Websites are the new elevator pitch. A typical website visitor gives a website five seconds to prove its value and convince the visitor to stay longer. What factors encourage staying over skedaddling? A new website visitor will look to see how your company can help them, what they can do on your website, and what value your website offers them. And no, they probably won't be impressed with dancing babies.
The visual content of your website, its imagery, helps customers see the answers. Images communicate much faster than words (a picture is worth a thousand words, right) and can be used to convey your message.
Many websites squander this opportunity, though. See the following common examples of mistakes that are counterproductive to your website’s message and how you can fix them.
- Clutter - A photo that looks good in a picture frame will not necessarily look good on your website. Group images do not come across well on the internet. Images with a lot of detail and/or complicated composition are less effective than simple ones. Also, tight shots (close to the subject) work much better than wider shots (taken from farther away).
- Scale - All images need to be able to work well at variable sizes. Keep in mind that the photos you put on your website not only have to look good on a 17” or larger monitor, but also will be see on an 11” tablet and a 6” iPhone. Vector images are your best option for looking good in a variety of formats and sizes.
- Image Load Time - When your potential customer is only giving you five seconds your images must load as quickly as possible. Images should be uploaded at the most compressed size possible. Jpeg and png formats are lighter than the other formats and will help decrease load time.
- Awkward Fake Photos - Your customer knows when you use stock photography. While stock photography has its place, that place is not impersonating your employees or customers. Hire a photographer and have them take professional shots of what your business actually looks like. Your customer is much more likely to identify with your real customers and staff. Sure you may look slightly overweight and your hair may not be perfect but you're in the business of pleasing your customers not professional modeling (like the iStock photo people).
- Dissonance - Neon colors, flashing banners, scrolling text and yes, dancing babies, are all bad ideas. Make sure nothing you are doing is solely because it looks “cool.” When your customer spends their five seconds looking at the shiny object they have no time to see your message.