How the Right Images Will Help Your Website
There are a lot of bad websites out there. Some have terrible layouts, some simply don’t work, and others are just, well… ugly. Some of the most common problems that you are likely to come across are terribly-optimised pictures, but these are some of the easiest ones to fix!
Here are three steps you can take to make sure that regardless of whatever else is happening on your website, your images are not letting you down.
1. Size Matters!
Bigger is not always better. When it comes to sizing for the web, you really don’t have to get too technical to meet basic needs. A lot of it will just come down to how it appears to you.
If you have a paragraph of text that stretches from one side of the page to the other, the same below, with a tiny picture in between that does not stretch beyond the length of a few words, then clearly this will look a bit odd. Equally, if you have a little text with a massive picture in between, then this contrast will look jarring.
Pictures can also clash with each other. If you are going to put multiple images on a web page, then you should do your best to make them as uniform as possible. Once you have found a size that fits try and resize every image you are going to use as equally as possible.
You can do this using Photoshop, although the free image editing software GIMP will do the job just fine. Just drag your file into the programme, click the ‘Image’ option on the toolbar, then ‘Scale Image’, and set it to whatever you would like. On the same page where you pick your size, it will show your resolution, make sure this is no higher than 72.
2. Bigger is not better.
One of the most important things to consider when you are choosing your pictures is the file size.
When someone visits your website, every file their device has to load up will slow down how quickly your page opens. If your site takes too long to load, people will not bother to wait for what you have to say or offer.
Around 50% of web users will abandon a website if it takes over three seconds to load. Amazon predicted that if the loading times for their pages were to slow down by just one second, they would lose a total of $1.6 billion every year.
In short, try and keep the file sizes of your photos as low as possible – you do not need print quality images for the web, a quality that is too high cannot even be shown properly on current screens.
As a side note, put all of your files through Tiny PNG. This magical website will shrink the file size of your image while maintaining the quality, helping to give your loading times that extra boost. You will need to make sure the file type works on Tiny PNG, which you can do through GIMP by exporting it as any file you like (I usually use JPEG).
3. Get Creative!
You do not have to blow the minds of everyone who visits your site or blog when you are choosing your picture, but you should at least try and use something somewhat interesting! You cannot use the same standard stock images that you find all over the internet and be surprised when people are underwhelmed!
What I would say, though, is to make sure that you have the rights to use the image in question. If you are using a stock image from a site like Fotolia or Shutterstock, then you will already have the permissions (make sure and pay for them so they don’t have the watermark on them…)
If you want to use an image from elsewhere, Google provides a useful tool for finding images which you have the right to use. Once you have searched for whatever kind of image you would like, simply click the ‘Tools’ option to the below the search bar you can change the usage rights to ‘Labelled for Reuse’. The image included below highlights where to click.
If you choose any of these pictures, you should be fine in terms of copyright issues and such like. Alternatively, you could take your own pictures, which can provide an exciting dimension to your website!
With poor quality, amateur-looking, pictures, your content can be amazing and insightful, but the majority of people will still leave your website with a sour taste in their mouth. However, if you follow these three simple rules the image quality on your websites and blogs will look professional and sleek.
It is worth noting that there is a lot more to formatting images for the web, you can optimise it for searchability and so on, but it is best to nail the basics first. Do not worry; we will explore this deeper in a future blog!