Free images & how to use them on your website
Most of the best websites have images. Relevant images used correctly are an essential part of a successful site.
Most people are visual learners. They prefer to look at a picture (or video) than reading some text. Looking at pictures or videos can be a lot more enjoyable than reading a large wall of text. Even for people who like reading images can break up the text into chunks that are more enjoyable to read. On long and detailed pages relevant images can help people scrolling to the section that they are interested to read.
The main types:
- Charts & graphs
These are typically photos of physical objects (people, landscapes etc…) but may also be computer generated pictures of objects.
List of free image sites
It also goes without saying that you can make your own free images using a camera or even your smartphone.
Icons can be used as clickable buttons to convey where the link leads to or to symbolize different product or service types offered by the website. Icons can also help to organize your content and break it up so that your viewer can navigate your site quickly and easily. You can download free icons here:
You may want to consider having a logo for your website. A logo can help with your branding and make your site more recognizable. The benefit of creating and building a brand has many benefits. People are more likely to use a brand that they recognize and trust a logo can help with this.
You can get a professional logo designed here:
Charts and graphs
Charts and graphs are a great way to display data summaries and easily illustrate the main point. But beware, data can be misinterpreted or misrepresented just because there is a trend in a graph does not necessarily mean there is causality.
Graphics can be used to tell a story or convey a concept or idea. Infographics are a great way of conveying complex information in an easy to understand visual way.
There are a number of sites that can help you to make infographics quickly and easily. Some sites allow for free infographics under certain circumstances. See a list of infographic sites here:
Screenshots are great for describing step by step instructions such as how to install or use some software. You can take a screenshot of your own screen by clicking the “Print Screen” button that is usually above the “Home”, or “Backspace” button. Then open your favorite picture editing software (Paint software comes with Microsoft Windows) and paste it in and save it. There it is, a picture of your screen.
What is art? Whatever people say it is. It could be a picture of physical art or it can be computer generated art. Art can help you make an impact!
Adding comics on your website can be a way to use humor to illustrate a point whilst entertaining your audience. You can get comics made here:
Offers are advertisements or call to actions. You can use an image that may be text converted to an image or one of the other image types with or without text that are designed to motivate your reader to click it and perform an action. Using an image for your offer draws people’s attention and increases the chance that they will do what the offer is asking of them. You can make your own custom offer here:
A good picture will draw the user’s attention, help convey your message and can increase your user’s interest. There is a saying that a picture tells 1000 words. Images can help to quickly tell your website visitor what your article is about and helps your reader to visualize what you are discussing. A good picture can also provide impact, build curiosity or even have shock value or create controversy! However, those that are controversial or shocking these should be only used in certain circumstances (news websites can work well with this but business sites selling products or services should use these with caution).
If you are discussing something physical (especially a product) then a picture help people to see what it is much better than just a text description. High-quality photos of a product (in addition to a great text description and reviews) can significantly increase sales, assuming you have a great product that your visitors want.
How to Use Images Effectively in Websites
Images are important to have on a website. However, not just any will do. The visual appeal is important. It is best when it has a purpose. It is tempting to put an image when the page looks empty without one. However, if the one that you choose does not have a purpose it will not add value to your site and visitors will most likely just ignore it.
Certain situations can make an image useful and provide value to the user:
- There are benefits to using this particular image.
- It helps the user understand the point.
- It is of something you are describing.
- It has emotional appeal (the viewer can relate to it).
- The message sends a message.
- It answers questions.
- It illustrates a concept.
Certain images are more persuasive than others. Use these techniques to make your images more persuasive:
- Real people. Pictures of real people are better than stock images of people.
- Human faces. People are hard wired to look at other people’s faces, it is human nature.
- Happy people. People are empathetic to other people. Pictures of happy people make your views happier.
- Sexy people. Sex sells, people like to see attractive people with sexual connotations.
- Food. Pictures of well-presented food attract people.
- Those that demonstrate the use of your product or service in a positive way.
- Pictures pointing to where you want the viewer to look (a photo of a person looking at a text or clickable button).
- Movement (or rotating iimages/slideshow appearing or disappearing images).
- Photographs with your testimonials. This increases their trust and believability.
Optimize for the web
Image files can be large and increase the size of your web page and make your web page slow to load. This is particularly a problem if your viewer is on a mobile device and has a slow web connection.
There is software that you can use to decrease the size of your image files and thus make your website load faster. You can reduce the size of your files before you upload them to your site. You can also use a plugin to compress images whilst you are uploading them or even those that are already on your site.
You can upload images to these sites and they will compress the files to a smaller size:
Worpress image compression plugins
If you have a wordpress based website you can use these plugins to compress the images on your site:
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