Ozark Web Works

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When Images Kill

Choose Your Images Well

This aspect should really be a no-brainer, however when looking at many sites and their use of images, you begin to wonder "What are they thinking?".

Before you start plastering images all over your website, you need to ask yourself some questions.

  1. Do I really need an image here?
  2. What purpose will an image serve?
  3. What do I hope to gain with an image?

For a business website, images should serve two basic purposes, illustrative and showcasing.

Illustrative Images

An illustrative image should serve to illustrate an element discussed in the text or body of your site. I realize that this is really more common sense than anything, but sometimes we can just get carried away with things. You might have some favorite images that you just look for an excuse to put on your site. If you are compelled to do this, then make a separate page entitled,"My Favorite Pictures", and be done. Do not force them where they do not belong.

Illustrative images should be placed in close proximity to that which they are to be illustrating. You don't want to give an example of something in paragraph two, then have an image to illustrate it in paragraph three or four. It just confuses and seems rather disjointed.

You also want to choose your illustrations well. Choose something to illustrate that actually needs illustrating. Some things can be explained perfectly in words, however some things can only be made truly clear with an image.

In summary, make sure if you use an image to illustrate something you have said in your text, that it is actually needed and that it serves the purpose intended. Otherwise, it is only an image just for the sake of having an image, which is meaningless, when it comes to your pageranking.

Showcasing Images

This type of image placement is usually for showcasing products. This can be the most critical aspect of any online business site. You are wanting to sell a product and the product image can be the best salesman you can have.

If the images for your products are poorly taken (e.g., bad angles), look amateurish or are not crisp and clear, this will reflect on the product itself and your business. Make sure that you use high quality images from the very beginning. Many people may make their decision to buy based solely on how the product is presented.

Personally, when I shop online, I don't make a decision to buy based solely on the image of the product, but it does influence my thinking. If the image is of poor quality, or does not give me a good representation of the product, I will pass on it. Even though the text description may be very descriptive and give me all the information I need to make my choice, if it is a lousy picture, I will pass.

There really is no hard and fast rule for showcasing your products with images. However, there are some things you'll want to consider.

  1. Does one image do the product justice?
  2. Do I need different photos of a product that comes in a variety of colors and sizes?
  3. Do I need different angled shots of my product?
  4. Should I include someone actually using the product?

These are questions you will need to address and do what is necessary to put your product in the best light, but don't go overboard.

In Summary

  1. When you use an image, make sure it serves a real purpose.
  2. Make sure it is a high quality image.
  3. Make sure it gives a good representation of the product.
  4. Use as many images as needed to accomplish No.3 above, but don't go crazy.
  5. Make sure it is properly sized for its space on your page.

We have not discussed the last item in the list above yet (no. 5), but this is our next subject. Proper image sizing is critical for page loading speed and hence, your pagerank.