If you have spent a decent amount of time surfing the web in recent years you may have noticed a change in the way images are used on sites. Years ago you might have found sites that were filled with lots of text and a few images but now more and more pages are being built around images. This is partly because internet connections are faster and cheaper than ever before so images that would have taken minutes to load just years ago now load in seconds. People love images and now there are few reasons to deny them what they want.
Whatever kind of site you run, images can help you get your message across. These can be photos or they can be infographics that combine information with imagery that reinforces the message. Whether your images are window dressing for an important message or the content itself they can make all the difference when it comes to getting people to come to your site and see what you have to say.
Images Make Pages More Readable
Have you ever gone to a website and noticed that it was filled with nothing but a large block of text? Even if you’ve been taught never to judge a book by its cover you’re probably going to see a screen full of text and assume it’s boring. Like it or not appearance matters, and the way information is presented colors our perception of it.
It’s important to realize that people read websites differently than they read books. There are a lot of things online competing for attention and people have a harder time focusing on anything for long periods of time. After all, there’s a world of sights and sounds just a few clicks away. Adding images breaks up the monotony of large text blocks. In this way websites are more like magazines than books, which makes sense considering they’re usually consumed one page at a time rather than in long sittings.
The best strategy you can take is using text and imagery together to create a coherent message. The most obvious example of this is the infographics, where an image is designed to contain the most important pieces of information. This gets the visual and verbal sides of the mind working together and helps people remember what they read more effectively.
They Make Your Site Look More Professional
As a general rule a site without imagery looks cheap. Sites like Google can get away with it because of their utilitarian nature but even with Google as soon as you search there are images on the page. The most successful sites have relevant imagery on their pages, and yours should too.
If you aren’t convinced take some time to look at blogs from amateurs and professionals. Before you read a word you can usually tell the difference between the two based on the images used on the site. Amateurs often leave their sites blank because they don’t want to put the effort into finding a good image and uploading it, justifying this inaction by calling it a design choice. Don’t let convenience control your choices; at least consider how images could help your site.
It’s important to note that the message isn’t that more pictures make a better site. If that were the case web design would just be adding as many images as possible to the page. It’s about effectively using images, one meaningful and high quality image is better than a whole collection of low quality pictures that don’t add much.
It’s Easier to Find Images Than Ever Before
It’s one thing to say you need more images on your site and another to actually put theory into practice. It’s easy to find graphics, pictures and animated images online that you can grab and upload onto your site but that’s not necessarily the best strategy to take.
Remember that the people who take photos and draw pictures are individuals just like you, who want to be acknowledged and compensated for their work. The least you can do is cite sources for every image you post but if you really want to be on the safe side try and look for places where you can get royalty free images at low to no cost so that you can improve the look of your site without fear of legal or moral troubles.
Take some time to browse the web and see if there are any photo directories that have what you’re looking for. If you want something more personal you can make images yourself or hire a designer, a cost that you may find to be quite affordable when it comes to improving your most important pages.
Keeping Your Readers in Mind
Creating good websites is all about catering to your visitors. Producing quality content is essential but it will go unnoticed if you don’t have something on your site to grab attention. You are competing with millions of sites offering all sorts of stimulation; the least you can do is add a photo or two to your blog posts.
If you want people to notice your site and stay on it give them something to look at. It really can be that simple.
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