The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more relevant than with our websites today.
Images are a vital part of any webpage, serving not only as eye candy but also as a powerful tool to engage visitors, convey information, and ultimately drive conversions.
But not all images are created equal.
The key to leveraging their full potential lies in the strategic selection and use of images that resonate with your audience and align with your brand’s message. Let’s explore this subject today.
The Power of Images
Images are more than just decorative elements. They are powerful communication tools that can evoke emotions, tell stories, and create a more immersive experience for your visitors.
Research shows that people can process visuals about 60,000 times faster than text — making images an effective way to capture attention and convey complex information quickly.
In my testing, I’ve seen the right images boost conversion — to sometimes even double when that was the only thing that changed.
An image fails if it doesn’t produce interest and curiosity. For your image, you want to tell just enough to keep the visitor engaged without giving away so much that the visitor feels content and leaves the site.
Choosing the Right Images
The initial step in harnessing the potential of images is making the right selection. This process is more complex than simply picking out visually appealing pictures. It’s about finding images that speak to your audience and align with your brand’s identity.
Many websites resort to generic stock photos due to their accessibility and broad range of subjects. These can be nice but they often fall short in terms of authenticity. They’re produced for mass distribution, not tailored to your unique brand or audience.
As a result, they can come across as impersonal or irrelevant, failing to evoke the desired response from your visitors.
And if the search engine has seen the same image on 20 websites, it certainly won’t appear significantly unique. This can cause an image fail if the search engine decides not to show your image in the image search directly because there are so many already.
High Quality Original Images
Consider investing in high-quality, original images instead. These could be professionally taken photographs of your products, your team, or images that depict your services.
You could also consider using custom illustrations or graphics. Original images offer a level of authenticity that stock photos can’t match. They’re unique to your brand and can be designed to reflect your brand’s personality and values.
Moreover, original images have a higher chance of resonating with your target audience. They can showcase the real people behind your brand, offer a glimpse into your company culture, or visually represent the benefits of your product or service.
This connection can foster trust and credibility, making your audience more likely to engage with your content and respond to your calls to action.
If that is not an option, you can select certain images from sources like Canva and then modify them. If you implement Canva with their ai feature, you can produce images that are unique and may perform better than stock images (but not as well as original unique images).
Remember every image is an opportunity to communicate with your audience. Make sure your images are saying the right things.
Images should be more than just placeholders or decorations; they should contribute to your narrative, reinforce your brand identity, and engage your audience on a deeper level.
Images and Conversions
Images can significantly impact your conversion rates. A well-chosen image can draw attention to your call-to-action, evoke the desired emotions, and help visitors visualize the benefits of your product or service.
Remember, the goal is not just to decorate, but to communicate and persuade.
Optimizing Images for Better Performance
The performance of your webpage is crucial for user experience and SEO. Large, unoptimized images can slow down your page load speed, leading to higher bounce rates.
Always optimize your images for the web, balancing quality and file size.
A great tool to help minimize file size is at Tiny PNG. You just load up the image, tell it to compress, then download your smaller file size version of the image. It’s super simple.
If an image has a large file size, it can take a while to load on the page. This type of image fail causes a delay and the visitor may just leave rather than waiting around.
The Role of Featured Images
Featured images act as the visual representatives of your content.
They appear in social media shares, RSS feeds, and search engine results, playing a crucial role in the first impression your content makes.
Make sure your featured images are compelling, relevant and accurately represent your content.
You want an image that creates intrigue and says… click here to find out something you did not know.
A good featured image could mean the difference between getting a search engine click or not. A failed image doesn’t get interest or the click.
I like to use 1200 x 630 for my images, as long as I can compress the file size. These images work well for Google Discover and I noticed when I switched my images to that size, my number of Google Discover images being displayed went 5x.
Images and Accessibility
Inclusivity should be a priority when designing your webpage.
Use alt text for your images to ensure that those using screen readers can understand the content.
Alt text also helps search engines better understand and rank your content.
Every image should also have a caption, except for your featured image.
Testing and Tweaking
The effectiveness of images — like any other element on your webpage — should be tested.
Use A/B testing to compare different images and see which ones lead to higher conversions. Tools like HotJar.com and VWO.com can help with this.
Remember… what works for one website might not work for another. It takes time to optimize… time that is well spent once you hit it just right.