As you design your website, you might think that images are a “nice to have” element that don’t serve much of a purpose beyond looking good. But images on your website do so much more than paint a pretty picture. Images can consist of photographs, infographics, cartoons, GIFs or other visual elements. If you’re using photos, Yellow Pages offers low-cost options for producing high-quality, professional shots of your business. There are also many websites where you can license stock images instead of commissioning original photography. There can be a huge range in quality when it comes to stock photos, so it’s important to make sure your selections feel fresh and don’t look overly staged or hokey. You might also want to check out the websites of your competition to make sure they aren’t using the same stock shots.
Effectively used, images can help drive more visitors to your website, promote social sharing and ultimately help drive business goals such as sales. Here are the top five reasons images are important for your website.
Websites with images get more views. Nearly double, in fact, according to one study that found online content with images gets 94 per cent more views than pages without.
Images bring your product or service to life. Perhaps you’ve heard the old expression it’s better to show than tell. Images on your website act as storytellers, allowing website visitors to visualize your product or service – and themselves using your offering. As well, research has found that the human brain can correctly identify images in as little as 100 milliseconds, making carefully-chosen images that reflect your product and values an important opportunity to quickly capture visitors’ attention – even before they’ve read a word of text. This same effect can also help improve recall of your business later. Aim for photos that depict positive emotions and, if it makes sense, contain people, two things that have been shown to boost conversion rates.
Images help you show up in search engine results. The SEO benefits of using images are multifold. If you properly label images with search-friendly metadata and captions, you are creating more content for search engines to index. Your content will then show up within both web search results and images searches – that’s double the opportunity for discoverability. If you own original photography (vs. stock images), you may also want to consider allowing local blogs and websites to use your images free of charge in exchange for a link back to your website. Called inbound links, these are another great way to boost your search ranking.
When you do appear in search results, images can win you the click. Websites with images don’t just perform better in search rankings, they’re also more attention grabbing when they show up on search results pages. This means websites with properly labeled photos win more clicks. To see this effect in practice, go to Google and search for “chocolate chip cookie recipe.” Notice how web pages that have photos display a thumbnail picture next to the link? Now imagine what happens when a user searches for a local business such as yours and encounters just a few results with thumbnail images. Which website do you think they are most likely to click on?
Local businesses in particular benefit from images in search results – accordingly to one study, 60 per cent of consumers said they were more likely to consider or contact a business if their search result listing included an image.
Website images fuel social media. Great images can play a major role when it comes to spreading the word about your local business on social media. Studies have found that including at least one image on pages is associated with more shares on Facebook, while other research has found that social media posts that include images have higher engagement rates than text-only posts. To get the biggest social boost from your website images, make it easy for visitors to share your content by including buttons to instantly post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites.
Start Integrating images to your site. Images present a powerful opportunity to drive visitors to your website – and ultimately to the door of your local business. Yellow Pages experts can help with every step of the process of integrating images into your website strategy, from design to search engine optimization and even original photography.