How To Create Awesome Visual Content
When visiting a new site for the first time, the first aspect anyone notices is the imagery. It doesn’t matter what the site is about or how good the writing on it is. It’s the pictures and color schemes that make that vital first impression. As most people decide whether to stay or go in just thirty seconds, this makes a big difference to the success of the site. Despite this, many site creators admit that they don’t know the first thing about how to make it work for them. There are far too many generic looking web pages out there that are missed opportunities. What can be done about it?
The Power of Visual Content
Visual content not only grabs the attention of website visitors; it changes the way they process information. According to one researcher, only 10% of people recall information that they’ve heard after three days have passed, but that number rises to 65% if it was accompanied by an image. A total of 42% of B2C marketers consider images to be the most important form of content they use, and more are choosing to prioritize it with every passing year. Consumers connect with images at an emotional level, and much of the effect is subconscious. So, images that evoke a positive reaction can contribute to a site’s success, even if they have only a tenuous connection to the written content.
Attracting The Right Audience
Choosing the right kind of images to connect with visitors can be tricky. It’s part of the process of branding, and what constitutes the right choice depends on the demographic the site is aimed at. In keeping with the concept that every marketer is selling a lifestyle first and a product or service second, it’s worth taking the time to research that demographic and determine the types of imagery it’s likely to find appealing, being careful to ensure that these choices are grounded in fact, rather than stereotyping. Stock image sites like dreamstime.com can be helpful for finding the right kind of image quickly, as there’s no need for everything to be unique in this kind of branding. What’s more important is to have strong images that can tap in effectively to the emotions being targeted.
Avoid Off Putting Images
Just as there’s a right way to use visual content, there’s also a wrong way. Image quality is extremely important, as images that are out of focus or poorly framed, but not artistically so, can lead customers to believe that anything being communicated or sold on the site is likely to be similarly shoddy. While amusing images can be very effective at getting a site talked about, images that use spiteful humor risk putting off whole groups of customers, and damaging a company’s reputation. In addition to this, it’s useful to keep the emotional tone of images consistent with each other and with the narrative of the site, so that they don’t risk breaking the spell.
Although most dialog in this area tends to revolve around foreground images, the visual work in the background of a site is also important. There are two big issues here; the first is branding. Signature colors need to be consistent and other colors used on a site need to work with them. The second is accessibility: images used as backgrounds should not make text difficult to read. If text is layered over images, care should be taken to make sure that it can still be accessed by automated screen readers, as blind people use the internet too.
Keeping It Fresh
When people visit a site repeatedly, they’re more likely to linger on each visit if they see something new. The easiest way to send the message that the site is being frequently updated is by changing prominent images. This can be done by using a pool of images from which one is selected at random each time the site is loaded, but it’s still a good idea to change them completely on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on traffic flow. This also means that a site has multiple opportunities to make those important emotional connections.
Learning to use visual content effectively can make all the difference between success and failure. Although some experts thought it might become less important as people began accessing the internet on smaller and smaller devices, the evidence is that the opposite has occurred. An increase in computing power means that it’s now easy for most people to use a highly visual internet without their devices slowing down, so the use of visual content is rapidly expanding. In this environment, it’s vital to stay ahead.