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It takes 50 milliseconds for a visitor to form first impression about a website.
That first impression is usually based on graphic solutions that are present on your pages.
We are quick to judge and place a tag such as “This sucks” or “It’s amazing!”
This trend will likely to continue as it is much harder to attract attention of the younger generations. Nice graphics are something that can definitely lure a visitor in.
But how efficient are graphic visual solutions? Should we completely rely on them?
I will answer this question and many more regarding website graphics so make sure to stick around!
Finding the right balance
Based on what I’ve just said, you can presume that more visuals is better right?
Nice looking images, photos and screenshots can only attract visitors to your page and “persuade” them to stick around for the time being but they cannot replace actionable elements.
If you’re visiting an e-commerce website, it is much more important to have good navigation than to have nice images.
Have in mind that user experience is affected by numerous factors not just one.
In that regard, images are important but only as one of the vital components.
So, make sure not to overdo it.
Images vs Photos vs Screenshots
Visuals are a must.
But what kind of a visual solution should your website utilize?
There are three main groups at our disposal.
Here’s how you can use them to your advantage:
Photography is commonly used in fashion and tourism industries.
In the end, if you have an opportunity to take a photo, there is no real reason for creating aa graphic image right?
High quality photo can be every bit as engaging as a high quality image.
As you can presume, screenshots are taken when we wish to show something from the Internet or some other source.
They are a perfect solution for step-by-step guides as they can show visitor every step of the way.
Screenshots are commonly used in tech-related industries.
Our article on Google RankBrain with screenshots showing this system in action
When I say images, I refer to graphics made in Adobe Illustrator, Canva, Photoshop or some other program.
Their use is limited and they are best suited for websites where previous two solutions do not work.
For example, I can use it for articles describing the content creation process.
Images are often used in cases when photo doesn’t make sense – in a case when there is too much theory.
They’re a way of enriching your content.
As you can see, each one of these solutions are used according to the current situation.
Although photos and screenshots seem much more actionable and descriptive, there is one big advantage to having graphic images.
They are crucial for website branding which I will mention later on.
Let’s continue with the message you want to send.
Adapt your message
Can these images be used for something more than enriching your content and branding?
Yes, they can!
They are the main ingredient for creating an emotional response in a reader.
When you visit a website, there is a limited number of things you can see on a page.
If your page consist of only textual content, there is no way a person can create an emotional bond with a blog.
You need to read this content before you can get that feeling, right?
This is where images step into play as a way of creating a fast emotional response and connection to a website.
Let’s say you run a sports website in a particular city.
Let’s say Belgrade.
Everybody cheers for local Red Star Belgrade and website gets majority of its traffic prior to a game.
If this doesn’t motivate your to go to the arena, I don’t know what will!
By having a graphic images or photos of local heroes, you can create an emotional response in a visitor and fire them up prior to a big game.
This will result in longer time spent on page as visitors will be more inclined to browse.
Your graphic solution should create an instant emotional response. However, this message should be adapted to visitors.
Images or photos shouldn’t only be nice looking. They need to talk to a person.
Should you redo your whole website?
Most people start with basic things when they create a website.
They start blogging, create social media profiles, try to get a few white hat backlinks, etc.
Graphic visual solutions are lost in the shuffle as site owners usually see them as expensive and initially unnecessary.
However, as your website grows, the need for better graphics will emerge.
You might even get some negative feedback from your loyal visitors.
I learned this the hard way in the early days of niksto.com.
One question emerges:
If you wish to get to that next level is it necessary to revamp your website?
These are the 4 things you need to consider in order to answer this question:
- First you need to consider your loyal visitor base. Why are they coming to your website? Are they more interested in articles and would they like better website design/visual solutions?
- It is possible to succeed with rudimentary website. However, you need to be a real expert in your field or to have large following in order to do this.
- How important are images and photos for your niche? Do you need to convey a visual message?
- Is your website commercial? If so, most of your visitors are probably checking your website in order to shop. Improved visuals may improve your conversion rate.
You can run a successful website without investing too much in visuals.
Nevertheless, you should still add images to your articles in order to improve conversion and user engagement.
Before deciding whether or not to revamp your website, ask yourself this:
Why are you doing this and will this improve your brand?
Graphic visual solutions as a branding tool
Finally, we come to using graphic visual solutions as a branding tool.
Whether we’re talking about a mascot, small logo that’s constantly appearing on pages or some other visual idea, it is certain that these images stick in viewer’s mind.
In fact, it is really hard to position your brand without any visuals.
People may remember your post but what are the odds that they will find your site if there isn’t any images to lead them back to it?
Simply put, it’s easier for our minds to process visual information.
Neil Patel does it right:
It’s really hard to forget a guy in his pyjamas, don’t you think?
In this case I am not talking about individual picture or a photo.
Instead I am referring to underlying theme of the website.
Here are some visual tricks that can help your brand stand out:
Christoph C. Cemper simply loves orange, its his favorite color 🙂
- Use same color schemes (for example, Christoph C. Cemper from LinkResearchTools always dresses in orange. This is his trademark and something everyone remembers him for)
- Create a mascot (it is best if it is relatable or can indicate that you’re working within a particular niche)
- Try to use similar types of images (it needs to be obvious that they are all coming from the same domain)
How much should you spend on visuals?
Here is where most entrepreneurs go wrong.
Given the effect of graphic visual solutions, most people think that this is something really hard to do.
That being said, they are willing to pay much more than required.
In other words, it is really easy to overpay for this service.
We are a global society and this is one of the services which you can get for a low price.
You can check various websites such as Freelancer.com or Upwork and find an expert who can do this really cheap.
It is also possible to create some basic visuals by yourself as long as you get some initial training.
The real secret behind visual effects
Let’s finish off this short guide with this simple yet incredible trick.
With everything I said so far you’re probably thinking that a person doing design and images should be really proficient.
Like in the previous point, this is one of the most common misconceptions.
You can do a lot with some basic graphic tools.
Do you enjoy working on DIY projects?
You don’t have to be an expert in Photoshop or Illustrator in order to do magic with your images.
Just remember this:
Nike has one of the most recognized symbols in the world and it is nothing more than a curved line.
So, no, you don’t have to do miracles with some super fancy software!
Your graphic visual solutions have to revolve around psychology instead of art.
If the technical aspect was most important, artists and graphic designers would be the most famous bloggers.
In fact, if you have background in marketing this can do much more for your blog than being able to use these programs.
So here’s how to make your first steps:
- Check your competition. See what their strong sides and weaknesses. Borrow the things that work for them and try to polish them a bit more
- Create a research group and offer them several solutions
- Ask your followers what they would like to see
- Check color and design schemes that have the best psychological effect on visitors
As mentioned in point 3, your message is very important.
Images and photos are nothing more than a way we convey this message.
Remember, visuals do not have to be perfect to be effective.
SEO and content experts often emphasize the importance of having one image within a post.
However, there is no proof that the second image will do anything for you.
We are attracted to shinny things and vivid colors. But after that initial impulse, we like to turn to real values.
People browse the Internet in search of information. If you’re unable to provide them, your reader will leave website faster than you can say “color blind”.
Don’t get me wrong!
Images are still important. But utilizing them properly is the real trick and this is something a person usually needs to figure out by himself.
What is your experience with graphic visual solutions? How much time and money do you invest in them? Tell me in the comment.