If you have an image-rich website, you’re already doing at least one thing right for your brand.
The wall-of-text blog style is long over if you want to compete in today’s marketplace.
Articles that contain images get 94% more views than articles that have none and 93% of people surveyed said that visual imagery was the number one thing that helps them to decide to purchase a product.
Google’s latest algorithm favors pages that have varied content and weighs in favor of images and video combined with text.
Visual content also creates more backlinks than any other type of content, and posts with images on social media and your website get 180% more engagement.
Social Media Examiner asked marketers what content type they wanted to learn more about, and the top answer was creating visual assets.
The Need for Oversimplification
Visual psychology is crazy important. Your brain process images 60,000 times faster than text. In fact, you process information from an image in mere seconds, while reading a 3000-word blog post might take ten minutes.
Images help you to simplify a complex world.
A study was done on split-brain patients and normal patients found that there are two neurological processes that you use to digest images:
- One activates stored memories of the appearance of parts
- Another arranges the parts in the correct order or configuration
Some of the processes used to arrange parts are more effective in your left cerebral hemisphere and some are more effective in your right cerebral hemisphere; the notion that mental images are the product of right hemisphere activity is simply not true.
Your whole brain is looking to take shortcuts so that it doesn’t have to use up valuable brain power to reassemble everything you see anew each time you see it.
It essentially oversimplifies and makes a template based on similar experiences of images you’ve observed in the past.
How are you going to compete with this profound piece of neuroscience and human psychology if you don’t have high-quality images on your site?
The Brain and the CPU: Optimization is Everything
Just like your brain, the internet was set up to favor speed and the timely deliverance of information.
If you lack a highly effective way to get a point across (an image) or it cannot be indexed by search engines (we’ll call this the “brain” of the Internet), then you aren’t going to connect with customers.
Compelling images create a near-instant emotional connection between you and your audience. Images encourage discussion and shares, allowing you to create a relationship with people and your brand.
Yet, just throwing images up on your website or social media isn’t going to cut it.
Here are 10 mistakes you might be making that keep your image-rich site from reaching millions:
1. Your Graphics are Not Created with the Platform in Mind
Any decent graphic designer will tell you that different file formats and design styles are going to translate differently depending on where you intend to use them.
A web-based graphic will need to be designed differently than a social media cover photo. A product image will need to have different qualities than a company logo.
For instance: a PNG file may be better for webcomics, graphs and logos, while a JPEG file is better for web-based images, and might be better for icons that need to be compressed on your site such as “BUY NOW” or “SUBSCRIBE HERE” buttons.
File formats like SVG and BMP and JPG/PNG/GIF are the most widely supported file formats that can be rendered across all email clients and web browsers, but other formats might be needed for tangible assets like business cards or banners.
2. You Aren’t Optimizing for Speed
How important is the speed-loading rate for your website? It’s critical. Would you rather go to a motocross event to see bikes whir by in the fast-lane, or watch a turtle munch on a leaf? Maybe you’re a nature lover, but most people surfing the net want speed.
You can have tones of beautiful, eye-catching images but if your page takes more than 2 seconds to load, people start to click away.
Google also just made page speed vital. Their new algorithm will give pages that load lightning-fast priority over those that don’t load quickly, especially for mobile searches.
This change is likely due to Google’s research which found that bounce rate increases by 32% when page load times go from 1 second to 3 seconds. If your page takes longer than 5 seconds to load, the bounce rate is closer to 90%.
And though images are absolutely imperative to get people to connect with your brand, they also account for slow site load times.
Every large image on your site is slowing down your site’s load time another few seconds, and you simply can’t afford for that to happen.
3. You Aren’t Optimizing Right
There are two types of compression for website image files: Lossless and Lossy.
With lossless compression, no data is “lost” when the file is compressed into smaller bytes.
Lossy compression reduces a file by permanently eliminating certain information, especially redundant information.
When choosing one of these compression types, you are essentially trying to get the highest quality image in the most compressed file possible so that you can maximize your load speed.
If you are worried about losing important information in a file, then you would have to settle for a lossless image that may load slightly slower. Whenever possible lossy files are going to load faster, and therefore get you a higher page rank on Google, and better click-through from mobile browsers.
Complex file formats like TIFF and BMP files can take longer to load because they tend to be heavy. JPG, PNG and GIF files tend to load more quickly.
You can compress images by using a WordPress plugin like Imagify or one of the following free image compression tools:
4. Your Images Aren’t Mobile-Friendly
If your images (and text for that matter) aren’t mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive, then you’re wasting your efforts.
Most people in the world are searching the web via their smartphones or some other mobile device. That’s where 60 percent of all Internet searches are coming from.
If your images are too large, they won’t make a mobile user happy.
Bootstrap has developed CSS guidelines for image sizes that will load easiest and be viewable on a mobile phone:
- Extra Small Devices (phones): all screens less-than 768 pixels
- Small Devices (tablets): all screens greater than 768 pixels (but less than 992 pixels)
- Anything bigger than 1000 pixels isn’t mobile friendly.
5. Your Images Don’t Create Enough Emotional Pull
We’ll let a few images speak to our point. Here is an image of Sam the Koala that became famous during a bushfire in Victoria when a fireman tried to save him by giving him water. Sadly, Sam had to be put down following the fire due to bodily damage that couldn’t be fixed. With this photo, the “feelz” are innumerable: hope, sadness, disgust, etc. It pulls you in and begs you to engage with the story being told.
Compare this image to another:
Now how do you feel after seeing these two images? Which image will make you want to read more? The second image is cute and all, but one reaches out and grabs you. The other – not so much.
6. You Use Text Graphics When You Don’t Need To
Text graphics should only be used when a cool font won’t do the trick. This is because text graphics generally take longer to load. In the case of an information-rich infographic, be sure to optimize using one of the tools listed above.
7. You Aren’t Using the Golden Ratio
Our eyes prefer images that are in harmony with nature’ design. The golden ratio, often used by famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, divide an image into thirds to help appeal to our neuropsychology. It helps your brain locate key elements.
This is an example of an image that reflects the golden ratio we all find so appealing:
8. You Aren’t Using Color
Color is far more appealing when it comes to images than black and white. Maybe your site is about film noir, but you still need to incorporate color. Wishpond reported that having two contrasting colors just for links boosted conversions up to 60%.
9. You are Choosing the Wrong Colors
Every single color in the viewable rainbow has a certain psychological effect on people viewing your site. Your images should fall into a specific color spectrum. Green is associated with wealth and growth. Purple is associated with royalty, intuition, and imagination. Red communicates a sense of urgency or vitality. Make sure you choose a color that is telling the story you want to tell about your brand and keep a consistent color palette throughout your site.
10. Your Images Don’t Match Your Brand
Finally, all images should add to the brand. It doesn’t matter how stunning a phot is, it should convey the same ideas and company goals that you want people to associate with your product or service.
Summing it Up
Image-rich sites that are optimized to load quickly, that understand how the brain responds to color, taking placement and emotion into account will conquer all other image-lacking sites in the future. Optimize your images for speed. Make sure they are emotionally compelling yet brand-appropriate, and above all, be sure they are mobile-friendly. After doing this, you’ll soon be competing for rank on the net like a boss.