The saying above, “a picture is worth a thousand words” might be true, but your audience doesn’t need or want a thousand words. They’re looking for the right words and in order to get their eyes on those words we have to pair them up with the right images.
Did you know that your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text? (Business 2 Community)
^ Whoa. That’s pretty incredible! Basically the images you put on your website, blog posts, and social media posts are almost as important (if not more) than your actual content!
So how do we make or find images to attract and keep our audience engaged?
- Quality - This one should be obvious. Don’t pick an image that is either too small relative to where you’re trying to put it or a low quality image.
- Colors! Remember how our brains see and process images: make sure your image is colorful and not too dull or saturated.
- Context - Make sure the images work with your text. For example, if you’re writing a technical article, you might use an instructional image, etc.
- Don’t be a cliche - You know what I mean. Not only are there images that are eye-roll worthy (like people shaking hands) but there are images that we know we’ve seen on a ton of other websites! If you can use your own images, be original - if you can’t, try to be creative. Take a look at this great article that shows Cliche vs Creative images.
While picking the image is really important, there are a few other considerations to take into account:
- Remember SEO: We have to get our visitors to our page! Search engines do not see the image like we do. Remember the basics of SEO - writing ALT tags, and adding photo captions (if you need a refresh, refer to our blog: “Top 9 SEO Tips for Nonprofit Success”).
- Placement: Where you place your image on the page has some significance. For example, make sure your page headline is clearly visible before interrupting the flow with an image. A typical designer solution to this is to use the main image as a header background (two birds, one stone kind of thing). We read left to right, keep this in mind when floating images or placing images within text. I know what happens when I get interrupted from reading, I move onto something else!
- Copyright: All images are free if you find them in Google’s image search right? Wrong. Using images your organization owns is your best bet (remember original and creative), or photos you’ve taken; however, if you have to browse the web for images, make sure you are browsing stock websites that offer free imagery, or stock photography which requires payment. Some great stock websites are: istock.com (requires payment), shutterstock.com (requires payment),and unsplash.com (free, no payment)
In the end, it’s all about telling your story.
It’s really easy to find an uninspired image. However, taking the time to find/create the right image will give you the unique opportunity you deserve to stand out!