:
? Keep your photos relevant. It should match the text it explains. And when you add photos to blog posts, use captions.
? Keep image file sizes small. Slow load times can negatively impact your SEO and user engagement. Images take longer to download than text, so very large images can slow down your site (especially on mobile). This means you should compress your images, which you can do in Adobe Photoshop or with an online image compressor.
? Label your images properly with search engine optimized keywords and phrases. Both the file name and the tags on your images should be done with SEO in mind.
? Don’t go overboard with graphics. Bland, poorly made graphics can look like advertisements, which people skim over.
? Use images with real people as much as possibleBecause they can help users connect more with your site.
? Encourage users to share photos on their own social platforms.
? Use only your own images or images you have purchased and have the right to use. Give attribution where necessary.
As much as possible, it’s best to use your own professionally taken photos.
However, depending on your budget, this may not always be possible. In this case, you need to fall back on stock photos, but use them judiciously. Try to choose photos that are not too staged or unrealistic.
For paid stock images, we like to use DepositPhotos.com. You can also find a beautiful assortment of free photos on Unsplash that are free to use for all commercial and non-commercial purposes, without attribution or permission.
If used correctly, photos are a great way to improve your website. But used incorrectly, they can easily mess up your design and slow down your site. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with proper web design best practices.
My team helps small businesses get online with branding, SEO and digital marketing along with website design. And we are experts in finding just the right image.
Chat with us today to get started with a professional brand that showcases your next venture to get the leads and sales you want.
For the success of your business,
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