When it comes to ‘web content’, there are few things that get forgotten as much as images do. This comes as a shock considering how important good images are for making a lasting impression on your website and encouraging users to ‘stay’.
In order to make the most of the images on your website and to ensure that you stand out from your competitors here are some simple steps to follow;
Step 1. Make allowances for images in your copy. One of the best ways to make images and text coincide with each other is to think about what images would tie in well, whilst you are actually creating your copy, as opposed to choosing your images at the end.
Step 2. Pick out bright colours that catch the eye. When trying to attract attention and keep users interested in your website, it is important to use attention-grabbing images that will immediately appeal to them and keep them focused. It is always a good idea to have a look through your current collection by scanning through the thumbnails without looking too closely and decide whether your images stand out or not. Normally, bright colouring or images that include faces are the ones which will catch your eye more than the others, so bear that in mind when adding images to your website.
Step 3. Spend a little, gain a lot! Although free stock images are available out there, be mindful that a good image is almost like a handbag or a pair of shoes in that you may feel foolish for spending a lot of money on something until you actually see how effective it is at actually combining everything else together. Spending a little money on good images is far better for your website than popular images or those from good old clip art. Your users will love the uniqueness.
Step 4. Research the difference between stock images and ‘stock images’. There are several stock images out there which you can easily purchase, however, there are also those that have clearly been photoshopped and look fake. If you opt for fake images, there’s a high probability that your users will spot this, thus, affecting your credibility and having a negative impact on that all important lasting impression. You should aim for images that have a bit of pizazz and tie in nicely with your copy and what you are talking about.
Step 5. Choose images that are safe for users to pass on. If you use images that are slightly provocative or distasteful, users will not pass on your information to others. Especially business to business. The majority of businesses have an Internet/Email Usage Policy and sharing content that is deemed inappropriate may result in the user being reprimanded by their employer. This is a risk that people are not willing to take! Therefore, opt for images which are safe and user-friendly.
Step 6. Use and customise your own images. Use existing images or take new ones and make them more interesting and appealing by having them edited or updated slightly. Alternatively, if you do not already have your own images and are not confident in your own photography skills, have a professional take some for you.
Step 7. Videos, animations and drawings are just as important. Photos are the most prevalent form of images, however they are not the only form. Videos, animations and drawings all fall under this category too so it’s a great idea to add a mixture of these to your website which catches the users’ attention even further.
Step 8. Take the time to consider where you want to place your images. Word wrap on list-type copy such as bullet points, rarely flows well around an image. Having right-justifying images rather than left-justifying images makes the entire content appear far better and more linear. You should really only apply left-justification to small images and avoid any list items when doing so.
Step 9. Include charts and graphs. If you are trying to summarise any data or explain something which has numerical value (e.g. comparing statistics) then nothing says it better than a chart or a graph. As it consists of both images and copy, it is a great way to clearly and effectively communicate important points.
Step 10. Use screen grabs to quickly and easily explain long processes. If you are trying to explain the process of something or give a step-by-step account, screen grabs are the perfect way to portray this instead of droning on with a lot of copy which is not necessary and will bore your users until they lose interest and navigate elsewhere. (To your competitors’ site)
Step 11. Remember to title and ALT tag all of your images. Choosing to add the correct titles and tags to your images makes it easier for your content to be found, and for SEO purposes, it is absolutely vital that you do so. It also allows users with any visual impairments to access your content easily which will ultimately improve your chances of good accessibility.