There’s no way around it, we are visual creatures. That means an image on your WordPress site can communicate a thousand times more effectively in a moment than a paragraph of text. And we’re assuming that the viewer even took the time to read that paragraph.
Why do we love images so much?
Why do humans respond so well to visual cues? It’s because visual stimuli cause our minds to respond differently than when reading. The human brain deciphers images instantly, while language is interpreted in a linear sequence, with this process taking more time from start to finish. Visualization works from a human perspective because we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
Great imagery can work in your favor
When your site has beautiful, high quality imagery that is successfully portraying who you are and what you do, it creates trust and brand loyalty. Your photography is doing a lot of the heavy lifting of describing who you are to your viewers, so you can get away with less text on a homepage. Think of Apple’s website with their large, beautiful product photos and minimal text.
In addition to being a key player in the success of your website, photos play a major role in spreading the word on social media. Studies have found that including at least one image on pages is associated with more shares on Facebook. And it’s reasonable to assume that an individual is more likely to share a quality photo they’re attracted to over a low quality one.
How to get high quality photography
The best option is absolutely to hire a professional. This can definitely feel like a lot to spend up front, but there’s no denying the benefits of having professional images of who you are and what you do. Down the line it can even end up saving money, because less time/ energy/ resources are needed to make up for the communication gap that comes with low quality, generic photos.
While hiring a professional photographer is the ideal, sometimes it’s just not possible. In these instances, stock imagery can be a great second option. While there are some downsides, such as the chance that your competitors could use the same exact imagery, there’s some great imagery out there. There are lots of sites ranging from free to inexpensive to very expensive, such as Pexels, iStock and Gettyimages. The free sites can have a lot of gorgeous photography, but have less ability to find very specific types of imagery.
Whatever imagery you end up going with, always make sure that it’s high resolution and not disproportionately stretched in any way. Don’t just grab low resolution images from a google search or pull them into a photo editing program and force them into specific dimensions. And a good designer can always help you with that!
Here’s a look at a photo that’s low resolution and has been stretched (right) with its original high resolution version (left).
So the next time you’re thinking about imagery for your website, remember that images go directly into long-term memory, while words are processed by our short-term memory. And isn’t that something that’s worth putting energy and resources to?