Why Beautiful Images are so Important to Your Website
Beautiful images are important to your site for a number of reasons. Humans by nature are visual creatures. We make snap judgments based on appearances. We determine something’s value by the way it looks.
Judging by appearance happens all the time in social settings, and it’s no different online. Images can make or break your website. They can engage readers or turn them away. They can illustrate your content or send everything into discord.
Beautifully Branded Images Add Cohesion to Your Website
Because humans are visual creatures, never underestimate the importance of beauty. We humans seek beauty in everything we do.
Beauty brings us a sense of wholeness and completion. Beauty adds to our understanding and desire for transcendence—our attempt to escape the mundane.
When you provide your readers with beautiful images, you are providing a whole experience—the shape, and the substance. The image and the content combine to create one cohesive experience.
Images tell stories. Whether you have a cooking website, a crafting website, a dance studio website, a bath and body shop, or you sell handcrafted candles—images are going to play an important role in telling the story of your business. What stories do your pictures tell?
Don’t underestimate the importance of beauty.
Beautiful imagery is not limited to photographs, and pictures aren’t the only way to convey a message. The use of shape and color is paramount to any design. In fact, impactful design starts with shape and color before you even think about adding images.
The following example from Elle & Company demonstrates that photos are not the only way to convey important brand messages to your audience. Well designed graphics using your brand’s style and colors also are visually pleasing and delightful to readers.
Your brand colors have a decided effect on your brand’s perceived tone and value. Soft pastels and rounded shapes are perceived as childlike and feminine. Bold colors and hard angles are seen as more energetic and masculine.
The homepage of Olyvia.co features a pleasant combination of bold color, strong shapes, and complementing photography. The navy blue gives her website a sense of authority while the pop magenta provides a feminine touch that would appeal to women readers.
Great images are simply nicer to look at and create a more pleasing experience for your readers and customers. People are drawn to attractive images.
We also like images that are disturbing as they stimulate our darker emotions and fears, and some people find that pleasurable as well.
People are drawn to attractive images.
Either way, you want to use images on your site that people like that help them relax, that doesn’t distract them from your overall message, and if you’re selling something, entice them to make a purchase.
Beautifully branded images enhance your brand’s message
Beautifully branded images make your site and content more memorable.
One example I can think of is Being Boss, a podcast for women entrepreneurs. I love the use of the color gradient in their website images.
I don’t really see gradients used all that much on websites, so this design technique is refreshing and interesting to see. The gradients make me remember the Being Boss website and its content because the design choice is uncommon. Not many websites make a good use of gradients in their images.
Being Boss really stands out to me for that reason. Along with the fact that their podcast is an awesome resource for any creative entrepreneur.
If a visitor likes what they see they are more likely to share with others.
Not only are humans visual creatures, we’re also social. We like to connect and share with others. When we’re wowed, captivated, or excited about something we’ve seen or read, we like to share it with others.
Beautiful images encourage your readers to share your message with others. That is the power of social media marketing. Readers who share your quality content increase your image as a leader and influencer in your field.
Make your readers fans of your work and they will share the love of your product or service with others, free of charge!
Beautiful images will keep readers glued to your site longer. The longer visitors are on your site, the more likely they are to consume and share your content, and eventually, opt into or buy or one of your offerings. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
Poor images make your site look disorganized and can turn away visitors
Nothing is worse than a jumbled, disorganized website. With the advent of content management systems like WordPress, Squarespace, and others, it’s not as common to see websites that are “all ‘cross creation,” but it still happens every so often.
Mix-matched images and graphics create confusion and discord. In the example below, there is so much going on visually, that the eye doesn’t know where to look. Although I think the chaotic approach to this website’s design was intentional, it’s best practice to arrange images in a manner that bring some sense of order to your audience.
Poorly chosen images might turn visitors away.
There is so much going on in the below example, where to begin? Unlike the previous example, I don’t think the poor design is intentional. The designer is someone who lacks basic design knowledge.
Poor images create dissonance from the message you want to promote.
Sometimes, no image is better than a bad image. Craigslist is designed like the old classified section in your newspaper. Being image-free helps readers find what the information they need without the extraneous pictures. The effect is utilitarian and gets straight to the point. The design is not beautiful, but it gets the job done.
Importance of resolution
Most internet savvy users have sophisticated expectations these days of a what a website should look like. If your site displays fuzzy pictures, they will assume you not a professional.
Fuzzy, unfocused pictures look tacky and “homemade.” They scream amateur. If you produce your own photography, it’s imperative that you learn how to take the best pictures you can. If you need to upgrade your equipment, do it.
Clear pictures send a clear message.
This particularly rings true for people who have a cooking/recipe, craft, or DIY and home decor blogs. The pictures should look as crisp and professional as possible. The quality of the picture should not detract from the message or negatively distract your readers.
Crisp, sharp photo resolution conveys confidence and professionalism. So what should the resolution be for your photographs?
- The files should have high resolution but be small in size.
- Image sizes should be well below 1MB, and less than 500KB is even better.
- Ideally, I would aim for 100-300KB file size if possible, at 72ppi.
- However the dimensions should be high, 720px to 1200px.
These guidelines will keep your images looking nice and clear and will keep page load times at a minimum.
Clear pictures send a clear message.
Image Resources for Your Website
The following is a brief listing of websites that host free or paid images for your website or marketing materials.
Free Image Resources
Paid Image Resources