Choosing the right images
Don't underestimate them!
It's just as important to choose the right images for your website as it is to choose the right words. We as a company can recall too many occasions where a website's success has been compromised by its imagery, despite having a beautifully implemented function. However, we do appreciate the challenge that comes with selecting effective images and so have put together a short, snappy guide to get you headed on the right track.
As a manager of your website, it's tempting to choose what's quick & easy over what's most appropriate. Follow these steps to make sure your images are of sufficient quality:
1. Count the pixels, the pixels count
As a general rule, images used on your website should be no lower than 72ppi (pixels per inch). Any lower than this and the pictures will appear blurry and pixelated on bigger screens, instantly tampering your reputation with site visitors. You should be able to find out the ppi of the image from the image information, otherwise you can double check there is no pixelation on both small and large screens.
2. Keep the file size low
This is to keep your web-page loading time fast; there's nothing a website user hates more than a slow page load! Aim to keep each image under 100kb and you can use online resources such as https://tinyjpg.com/ to compress the size, without reducing the quality.
3. Be clever with crop
Google penalises websites if they don't respond well across different devices and screen sizes. This goes for the imagery too! An image may look brilliant on your large desktop at home, but pretty pathetic on your consumer's mobiles. Make sure to consider how the same image looks both large and small, you may want to crop closer in on the main subject to make sure no key details are lost.
4. RGB, it's as easy as 123
If all of your images are in an RGB colour mode (rather than CMYK) you'll notice that the colours appear far brighter. Contrast is pleasing to our human eyes, so try to retain it wherever possible.
Style & branding
We're all familiar with the adage 'a picture is worth a thousand words' yet I think we still underestimate its truthfulness. Try to keep your images relevant and make each one count. Stick to these steps to do so:
1. Keep it original
I'm sure you're no stranger to a cheesy stock image and the 'cringe' emotions they evoke. A visitor to your website isn't immune to this either. Stay away from the overly-staged stock photos and try to use your own, original images wherever possible.
2. Keep it consistent
You've invested in branding, so make sure your images back the brand up. Try to limit the colour palettes within the images to those that resemble your brand. Remember, the message conveyed through the image should align with your own brand ethos, otherwise the site user might come away confused by and skeptical of your message.
3. Represent your target audience
An image is one of the fastest ways to define who your website is talking to. Be sure to include subjects that represent your target audience accurately and fairly.
4. It's not always relevant
It does well to take a step back and ask yourself, or someone else, whether or not the image is complementing the written information. If the answer is no, it's time to find an image that visually summarises what the text is saying, or consider removing the image all together.
Just like most creative tasks, there's a couple admin actions you can take when managing your imagery.
1. Make sure it's licensed!
Don't plonk in the 'perfect' image without knowing where it's come from or if you have the right to use it, because trust us...it ain't worth it! It could get you into a sticky legal situation. Always make sure you've documented the source of your images along with the proof of license. Alternatively, choose some images from royalty free libraries. Why not try these, we think they're brilliant. UnsplashPixabayPexels
2. It's cool to be organised
Organising your images into the categories that they're relevant to will speed up your site management hugely. Our MINT management system has a media library built in and makes it easier to find the right one. If you wish to update images fairly regularly to keep the look and feel of your site fresh or seasonal, you will know you've got a bank of effective options!
It's important to dedicate the time necessary when choosing your images. Make sure you're getting the most out of them by checking the resolution, file size, crop and colour mode. Use subjects that are relevant to your target market, colours that complement your brand and keep it all original. We look forward to seeing how a straightforward change can make a huge impact on the success of your website!