As readers, we’re very visual people. When we arrive on a website, we judge the page on factors like layout, font choice, and photo or image use before we even read a word of text. So why do so many websites undervalue the visual components of their page?
Web designers know that SEO algorithms pay a lot of attention to the quality and content of their text and links, so they invest in great written content while overlooking the visuals. It’s time to right the ship and recenter aesthetics in site design.
Start With Quality
Using quality images is one of the most important things you can do when putting together your website – whether that means picking high resolution photographs or a crisply designed logo. Remember, people aren’t viewing your site on a small, fuzzy screen anymore – everything is clearly defined, even on a phone screen.
Consider, for example, a real estate website. If you want people to express interest in the properties, you’ll need to post crisp images of the property. These should not only be in high resolution, but should also follow the major rules of photo composition regarding lighting and minimalism. And don’t forget, quality is even more important if you opt to include a virtual tour of the home.
You don’t need to use fancy photographs all over your website if you don’t want. Minimalism can help you pare back the clutter and develop a more visually appealing website as well, especially when strategically employed.
You can use minimalist images as bullet points or full-fledged illustrations pointing readers to different parts of your site. Why include a clunky image of a real calculator or credit card when a stylized rendering is more visually pleasing within the context? A rectangular block with a full calculator will just look out of place and distracting compared to its simplified counterpart.
Beware Stock Photos
Many web designers don’t think that they have the budget to take original photos for their sites, so they turn to stock images. This makes sense, right? Why produce a new picture of a woman laughing alone with salad when there are dozens out there already?
The problem: people know what stock photos look like and don’t like them. In fact, eye-tracking studies show that people ignore stock photos when viewing a website. They act as though the image weren’t there are all. You might as well not clutter your page with stock photos if people are going to visually skip right over them.
Your website is your company’s home base, so take pride in it. Focus on the visual details, not just the text, and build something that will draw readers in. Remember, it’s the visuals that convince people to stay long enough to read your blog – you have to prove you’re worth their while.