Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Using Images to Improve your Website Performance

The textual content of your website is important for relaying your message to your audience and the images provide a visual for your message and brand.  People by nature are visually responsive and using pictures and other imagery on your website will provide your audience with a visual to associate with your company.  Images can also benefit your website by directing and retaining a visitor’s attention, invoking an emotion in the visitor, and selling a product.  However, you must use some discretion when choosing images for your website because bad quality or poorly sized pictures can really hurt your conversion rate.
These tips from Website Magazine will help you make good use of images on your website to improve your conversion rate.

Draw Attention to Specific Areas

If there is a specific part of the webpage that you want your visitors to notice such as a special promotion or call to action, images are a great way to direct their attention.  Research has shown that people react most to images of other people or high-contrast photos with bright colors.  Visitors to your website will tend to look in the direction of where the people in the images are looking so it is wise to position the images of people to be looking at the conversion element that you want your visitors to notice.

High contrast photos are excellent attention grabbers and it could benefit your conversion rate to put your message or call to action within the photo.  If you have a high contrast photo that is just filling space, it will draw attention away from the conversion elements of your website.

Invoke an Emotional Response with Images

As discussed in the item above, people react quickly to images of other people, especially faces, because they invoke a strong emotional reaction.  However, most people are instantly drawn away from stock images of people that appear “fake” or unnatural without an emotional response.  The images on your website must seem real to evoke more of an emotional response and build trust amongst your audience.  It is best to use your own images or buy exclusive rights to an image that is directly relevant to your company and avoid stock images whenever possible.  The photos you use must also be relevant to your content to help provide useful information to your visitors.

Selling Products with Images

If your company sells products through your website, then good images of the products are your best salesmen.  The images should be the focus of your products pages because they will sell the product better than even the most thorough description.  It is still important to have text to supplement the images with relevant information about the product.  Using multiple images of the product to show it from every angle and show it in use will help convince the visitor to buy.

Poor Use of Images

For as beneficial as images can be to a website, poor use of images can really work against you.

Consider the file size and load time for each image that you add to your website because if a large image takes too long to load, it could hurt your conversion rate.  Every image should load quickly and display properly, including enlarged images, so that it is sharp and not pixelated.  Another poor use of images is including products pictures that show multiple products so that it is unclear which product you are selling.  Make sure that the products photos you use clearly indicate your featured product.

We have all heard before that the content is the most important aspect of your website for driving conversions but in order to maximize the effect of your website, you must think of content in the textual and visual sense.  The written content is important for providing your audience with your message and relevant information, and the images on your website help draw their attention and invoke a response that leads to a conversion.  When properly used together, your textual and visual content will help increase your traffic and improve conversion rates.

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