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How to select images that increase engagement

Jag Chohan
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How do you use images for your website to capture the attention of your prospects and customers, increasing your traffic at the same time?

By using images properly, you can increase traffic to your website and boost sales. In some cases, an image is as valuable as the whole body of text. And it's not just about aesthetics - there are specific types of images that can drastically improve the way people interact with your site. As a result, you get more visitors and potential customers quickly digest the information you present.

The right image can make your content more engaging and interesting, so that readers will be drawn to the page even when they are not actively looking for what you offer. That's exactly why an effective image selection strategy is one of the key components in online marketing today.

Today we're going to talk about images and two types of them that are most effective in terms of capturing the attention of your target audience and driving additional traffic to your website.

An Image Above the Fold

This is what's commonly referred to as a 'hero image' or a banner ad, but it's not just for advertising. A simple body of text and a properly positioned image above the fold can work wonders for your audience.

The term originates from hardcopy magazines, which are printed on large sheets of paper. Folded four times, that sheet gives you eight pages - or four 'folds' of paper. As such, the section of a magazine right before this fold or 'above the fold' is extremely valuable real estate.

So what exactly do we mean here? It's pretty simple - you'll want to make sure that any images on your site, no matter where they fall on a page, are visible without scrolling down. That usually means an image at least 500x500 pixels in size (600x600 works even better).

Having a banner image above the fold is one of the best ways to increase engagement and traffic on your website. And it's much more inexpensive than buying advertising space online or offline, as you can use your own content to get it done. We'll talk about that in the next section.

Using Your Own Content

Let's say you are writing a blog post and you want to use an image that supports your content. You can simply go to Google Images, enter your keyword and scroll down until you see pictures that really characterize what you're going for.

But where do you get those images?

Here's a combination of two great pieces of advice from social media marketing veterans, Dave Gerhardt and Mark Traphagen.

First, they suggest you create your own images related to the topic you're writing about. You can do that using sites like Canva or Photofunia , where there are plenty of templates with clip art and text areas for you to add your own message. Just select the template appropriate to the kind of image you need and play around with it until you get something that looks natural.

Then, they recommend checking out sites like Flickr or Stock Photo Secrets for free resources. These tend to be photos from professional photographers who are willing to give your blog some exposure in exchange for a link back to their work.

This is how you get some of the best and most engaging images to help tell your story and build trust with potential customers (and if you add the text accordingly, it might even rank higher on Google Images).

These two ideas are tried and tested. They're not only cheap, but they also generate much more engagement on your site. It might take a bit of work and experimentation to get it right, but the result is definitely worth it.

Once you have the image up on your site, there are three things you need to do to make sure that it's properly optimised for search engines and social media platforms:

Add descriptive alt text to the image, which will appear if you hover over it with your mouse. That's a great way to add some more keywords and improve traffic from search engines.

Add meta tags to the page. These are snippets of information that describe what's on that particular page, so they're perfect for including some additional keyword-rich text. Especially if your website is using a lot of images, meta tags help search engines to associate each image with the page it's trying to rank. And we all know how important engagement is for ranking in Google these days! Add social media sharing buttons that link back to your site on platforms like Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest .

These are perfect for increasing social engagement and getting your image in front of more eyes.

When you're done with these three steps, people who click on the image will first see alt tags, then meta text and finally a button to share the picture on whichever platform they prefer.

And, of course, you should make sure to add these three elements to every image on your website. It's always a good idea to optimise your page for every search engine, social network and traffic source you can think of.

Put Your Images in Your Content

Finally, let's talk about how you can use images to tell the story. Here's a super simple formula:

headline + description + image = engaging content.

Let's say you are writing a blog post on your website; just add an image where it makes sense and start the text with "Here is a picture that tells our story better than words ever could."

Whether it is something you like or don't like, there is going to be some kind of reaction from readers when they see an image. They are much more likely to read through and pay attention if you give them something visual to look at as well as read. This means reading comprehension goes up dramatically because they are absorbing what you're saying through both modes of communication.

If you don't have a single image on your web page, people will skim right over it. Even if they are interested in the post and make it to the end of the text, they won't remember what you said because there was nothing in that entire web page for them to refer back to. If you include an image, especially one that is relevant — or funny, interesting or cute — readers are much more likely to engage with it. They'll want to read about whatever caught their attention when they saw the picture: either what's going on in the photo itself or why did he/she post this specific thing?

People love pictures, so use those images any way you can think of. Put them on your blog, use them to illustrate your case studies, or build a gallery of your products and services so that potential clients can see what they look like and know how well it will work for them.

Using Images to Enhance UX

It's easy to forget about the design element when you're working on adding content to your website. In reality, though, creation of graphics can be just as important as other elements in crafting a great user experience.

There are several different approaches you can take with images.

Firstly , you need to include the right kind of images within various sections of your site: depending on whether you want people to learn more about your company/person/group/brand; register for an account; take action on a specific page (like clicking through to an external link); download something.

If the majority of your audience are men, you want to include an image that will draw their attention and pique their interest. This is why you'll find many graphic designers purposefully put provocative images on portfolio websites—it's about getting people to click through in order to get more business! I'm not trying to be sexist here — it just works.

Secondly, think beyond the image itself and consider what text would make sense next to the picture. If there is no obvious way for you to tell more about a particular photo or design element, then leave it off altogether. Like so much content on your website, this should serve a purpose that ties in with the overall message.

Third, don't make your images too big, especially if they are on a home page or landing page. If you have to scroll around a huge picture, people will get distracted and be less likely to read the text beneath it. In fact, readers who land on photos that take up most of the screen are going to leave without learning anything at all! (Unless you are using some kind of "exit-intent" technology.)

Finally, try something new with graphics and see what happens. Test out different images and see if your audience responds well — as in likes/comments/shares — then get started creating more content like so for all of your future campaigns! You'll be surprised how images can really boost engagement with your content.

How to choose the best images for social media

Images are important on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest because they break up text within a feed and serve as an easy way to quickly communicate a concept. Most of the time, it's hard to get people's attention unless you have a photo in your update; that's why visual content is so integral to success on these networks.

Let me explain it this way: If all you add to your company profile are words (or links) there will be nothing interesting for someone scrolling through hundreds of updates — but if you add a striking image (and even better one with interesting copy next to it), people will stop scrolling past yours!

Conclusion and Final Points

The truth is that people are going to react differently to your images, depending on the platform you're using and what you're trying to get across. Ultimately it's important for everyone who works in a marketing or design capacity to find a happy medium when it comes to creative elements like graphics. Similarly, everyone has different cultural backgrounds; take some time to understand how things work across the various channels (Facebook vs Instagram) and you'll be able to more easily connect with your audience.

Do you have any tips for creating good images?

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