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Using images in your website design

Written by Brett Sidaway, September 27, 2012
 | Using images in your website design

Using images in your website design

Images are important when you are planning your website design for plenty of reasons, but they can also have a negative effect and this article attempts to help you maximise the effectiveness of your design.

One area that is sometimes overlooked is the actual images used. Today, stock photolibrary images are cheap and perhaps too cheap as they mean few companies invest in their own photography. This is a shame because good bespoke photography can add to your company’s brand, giving it some personality and uniqueness. Strong photography can be used in the website design, social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest in particular) and printed literature too. The rise of digital photography has reduced the cost of commissioning a photographer significantly so it might be worth exploring before buying from a photolibrary. Video is also good for web visitors and valued by Google so give consideration to using video where possible and placing this on video network sites like YouTube. Once you have your imagery, here are some good tips to maximising their SEO effectiveness:

Use images selectively

A website that loads slowly will be receive a slight SEO penalisation but more importantly will spoil the user experience and they will be unlikely to return or recommend, so always consider how many images you use and the size/resolution of images carefully.

Always include “Alt Text” information

A website design company can help with any technical aspects of this article, but essentially writing effective alt text ensures your web pages are accessible and gives you more places to add your website keyword text. Use Alt text to describe the picture instead of incorporating broader concepts or keywords. Good Alt text specifically describes the image. If your image is of your product, specifically describe the product and in terms that users are likely to search for. For example, your customers are more likely to search for ‘red/white/blue’ rather than ‘taup/teale/aubergine’ even if these are the colours you use to describe products. Alt text helps SEO because it provides words that are easier for search engines to assess than images. Accurately describing your images makes it easier for search engines to consider those images in determining your SEO.

Add title tags to images

Title tags are what show when you hover over an image and can add a further level of description to your image. You can use them to direct traffic to another website or another page of your website and they help search engines classify your images.

Give your image file names some thought

In a similar way to Alt tags, image file names help search engines to understand what the image is describing. This is one of the pieces of information that search engines use when placing image content in their search results, so consider your keywords and construct file names carefully.

Images vs. Words

Although ‘pictures paint a thousand words’ a website design will need written content which will include the keywords you are targetting at the right density and in the right places. Don’t be tempted to replace all written content with video or photography; use different types of content to support and re-enforce each other. Remember to watch this space as we will be releasing a range of online marketing blogs over the coming months. Our readers can also find our Opace Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/OpaceWebDesign. For all the latest goings on, you can keep up-to-date with Opace on Twitter https://twitter.com/OpaceWeb. And we also now have an Opace YouTube page live at http://www.youtube.com/user/opacewebdesign.

Image credit – Mariano Real Pérez

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