Are images more important than words ?

We’ve mentioned before about how the attention span of readers is much more brief when browse online. In real terms you have mere seconds to grab the attention of a visitor to your business website and keep them there. So what’s the best way to capture their attention and keep them reading? Even better, what’s the best way to have them explore further and convert to becoming a paying customer? The words you use are important, but images can be even more powerful.

Here’s why…You are likely to be aware that everyone has their own style of learning and absorbing information. Some people like a written description, others like pictures and some like a hands-on approach. In general, by far the most captivating tool is to use good quality images though.

Think of it this way… A clearly written product or service description is important. It will tell the reader what you want them to gain from visiting your page, or give them all the details about the product or service you are promoting. It may take them anything from a few seconds to a minute to read it and at the end you will have given them exactly what you want them to know.

John Lewis Christmas Ad

Pictures ARE campaigns in their own right! An image can convey a whole campaign in moments. It has the power to evoke feelings and emotions – why do you think John Lewis spends millions on their Christmas advertising campaign to try and make us emotional?! Pictures have power. The key is to make sure that the message is accurately portrayed and conveys exactly what you want it to say.

A good image helps your potential buyers to visualise what it is you are offering. They are the headline, tag line and copy, all in one. With a picture you can tell a whole story in far less space than words. This is especially useful if you are paying for advertising space. A picture is a good old shop window display, tempting customers in and helping them to pick you over your competitors.

So what sort of images should you use? It’s important to use original pictures wherever possible. If you sell products made by others, it’s worth the time and effort to create your own images, rather than use any generic content that comes with the stock. This is also true of descriptions. Of course, there are many sources for generic images online, which can be used to illustrategeneral points and to make posts more interesting. When using them, look for licensing that allows you to reuse with modification. That way you can crop and even add to images if you wish, making them different. This means that amongst the many others who will have just used the standard image, your post will be that little bit different.

Make sure any stock photos you use are relevant to your post and business – as well as to your audience. This is very important. Check any text that is visible in the images, make sure it’s in your language, or the language of the audience you are trying to reach. Check the backgrounds and any stickers or posters that may be visible. This is what you would do if you were taking the photograph yourself.

There are both free and paid for stock photographs available. Choose carefully and check the websites first. Often images will be advertised across many platforms and could be in common use. This is why we suggest looking for those you can modify to make them less generic. Of course, you can also hire a professional photographer to help with headshots – very important to make sure you get these right. But, you can also hire a good technical photographer who specialises in product photography and who will help you to project your products and services in a professional and appealing way. It’s not the cheapest option, but can be very effective and gives you a great portfolio of images for future posts.

There is also the option of making your own graphics, infograms and illustrations. A platform such as Canva is very good for this and once you get used to it, it’s possible to produce some really professional looking artwork for your posts.

Of course, your other option to to hire a graphic designer. This isn’t the least expensive option, but you can be guaranteed of a professional looking result that considers everything you want to include in the brief. This goes from the basic branding and product information tothe psychology of colour and font choice. It really depends on where you are are in your business and what budget you have available for a campaign or web update.

If you would like to talk to our experts about how MXMG could help your website and posts to maximise their appeal, please get in touch and we will be more than happy to discuss the options with you.


“Instant everywhere” content delivery to mobiles

Yesterday Google announced a new initiative called the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP).

More content is being accessed on mobile devices than ever before, yet the user experience is often painfully slow. It is also frustrating for content publishers who have to compromise on the look and feel of the mobile version of content, not to mention advertisers trying to generate revenue.

The aim of AMP is to make content for mobile phones, particularly news articles, that loads really fast. David Besbris, vice president of engineering for search at Google, said: “We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant”no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.”

Google’s initiative is clearly intended to catch up with similar moves by other companies. Earlier this year Facebook launched Instant Articles, aimed at loading articles onto mobile phones ‘as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web’. Moments is designed to turn conversations and other content on Twitter into a fast, accessible and coherent narrative, accessible from within Twitter itself.

But these are closed, platform-based solutions that require publishers to sign up with their content. Google has made the AMP Project open-source, so the format will be available to all publishers to implement within their content management systems. WordPress has already announced that it is developing an AMP plugin, and Google has said it hopes that all CMS systems will add support for AMP HTML pages. The initial technical specification has been released on Github, which means that anyone can join in the development fun. Google has announced partnerships with a large group of publishers who will be integrating AMP HTML pages, including Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest, LinkedIn, the BBC and various newspapers. For now you can see a demo of how AMP will work on your mobile.

So what does this mean for your website?

Google insists it won’t penalise websites that aren’t AMP compliant, though earlier this year it started to favour mobile-optimised sites in its search results. Increasing numbers of users will view your website on their mobile or other devices, so it makes sense to offer them the best possible experience.

This is the perfect moment toget in touch with MXMGfor a free assessment of your current website. We will give you no-obligation, expert advice on how to make sure your website and digital strategy is up to date and ready to meet the needs of all your users.