Picture perfect – why great images are so important

Here at Black Nova Designs we give every single website we build the same attention to detail and expertise, but the end results naturally look quite different. That’s because what catches your eye first when you land on a web page are the images. The branding and colours probably come a close second, before you finally read the words! That’s because the human brain will process an image much more quickly than it will the written word – and there’s no language barrier to contend with.

Imagine you’re on the hunt for a beautiful handbag to buy someone for Christmas.  A product or brand has caught your eye on social media or in a magazine. Or perhaps you decide to try to find a local artisan company and so found them via Google. If you click on their website and just see poor quality fuzzy images, will you stick around? What about if those images don’t load at all? It’s not likely that you will persevere and buy from them.

However, if you see good quality images that are relevant to what you are looking for, the chances are you’ll stick around. Coupled with a well-designed layout and clear, concise text they’ve got your attention! And off you go to read more about how brilliant their bags are and look at more clear, beautiful images. You might well become their customer. That’s the power of good images on websites.

So, what does it mean to have ‘great images’? Well there is a little bit more information that it’s handy to know about images for websites and marketing. Getting it right from the start will help your website work well and be seen by more people AND it will help your other online marketing efforts too. Let’s take a look:

  1. Invest in clear, crisp and relevant images. It is so important that your images are pin sharp and relate directly to the product or service that they are advertising. Using an unrelated image will confuse the user and potentially dissuade them from reading further. This about what people are looking for when they are going to buy from you and make sure the images reflect that. A professional photographer will be able to take care of the ‘clear and crisp’ element for you so that the end result works perfectly.
  1. Get them sent to you in a ready for web size and format. File sizes under 1MB in size are recommended so that once they are uploaded, the web page will load at the quickest refresh rate while maintaining the quality of the image. This quick load time will help to minimise the frustration of a website visitor and stop them clicking away to a competitor. We’ve all been there, waiting for a website to load; getting cross and bored as 30 seconds feels like a lifetime! The size of the image is imperative so ensure all your images are compressed and ready for web use.
  1. Don’t use stock images! We would always suggest that bespoke images rather than stock images are used to help Google’s algorithms rank the site accordingly. This helps with your SEO – that’s search engine optimisation and relates to how easy (or not) it is for people to see you in search results.  Having your own images taken means you can make them unique and relevant to your individual brand. Investing time, effort and a little money here will pay dividends.
  1. Remember to name the image with something relevant. A name such as “image 1” will not be ranked or located by a person searching for a specific search term. Think back to our imaginary website and handbag brand! If they’ve seen one of your bags featured in a magazine (let’s say it’s called the ‘Sandringham Bag’), make sure that’s what the image/s of that bag are called! Using tags will also help in this area and again make sure that the file size is reasonable as load speed is a factor within SEO rankings.

Investing in professional images will give your other marketing efforts a boost too. All social media relies heavily on imagery but none more so than Instagram and Pinterest. On all networks a high-quality image or video will boost the engagement from followers. That’s because viewing images and videos often causes an emotional trigger which leads to engagement with the post. This could be in the form of a like, comment, share, pin or save! Or, it might even be a direct visit to your website if a link is included.

Then there are the myriad other marketing channels to consider. If you decide to place an advert online or in a magazine the chances are, you’ll need strong images. The same goes for any PR activity you engage in – high res, relevant images are a must have. Leaflets and brochures rely on imagery as much as a website does, so you can use them there too. You will get a return on your investment.

Aside from all the points above, it’s just so very disappointing for us when a lovely customer doesn’t have good images and won’t invest in them. They often have high expectations for their new website and form an idea in their minds… We can only nudge and cajole a certain amount but, without great photography, we know the final website won’t give a professional immediate impression.

Happily, there are lots of fantastic photographers out there who specialise in portraits, landscapes, animals, products and many other types of images.

Here at Black Nova Designs we are lucky to have an excellent working relationship with the fabulous Jasmine Punter.

She’s an absolute whizz at seeing the best features of a person or product and bridging them to the fore in gorgeous images. Check out just a small selection of her work and drop her a line for more information here: Commercial Photography – Jasmine Punter Photography

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