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Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

It's often said a picture is worth a thousand words, but for a text-based system like the internet, is that really true? How much of a difference do good photos make to the success of a website?

The answer is both a lot, and not a lot. Good images make a huge difference to the way that humans react to your site, in terms of its overall attractiveness and clarity of information. Images also play an important role in how people assimilate information from your website, especially those who are more 'visual' and prefer to see something rather than read about it.

Search engines, on the other hand, are basically simple beasts. They use math to index (read) all the text on your website, but images just pass 'em by. They can't read graphics saved as jpegs either, although they usually can read text docs when they are saved as PDFs.

Making photos work for you

The savvy website owner, of course, uses these differences to their advantage, especially when trying to attracting new customers to their website! Here's how:

Set up your website to be as search-engine friendly as possible both in terms of the words on the page and the 'back end' coding. (All Akira websites are built this way.) This means that if a prospective customer types in a particular phrase into a search engine, and that phrase appears somewhere in your website’s text, the search engines should know about it and put you somewhere in the results.

Now your prospective customer sees your website’s listing in the search engine results, and clicks through to your website. This is the point where design and images come into their own.

Wow, that looks great!

ann-marie powell screenshot

If your website looks attractive in design and has good, clear images with strong visual impact, it's much more likely the customer will like it and stay on your site longer.

It's the same principle as newspapers and news websites. You are far more likely to read/click on a story with a compelling photo than one without. The photos catch your interest, the text engages you in the story.

Johnstone Homes Oakwood kitchen

Pictures make it easier to read text

On a very practical level, images help divide text into blocks that can be read more easily, and offer a visual reference point on longer pages of text. If your text describes the hand-crafted kitchens in your new homes, show them a picture of one to (literally) illustrate your point.

Good images also help sell both products and services better by illustrating particular features or benefits. For example, customers are more likely to book an oven cleaning service or garden designer if they can see a before and after shot. (For more hints on taking good product pics, see http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/how-to-take-product-photos/tips.html.)

Adding images to any Akira website is really easy via your CMS (backend) system; you can add them as and when you like, and change them around too. It's a great way to keep your website looking fresh and interesting, even when the text remains much the same.

And, of course, always use an image when you post a blog or put a post of Facebook. Yes, always. Facebook posts wit photos account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook and engage viewers better - see the graphic below.

more engaging Facebook page image posts

If you'd like to use photos more on your existing website but are not sure how, give us a call - we're always happy to help.

(And yes, we used a shameless trick with the cute cat pic at the top! But you’ve read right down to here, so it worked. Image credit to http://stylonica.com/cat-pictures/ for the copyright free image.)

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