The Impact of Images on Your Site
posted September 10th 2019, 1:50 pm by Maddy Strange
A site loads and we look at the screen. In less than a second, we've decided whether or not to stay on the website. What's the deciding factor? More often than not, the deciding factor is visual impact. Design and images affect our response to the page. This blog will go into further detail of exactly the impact of images on your site and how to use them effectively.
The Impact of Images on Your Site
Images improve the visual draw of your site. This makes sense because adding visual elements interests our eyes and mind. Colors and pictures engage us. This visual engagement decreases your page's bounce rate. High-quality, relevant images increase the chance of a second click or a second longer on your page.
Including images on your site brings it to life. As cliché as that sounds, it's really true. Picture a website page that has only words on the screen. This probably would be an informative page but it would not be attention-grabbing at all. Reading text is a rapidly decreasing activity. When site visitors are accosted by a large chuck of text, they'll likely not read it. However, if your text is illustrated or broken up by images, their eyes have something to rest on. Illustrating words with images brings visual variation and increases the interest of the viewer.
In the psychological realm, images are shown to create an emotional connection with viewers. This is important because psychology studies report that consumers use emotional reactions when deciding about companies and brands. This means that your images will create an emotional response that visitors will use to make decisions about your company. In addition, an MIT study found that the human brain can recognize images in around 13 milliseconds. This almost immediate recognition provides an incredible opportunity to create connections with website visitors very quickly.
Images can be tricky to find. However, there are basically two options for when you're incorporating images. You can use stock images or original images. When using either kind of image, pay attention to the load speed on your website page. Refer to this blog post for information on how to monitor your site speed by optimizing your images.
Stock images are images that are uploaded online for others to use. These images are high-quality, pre-made, and inexpensive or free. Stock photo websites, like Unsplash, have a large collection of stock photos to use for free. All the labor involved for you is in searching and downloading the images, so no heavy work is involved. However, stock images have the potential to be generic and cheesy. When using stock images, make sure that they aren't super cliché (like a group of people in suits pointing excitedly to a PowerPoint presentation). We've all seen these images before and they won't separate you from the competition. Try and find images that specifically relate to your topics and industry.
Tip: Read the fine print on image licenses before use. You can't use just any photo you find online because there are legal consequences to using images without permission. Make sure you're using images that are specifically free for anyone to use to avoid trouble and to honor photographers' work.
Original images are images that are produced and taken by someone in-house (or by a photographer you hire). These images allow for pictures that are unique to your company. No one else will have the exact same pictures on their site. Original images allow to customization and creative control over the visuals on your site. Original images are perfect to use for product or employee images. Pictures of your products can really show potential customers what you've got to offer. However, using original photos for every piece of content you're putting out can become costly and time consuming. Finding the perfect subject, props, lighting, and camera equipment for every image you use understandably takes a lot of effort. In addition, if your resources don't allow for high-quality equipment, consider sticking with stock photos that aren't grainy or blurry.
Original images also include custom made infographics and designs. These are a powerful tool in content marketing and information distribution. As with photos, make sure your infographics and designs are high-quality and professional.