When planning and designing a website, one of the many things to consider is what content will be included and ultimately displayed on your website. Not only will the content you plan for your website influence the design but also be the actual corner stone of your new or revamped site.
We all know that beautiful designs catches the eyes and attract visitors. It is however not the design that will keep your visitors on your site. It is the actual content that will keep them coming back for more.
Content for your website is an important factor and should in every business owner’s mind be the leading factor in the ultimate end product.
Web content can consist of many different items such as images, videos, audio, written content and maps. These items can further be broken down as follow:
linked videos (youtube videos)
soundboard interactive sounds
your business address
directions to your business
directions to other relevant addresses.
Although this list is far from exhaustive it is intended to give you a brief overview of what content can and sometimes should be included in your website both as design elements and functional elements.
In this part we will have a look at images.
Various scientific studies has confirmed that humans are visual creatures and that we are attracted to visual stimuli in our daily interactions with the world around us. This being said it should therefore hold true that a website with pleasing visual elements will catch a visitor’s eye and encourage him or her to have a closer look.
We had a brief look above at the different types of images we can use. In this article we will only consider the use of images in general. In our next article we will consider when to use which type of image. We all know the saying: “a picture speaks a thousand words”. This hold true for websites too in particular where you have limited space on your website and need to immediately send out a message. Especially in the modern age of smart phones with smaller screens images can best be used to “speak” to your visitor.
When using images it may be good to keep the following guidelines in the back of your mind:
Images must be relevant to your website’s content. It will be of no use to have an image of penguins when you intend to sell oranges. I know this is an extreme example but any irrelevant or misleading images will drive your visitors away in a jiffy!
Images must be descriptive. As stated above, it must speak a thousand words. It should however not speak a thousand stories. The images should leave no doubt in your visitor’s mind as to what your product or service is.
Images can and should be included not only to depict your product or service, but also in articles or blog posts to support the message you want to get across.
I see many websites containing stock images. Although stock images can be of great value it appears to be plastic or canned in my view. A stock image can be detected a mile away and more often than not it gives your website a forced look which can drive away potential customers.I would suggest high quality real images of your business, staff, products and services taken by a photographer. This gives the visitor a real and honest view of your business. I cannot see how a business can be seen as real if it contains the same images as hundreds of other websites.
Vector art and icons are also a very pleasing way to assist visitors as it can be used to describe something and also as a navigational tool. Here one should also be cautious not to use icons or vector images that are used on every second website.
Infographics is not only the in thing at the moment but can be used with massive success to explain processes, steps or procedures to visitors in an interesting and engaging manner.
There will not always be a need to use all of the image types referred to briefly above. It is a matter of striking a balance between adding value to your website and the overall look of the website. In short images should be used to enhance the visitors’ experience on your website from a practical and aesthetic perspective.
In the next part we will have a look at video and audio content on your website.
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