The first thing that really catches the attention of a visitor landing in a website is, hands down, the quality of its visuals. No matter how great your content may be, if your website won’t look good as well, people may simply leave it as soon as they land, causing your bounce rate spike to unhealthy levels.
Sometimes, even just a single picture can make the difference if it’s nice enough since humans use their sight to experience the world. The communication potential of your pictures is enormous. So, let’s lay down some key rules to choose the best pictures for your website.
1. Image format and quality
The difference between the various image formats can be really huge. Knowing which one really suits your needs is paramount to avoid slowing your website to a crawl. Using high-res pictures can make your site look good, but excess quality it’s pointless if the loading time is so slow that people just leave the site before seeing them.
Striking the right balance between image quality and loading time can be tricky since you don’t want your pics to look pixelated or blurry, either. In most cases, it all comes down to choosing whether your images should be in JPG or PNG format, so it’s important to know all the principal differences between those two alternatives.
2. Choose actionable pictures
Going for action is always the right choice. You want to persuade your customers to do something, so any image that describes an action should be always preferred over something static. A catchy call to action is the icing on the cake – just tell them what they should do, and at least a good percentage of visitors will do it!
3. Stay away from stock images
Many website owners take their pictures from stock photo databases. Although this may be fine for run-of-the-mill pages and posts, chances are that a visitor may have seen that same picture somewhere already. This is a big downer – your website will look dull and generic, and people will easily forget it. Try to use your own images whenever you can. Be creative, be unique – even a nice shot taken with your smartphone may be worth more than a bland stock image.
4. Humanize your images
Pictures containing real human beings are usually preferable to objects and animals. Most humans tend to identify themselves with other people, helping you reach their emotional chords and drive them into doing what you want (usually buying your services and product). For example, if you sell hot dogs, a picture of a hungry person eating a bun is usually more effective than even the most delicious bun.
5. Blend images and text
Content is always important, but images can enhance it and make it even more readable and interesting. Embed them into the page so they blend perfectly with the text, just like furniture in a luxury hotel. Images could be used to highlight your most important messages or drive your customer’s attention toward a specific point of the page.
Catchy images are one of the most important features of a great website. Every time you think about a website you liked in the past, chances are that the first thing that will come to mind are the pictures above all else.
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