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Why include images on the web?

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We provide a range of client-only FAQs to help you get the best from your website, and we've just updated our FAQ to help customers include photos and images on their web pages. But in case you were wondering, why bother with images on your website in the first place? Let’s look at the bigger picture…

articles with images get more views on the web4I frequently find the old marketing adage AIDA very useful, and it’s particularly pertinent when thinking about using images on the web and social media.

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest or Inform, Desire and Action.

This is one of the few acronyms I can remember, and I find it useful to sometimes use as a framework – whether I’m creating website content, advertising, tweets, or writing for print.

Not only can images grab attention, they can inform about products and services, and, so theory goes, promote desire to encourage action – although I’d say you usually need some well-chosen words to help you along the way.

One figure I’ve seen claims articles with images get 94%* more total views, while on Facebook and Twitter, posts with photos are the most engaging by a long chalk. While it’s unclear where the 94% figure comes from, my own experience is that articles and social media posts with images get lots more attention.

‘The good news is it’s free to see what other people are up to on the web...’

And while I always argue that text is very useful on the web, especially for those looking for detailed answers (and of course to help Google get people to your site in the first place), readers do tend to scan web content, especially on mobile devices, so using images is a great way to draw the eye, break up text and hold attention.

newspapers-1412940 300 pixabayIf you’re in any doubt, take a look at how most newspapers deal with layout on their websites: they’ll tend to include a photograph with every story, both on the front page along with a powerful headline and lead sentence, and alongside the article itself.

In fact my local paper in Southampton seems, for better or worse, to be gradually changing the ratio of content on its front page in favour of more, larger images, and less and less text.

Testing the effect of changes

Of course large companies aren’t guessing at this stuff. They will be investing time and money to test the effect of small changes on page views, clicks, signups and conversions. The good news is it’s free to get an idea of what other people are up to on the web, and then decide if it’s appropriate to follow their lead. And if you’re using analytics yourself, you can also do your own testing.

analytics-1757867 300 pixabayFor bonus points share on social

Once you’ve taken or found the image that’s just right, as a bonus you can adapt it for use on social media, to drive traffic to your web page. And if you’re lucky, people may even share it to their own social steams, giving you an even wider audience.

If you’re a Chameleon customer and want the tutorial on how to upload images to your site, make sure you’re logged in, and then check our client-only FAQs.

*source: jeffbullas.com, although I couldn't identify where the figure came from