Best Practices For Using Photos and Graphics in Web Design
Let’s update the old cliche. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a digital photo, on your website, is worth a thousand clicks.
That’s 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.
Ultimately, a more attractive website just performs better.
Of course, images will only work if you use them properly, 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 when you’re browsing the Internet. You’ll almost never see a website that doesn’t utilize images in some way. And if you do stumble across one, it’s probably ancient, and you probably won’t be compelled to spend much time there.
No web designer worth their salt will ever publish written content without including pictures and graphics to break up the text.
A long, scrolling page of written words without any breaks is unflatteringly called a ‘wall of text,’ and no one likes to read them.
But we don’t just add pictures to websites because they look pretty (although they do). Using images effectively on a website can drastically improve its performance.
Here are three main reasons to use images in website design:
1. Websites Images Can Improve Your SEO
If you want lots of good, quality traffic to your website, you have two options:
1) You can spend thousands of dollars on ads, 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 all about, so they can show it to relevant users. The better your site is search engine optimized, the more likely you are to show up at the top of search results – and the more likely eager customers are to find you.
Remember Google is just a robot. It scans your site, looking for certain metrics like tags, headlines and written content to understand what your company is all about. When it scans your site, it also looks at images, which is why good, optimized images can help your overall SEO.
Case in point: content with images gets 94% more views than those without. So if you want more traffic, you need to use more photos on your website.
Of course, this only works if you’re using relevant images and following best practices, which we’ll cover further below.
2. Images Can Help Brand Your Company
The right images can bring your brand to life in a way that text just can’t. Neuroscientists have found that we can identify images seen for as quickly as 13 milliseconds. That’s so much quicker than the blink of an eye. When you use attractive images on your website, a visitor will start to understand your brand right away.
If you haven’t spent time developing your brand, see my tips on creating a unique brand identity.
And if you have spent time developing your brand, put it to use! You don’t want your logo to sit unseen on business cards. Get people to connect with you right away, wherever they’re finding you.
For example, by using a captivating image of a powerful businesswomen 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 colours into your web design. You should be adding all types of visual content to your site, helping people connect with your brand immediately.
Remember too, that any images you use on your website can also be used on social media. The best images for web content will usually also work great across multiple platforms.
None of this means good written content isn’t also important on your website. It just means that good images have an immediate and lasting impact, which leads us into the final reason to use them in your web design.