One of the major goals of any website or brand is to market themselves in a way that it leaves a mark on their customers’ mind. And what better way to do that than to use good visuals.
It is a scientific fact that our minds tend to focus on visual information, we can process it better and we can retain visual data for a longer period.
These visuals/images serve as an invitation to users, giving them a glimpse of what your site has to offer. In this article, we go deep into how good photography can help a website and why it should be an inseparable part of your website promotion strategy.
Uses of photography on a website
One common misconception that website owners have is that good imagery is only for art or photography portfolio sites, whilst in reality, whichever type of website you own, whether it’s a personal blog or a full-fledged e-commerce store, using images on your website can attract more attention than you think.
Visually appealing to space out content
Having only texts and paragraphs on your website can make it look very cluttered and messy. This can be very off-putting for users visiting the website.
To make your website clean and appealing to the visitors, you have to make use of the “principle of white space” or commonly known in graphic designing as negative space. Humans like symmetry, and white space does just that.
What it essentially means is that adding images to your website makes sure that the content is organised and structured. A well-arranged layout is bound to get a longer duration of views, leading up to a better bounce rate.
The user can organise and comprehend information better when the page isn’t in a state of disarray.
Photographs can help to indicate a product or service
The saying “a picture is worth more than a thousand words” couldn’t get more real when it comes to website layouts.
Images have been shown to draw the user’s attention before the text. Having images about your products and services reaffirms to the user that they are searching in the right place.
An image that depicts all features of your products/services saves user’s time and effort. By telling them all the information they need to know in seconds, not only do you help them envision the usability of these products in real life, but you also promote quicker purchasing decisions.
Take this Loughborough student lets company, they indicate clear visuals of their properties on their property pages, which helps to provide their users with detailed visuals of the service they’re going to receive.
Not only does this help the visitor make an informed decision about the property, but the great photography used throughout the website also helps to further sell the property to potential students too.
Rightly used images can also improve your Google search rankings too, meaning next time someone searches for a similar product, your website/product image may show up.
Builds trust and reliability
Having pictures that depict positivity enhances the user experience; candid photos of your team, past clients, current directors, makes the user feel more connected to your company.
Images are also a great way to depict your core business ethics and how much you value customers’ needs.
Using infographics to showcase transparency in your conduct builds reliability. A user may trust a company more who isn’t afraid of showing “how they operate” and “behind the scenes of their work”.
Quality of photographs
How to choose photographs that will yield the best results is a big question in itself.
Just embedding photos won’t complete the job, there’s much more detail involved. You only have a 5–7 second window to grab the visitor’s attention and if not done correctly, images can negatively affect your website experience, which is why you should pay close attention to these factors while selecting the photos for your website:
Finding the balance between quality and load time
Whilst selecting photos, you should keep in mind that they are responsive and of the right size.
In simpler words, today, most users visit websites through mobile phones and tablets, having a responsive image would mean that it’ll adapt to the screen size of the user’s device without tearing or pixelating.
At the same time, using large images will slow down the load time of your website. A Google study claimed that as page load times go from 1–3 seconds, the probability of the bounce rate increases by 32%.
Though the images are advised to be of high quality, it’s equally important to ensure that they load faster.
For this, you can use file compressing websites/apps to bring down your image file size while retaining the quality. Ideally, the maximum file size shouldn’t be more than 0.5 MB (500 Kb), as a general rule of thumb.
Besides that, you can also choose between different formats that are faster such as JPEGs and GIFs. If it’s realistic photos, JPEGs works the best, whereas if it’s logos or infographics, PNGs would be a better choice.
Whilst choosing image formats, also make sure that you remove the unnecessary image metadata to further optimise the image’s load-time performance. You can use online apps or plugins such as Smush (if a WordPress site) in order to remove them.
Note: Image metadata consists of information about the image including date, location, file size and copyright, etc. Whilst some of it is necessary to keep for legal purposes, elements such as date, location and time is of no use to site visitors, therefore, it’s generally best to remove them.
Some other factors you should consider are
Using shareable media
Images that are unique and attractive tend to get shared on social platforms more. This can be huge for your brand, as it can bring potential visitors to your website.
Using custom photos
Stock photos are a good option to use but when it comes to giving your website a raw and authentic feel, it’s best to organise a photoshoot and use those images on your website instead.
Avoid copyright materials
The last thing you’d want is an email from the original owner of any images, requesting you to take them down. Before embedding a stock image on your site, always check that you have purchased the required license or if it’s royalty-free.
In conclusion, if you were confused about integrating photography into your site, the stats show you can’t go wrong with it. Users may come to your website for information, but they’ll stay only if you make it worthwhile.