An image is worth a thousand words.
This sure is a cliche, but has been true for thousands of years! Even today, a picture trumps text on your page by a huge margin. A glance at the above image is enough to understand what the artist wants to convey. So, it may be worth your effort investing in the services of a good graphic artist.
Here are a few rules of thumb that you may follow while using images on your web page.
1) Pictures of people always have better results than other images.
2) Pictures of smiling people perform better.
3) Pictures of your target demographic doing something healthy and fun may pull better.
4) All else being the same, pictures of pretty people(men/women/cute kids) are the best performing ones.
5) If you are using pretty people in the picture, they should be shown using your product or enjoying the benefits of using your product.
6) If your product is being shown in the picture, but its not being used, then make sure the people in the picture are looking at your product.
7) Preferably they should be wearing something in colors that match your theme colors or logo colors.
8) The background may be muted bringing attention to the person in the forefront.
9) It may be a good idea to keep the background relatively clutter-free too.
10) Your image should be placed above the fold, where the user can see it without scrolling.
11) If you are placing the image on the left hand side of the page, your product should appear on the right hand side bottom corner; or vice versa. This helps the viewers gaze to fall on your product as a natural extension of where he is going to look next.
If you are using a video instead of an image,
12) Make sure the video snap shot that appears makes sense and is engaging enough to make the user want to click to view it.
13) If you are using a youTube plugin, normally the snapshot is taken from the middle, but you can set it to something else too.
14) You can use some scripting to display an image from anywhere in the video, then play the video in place when the user clicks on the image.
15)If you are hosting the video on a third party site, please load an in-place image initially so that there is no ugly empty space on the page. The video can be loaded hidden and displayed when fully loaded. Talk to your software guy about how to do this.
16) Do not forget your tags. Use AlT tags for images and videos.
17) If you are using a video hosting service such as youtube, they allow multiple tags with your images.
18) Mention your product, then your company name if it makes sense.
19) Please do not use other people’s images without permission or at least attributing to the creator. If you can provide a link to the creators site from your footer, that would be even better.
20) If the owner of the images asks you to bring it down, you have no option but to take it off right away.
21) If you are a solo-preneur or a mom and pop shop, put your picture on the front page.
22) If you are a local shop, it may help having your entire family’s picture on your web site.
23) Try to reduce your images to the smallest possible size without losing clarity to avoid long loading times.
24) Use sprites if you can; again check with your Software Guy.
25) Carry a camera with you, and snap anything that looks pleasing. You never know when the next big blog idea may show up and you can snap a picture go with it.
Do you have any words of wisdom regarding the use of images? Have you run any tests that disprove any of the rules above? Let me know …
* Image courtesy of Treehugger blog.