Think about the websites you use or the ones that draw you in. Rich visuals, bold graphics, clean designs, and easy to navigate layouts. Good web designers and content developers understand the importance of images on a web page and how the use of graphics affects the user experience – from how people navigate a website to how far down the page they’re willing to read and scroll, even how good they feel about being on the site.
The importance of images on a web page to support your brand
The images you use on your website should be consistent with the personality of your company—and the images should have a consistent feel across all pages and platforms. This means your website and all your social media channels should share a similar vibe when it comes to stock photography, if stock photos are being used.
Most brands, large and small, use stock photos in their digital marketing but there are often many creative cooks in the pot. Here are some questions for consideration:
- Do the images used have a similar brand personality?
- Is the lighting consistent?
- Are the people in the photos looking at the camera or away from it?
- Do you have design standards in place so that everyone who works on creative can follow the same rules for your brand?
Imagine how jarring it would be for a prospective customer to experience a super quirky playful image on one platform when in fact your brand is more conservative and your website images are usually more neutral in color and portrayal of people?
Having a digital marketing firm or a digital marketing expert on your team to oversee the use of images on your website is an important aspect of brand management.
Using web page images to support content
Using images on a web page is integral to web content strategy. Many content developers suggest using an image every 100 words or so to help break up words on the page. This helps address the issue of lack of attention (less than 2-3 seconds in the digital era, according to some) as well as gives the eyes a break as most people now scan the internet on their mobile devices.
Images also have the power to conjure emotion and communicate or exemplify further what the words on the page are saying. You should use images selectively and strategically to help support your message.
Stock photography is useful because it gives us access to so many scenarios that can help support our messaging. But it’s important to choose photos that:
- Show diversity
- Illustrate in a meaningful way
- Are unique enough to represent your brand
- Are filtered consistently if you’re using filters
- Aren’t showing geographic locations inconsistent with your country / culture
On this last point, many stock images come from Europe and there may be background imagery that clearly shows a monument or type of building or street scene that is European. Unless your business has a European presence, be careful to choose images that have universal geographic appeal.
Another critical aspect of using images on web pages is photo sizing. When you download images from the web, you can download at a certain size and resolution or you can resize the images later. There are best practices for web page images depending on how you’re using the image. The most important thing is to ensure your image is compressed so that it loads quickly for web. Slow page load is one of the main reasons people leave websites and never come back. You can use a tool such as tinypng to easily compress any image for website or digital use.
Using images in the mobile era also requires an eye on responsive design. This means that when a user looks at your website, the web pages and images adjust comfortably to the new “view” of the mobile browser without losing usability or functionality. Keep in mind that an image on a desktop won’t always look the same—or appear in the same order—on a mobile device. Be sure to check your work in various mobile views before publishing a live page.
How to use images to guide user experience and lead generation
Images can also be used to grab attention, create energy, and draw users into to lead-generation forms. Think about using people photos to help perk up your brand’s personality. Decide what your brand’s “image” is: Approachable yet professional? Fun, playful, a little but nutty? Make sure your images tell a similar story and support the content.
Images can further help users take the next action you want them to take by having a call-to-action (CTA) button embedded in the image. Want someone to subscribe, sign up, register, or get the report? Pair the CTA with an engaging image to increase clickworthiness.
Images can also help facilitate the way readers follow content on the page. Wherever graphics are, the eye will always go first. If you want users to remember something important, consider creating an infographic, for example. An infographic is a combination of graphic elements and words to help articulate facts, statistics, and other helpful information in one convenient graphic that can be easily downloaded or shared.