Website images tell your company’s story in vivid, emotional ways words can never match. Like everything else involved in website design, images have their own set of best practices and strategies. First, start with high quality images, either custom shot for you by a professional photographer or purchased through a stock images site. The following best practices all hinge on getting that first one right.
When you publish photos to your website you may notice a caption box that’s titled Alt Text. You need to use that. In layman’s terms, Alt text tells what your image is about. It’s helpful to both search engines and people with vision impairment who can read about the image if they can’t see it. Search engines don’t “see” images, instead they an image on your page appears as blank space when Google or another search engine crawls your site. Alt Text allows you to tell search engines what the image is about and plug in some SEO all at the same time. For example, a blog image for this article on our website will read something like “Momentum Consulting Website Image Best Practices” to describe both the graphic and the blog behind it.
When choosing the images for your website think about your target audience. Do the images you’ve selected resonate with them? Do they send the correct message? Your target market’s opinion is actually more important than your own. When your target audience sees images of people who look like them or behave like them, it helps them identify more with your brand. For instance, a senior adult on vacation or playing with grandchildren will attract that audience more so than a picture of a much younger group of people taking a selfie, and vice versa.
Like the written content on your website, the images on your site send a message as well. Think about the purpose behind each image and how you want the viewer to feel when they look at them. Include images of your physical location to send the message that says “This is what our building looks like when you are looking for us.” Images of you and your staff make the site more personal and it makes the viewer feel more comfortable and connected to your business. Images of your products or services show what you are about and they encourage the viewer to shop with you. Other images can be used to enhance the website creatively, just make sure they are visually appealing.
You don’t want the viewer’s eyes to be all over the place. For instance, when you have a double column in which there is text on one side and an image on the other, you don’t want the person in the image to be looking away from the text. This draws the viewer’s attention away from the text. The same goes for image or graphics with arrows or sharp points that tell the eyes which direction to look.
Stock or Hire a Pro?
Another decision you’ll make concerning images is whether to use stock images from sites like Adobe or Canva, or if there’s a need to hire a professional photographer. If you plan to use staff images and images of your building, it’s time to hire a pro. Sure, anyone can line people up next to a wall and snap their image but a professional photographer puts a bit more effort into their photos than that. With a professional, you can be sure your images are high quality, sharp and clear and attractive to the eye.
Where to Find Stock Images for Your Website
Even if you hire a professional photographer don’t be surprised if you notice a need for a few stock photos as well. Of course, the best stock images will cost, but most stock sites like Adobe and Shutterstock offer very reasonably priced packages that will save a lot of money. You can also find many great free images on sites like Canva, Flickr, 123RF, and Pixabay.
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