How Good Images Make or Break Your Website

If one picture is worth 1,000 words, what is that same picture worth in page views? In addition to written content, video and navigation, good images are the backbone of your webpage — especially if you’re in e-commerce.

Have you ever visited a website with broken images and it looked like it was made in 1998? Those pages are dead before the text even finishes loading. On the other end, bad pictures can sometimes be worse than no pictures at all. So when you’re dressing your website for e-commerce, what’s the right balance? Use these four tips to give your site the stunning imagery it deserves.

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes the important details of your images are what the user doesn’t see — file size, metadata and searchability. The best digital images are optimized and organized. Check off these boxes to ensure your pictures load and view properly.

  • Reduce file sizes to the smallest possible without sacrificing image quality (faster load times).
  • Use common formats like JPG and PNG.
  • Fill out all metadata: file name, alt tag and description. Make sure your site’s name and a few words about the image are in all three.

Also brush up on the principles of basic photography: proper lighting, rule of thirds, equipment basics and more. A good tutorial can teach you all of that and more in a short time.

Ditch the White Background

Pablo Picasso once said, “First know the rules, then break them accordingly.” There is a time and a place to use a white background behind products or other retail purposes but most companies aren’t doing it correctly. You want your products in the wild, out where they will be seen and used.

Look at how major retailers show off patio furniture — they actually put it on the patio. That’s because they want you to experience what these pieces will look and feel like in your own home. It doesn’t matter if you sell picnic tables or t-shirts, your company should be doing the very same.

Stock Photography Is for the Birds

You can spot it from a mile away. It’s the generic photo of co-workers laughing around a laptop, a nondescript woman running through the park or a young millennial wearing a fedora in Brooklyn. Stock images have an unmistakeable look and feel that usually turns off an audience to anything cool and unique.

The extra time and money for your own photography is worth it. Don’t pinch pennies on stock.

What Story Do You Tell?

At the end of the day, what story do your pictures tell? A young startup like Chubbies Shorts tells a different story than a more sophisticated brand like Ann Taylor. Both companies follow the same rules of photography, but they each have different stories to tell (and are very good at telling those stories).

Images play a big role in telling your brand’s story. If you haven’t yet thought about storytelling, it could be helpful to read what other entrepreneurs have written on the matter and give it a second look with imagery in mind.

And if you’re not comfortable taking your own pictures and don’t have the budget for a full-time photographer, platforms like Scoopshot can help find freelancers in your area.

Photo Details: Image provided by Social Monsters with permission to use. 

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