… and then along came Photoshop!
But we jest, for this is a serious post on the power of graphics and what they can do for your website, blog post and content in general.
We know you – you have an outstanding product, a superb website, it is beautiful and responsive and because we work together, it is mobile ready – everything is in place but there needs to be the icing on the cake: the graphic.
The image that paints the picture in all its glorious technicolour; the part that says ‘come hither and take a closer look’; it is the arty photograph of the best wedding cake that you have ever produced; it is the image of a frosty winter’s morning in Surrey (as of January 2015) and it is the image that speaks a thousand words. Unless you get it wrong.
We have all seen them. We have all grunted, raised an eye brow and allowed the corner of our mouths to turn up slightly. The images that websites use (usually from royalty free image websites) that show a workforce, all immaculately dressed with gleaming white teeth.
Nope. You need to think about these images and graphics a lot more than that.
The eyeballs have it
Just like we have talked in the past about content and how it is formatted to appeal visually to the eye, the image must do the same. Do not insult your customers’ intelligence by attempting to convince them you are all size 6, with expertly coiffured hair.
But before you take photos of all your products and dazzle the homepage with them, take a moment to think about this – research has shown that we are drawn to photographs of other human faces. An experiment that tracked human eyeballs as they looked at an image found that the vast majority of people spent the most time looking at the face. It is a natural human instinct.
And so, a human face could be a shrewd move but there are other aspects to consider too. Photographic experts suggest that most websites and companies need to spend more time photographing their products from different angles.
So, if you sell jewellery, a close up shot of the detailing is great but a few of someone wearing it, so the potential customer can see what it looks like on, can also be a great selling point.
The call to action
We forget this sometimes, and in the fast paced world that we find ourselves in, we can forget the important ‘click to buy’ button. We have talked extensively in a previous blog about colour, and making it stand out, but colour is not the only draw for the eye.
Some American studies suggest that people like a little more information and so telling them to ‘call for more info’, could actually work better if it said ‘call for more info on booking a Swedish massage’ etc.
Locally’s helpful guide to using images
Always looking to help expand readership of blogs, possibly creating business, we have put our heads together and come up with the following:
- Decoration is NOT what images are for
Finding a random photo of a happy looking lady and slapping it on your homepage is nothing short of confusing. Why is she looking so happy when you are talking about the distress and discomfort of a pest infestation…?
Images are not there to decorate web pages, they are there to reinforce your message. Nothing more.
- WHY use an image with that particular blog post/webpage etc…?
- Early placement – you may notice that we place our images close to the top of our blog posts and this is because visually, it draws the eye, followed by the opening few lines. Hopefully, we have snagged the interest of a reader to carry on reading… and the fact that it is an appropriate image that gives a visual clue as to what the blog is about is also helpful.
- If you are selling a product – the image needs to be of the product and preferably more than one image, including one of someone (you, a customer or a paid model) using the product. But ask yourself, what is the selling point of your product? Take a look at the original advertising for the MacBook Air. Speed was not its main selling feature, its size was… so the fact the image was of it fitting in an envelope was pure genius.
- Lines, lines, lines – what does that arrow point? Why is her gaze looking over there? Visual clues can also direct the gaze of your reader/customer to certain areas of the page – go on, try it!
Own photos or stock photos
But there is always a rub and we think that some of the other blogs that talk about images don’t comment on this; they will tell you to use your own photos but, for many small businesses this can add significant pressure to already full, busy week of selling their products. Taking photos of your products are the priority!
If time is limited and your photographic skills just as limited, you can fall back on stock images. There are many websites that address this issue, but always take time to look at the copyright on images; many stock image websites can be membership based, or pay-per-image and the quality can be high. Just bear in mind they need to fit.
That said, it doesn’t take much to take some decent shots of your products and like your blog, it is a marathon… and there are many ways of running this race.