The Importance of Images on Your Website – the nitty-gritty.

Without wishing to state the obvious, images are a massively important part of your website.

Whatever your business, pictures, and graphics help to bring your website, and by association, your business, to life on-line.

Many businesses rely heavily on imagery to promote their products or services; photographers, travel companies, estate agents, arts & craft businesses, restaurants and so on. With the rise of online shopping, it is becoming ever more important to have professional, enticing photos of your product range to tease and tempt your customers! Let’s face, a dull, flat and out-of-focus picture of your top-selling product is hardly likely to get the sales figures rocking is it?

Images are so powerful

They say that our brain computes an image much, much faster than it does text, so good imagery can communicate a product, brand or service almost instantly.

Did you know that over 3.5 billion images are shared online every day and many of these images mention products or brands without using any text at all? That is quite a powerful medium.

But it isn’t just a case of chucking up a load of fancy images on to your site, putting them wherever they will fit, and at whatever size and quality you happen to have handy.

So, what are the main considerations when adding images to a website, here are some points to bear in mind.

How many images should I use?

Firstly, let’s consider how many, images we should use on our websites, it isn’t always a question of “the more, the merrier”.

This really depends on the type of business website. For example, an art gallery will want to have a lot of lovely looking photos of their paintings, showing the detail and mood of the work, and an estate agent also will want to show his properties in the very best light, with lots of internal and external shots to give the visitor a real “feel” of the property before arranging a viewing.

e-commerce websites, or on-line shops as they are known, will also want to flood their pages with well-taken, sharp images of their products, their website is quite literally their shop window.

In contrast, an accountant or solicitor may want to use images much more sparingly, mainly to promote the ethics and ethos of the company. Perhaps they will have professional headshots of the staff, to encourage trust and a sense of “approachability” with their employees.

One firm of solicitors we worked with recently, wanted their main Home page image to portray a sense of old-fashioned values with a modern approach. We used the image below, depicting the old (St.Pauls cathedral) with the new (Millenium Bridge). They are based in London so the image suited perfectly.

So think about your own business website, and how much imagery you should use and remember, pictures can be used to portray emotional messages as well as physical ones and the style and tone of your images is all important.

Where should I use images?

Again this much depends on the type of business and your particular preference but it’s usually a good general rule to have a relevant and striking image on your home page, usually as a banner towards the top of the page. You may also like to consider a “slider” image, this is where you have multiple images that change every few seconds, which is useful for returning visitors as they will potentially see a different main image when they visit your website.

Otherwise use imagery sparingly but effectively to make your pages stand out but make sure they are of good quality and are relevant to the page they are on.

Use your best images “above the fold”, or above the bottom of the screen without scrolling down. This is considered prime real-estate in website parlance and is good for eye candy and also helps to impart your most valuable information.

If you have a blog or news page, make sure each article has at least one good image and use a thumbnail image on your Blog page, against each article snippet.

Finally, if your website needs a lot of images to properly promote your business, then use a gallery page. This is where you can really go to town with lots of pictures showing off your work and you can keep it fresh and up-dated every time you add new products or complete another job for a satisfied client.

In part 2 of this article, we will look at how to optimise images for your website and how to get the most out of photos from an SEO perspective.