We have all heard the line “A picture is worth 1000 words”, and I would absolutely agree with that statement. In today’s age of “information overload” the images that you have on your website may mean the difference between someone staying or leaving.
Do your images tell viewers what you do?
In the case of our electrical contractor, he hired someone to develop his website and gave them autonomy to create the website however they wanted. He did this because he knew that he needed to have an online presence, but he was not aware of how a poorly designed website can hurt his business.
Our contractor was used to sourcing jobs the old-fashioned way; using networking and word of mouth. In his mind, his website was to stay competitive with the cool kids. He did not realize how important the website was until his incoming calls slowed down.
The first thing that we noticed about his website was that the main image on the homepage was of tall glass skyscrapers. It looked like downtown Vancouver, or Calgary, and not Victoria where his client base is. Secondly, no where on the homepage were any images of anything related to electrical contracting. To someone visiting the website for the first time, this can be extremely confusing. It makes the viewer have to stop and think about what kind of business this is and are they in the right place. When this happens, people move on to the next website on their Google search and our electrical contractor has lost a potential client without even having the opportunity to speak with them.
Figure One – We reworked the contractor’s Residential services page to that it was extremely visually easy to take in. People viewing his new site on a mobile device will quickly identify with the service that they are looking for with the image before they read what the services are.
Figure Two – We did a very similar thing on the contractor’s Commercial Service page. We don’t want viewers to pause and think. The viewer will know if they want Commercial Services or Residential Services. That is click one. Click number two will be finding the service that they want and click number three will be to either get more info or request a quote.
I had a similar issue with a client in Calgary who is running for nomination with the Conservative Party in Calgary Center. He used a website builder to create a one-page website for himself and then realized that he needed my help to build out the rest of the website. The first thing that I noticed was that he used a picture of the parliament buildings in Ottawa for his main image.
While the image makes one think of politics, it does not represent Calgary, or the riding that he is seeking nomination in. Again, a new viewer to the website has to pause and wonder if they are in the right place. This is a huge mistake on the web. We get hit with so many messages a day that when we design a website for a company we do not want the viewer of the website to pause and think. We want them to do one of three things:
1. Click – We want the user to know that they are in the right place and click on a sub-page to search for products and services.
2. Call or Contact Us – When the user is in the right place, we want to make it extremely easy for them to call or contact us to get a quote or ask a question.
3. Give us Money – When the user finds what they want in 3 clicks or less, we want them to order products, or pay for services.
We know for a fact that good images that are properly labeled win more clicks in searches. Why? As a species we are responsive to images. It is hardwired into our DNA from prehistoric times when we were hunters and gatherers. Attractive objects attract attention. It’s that simple. In this case what we are trying to do is get the brain of the viewer of the site to make a mental check mark in the box that they are in the right place to find what they want.
Example – If I want to order a pizza and I type “Pizza Delivery in Victoria, BC, I am going to get a list of returns for websites that sell pizzas. When I start clicking on the links my mind is already thinking about the pizza that I want to order. When I see the image of a pizza that is attractive to me, my mind knows that I am in the right place and will push me to see more images of awesome pizzas from the company that I selected.
Humanizing a Business
The other thing that we try to do with images on a website is to humanize a business. People want to deal with people. If you have a website that looks very sterile and not friendly you will lose business; however, if you have a website that shows people doing electrical work then in my mind I have humanized the company because I can relate to the people in the picture.
If I look at an electrical contractor’s website I am expecting to see people installing or fixing something. I am expecting to see images of service vans, and all things electrical. I know that I am in the right place, and I am not wasting my time. It also helps if I can see a map, or that the business is locally owned.
These are just a few of the tips that we use when designing websites for clients. The biggest thing to remember is that thanks to the internet, people want instant gratification if they come to a website that makes them question if they are in the right place- they are gone, and so is your opportunity to earn their business.