Pictures paint a thousand words. Good imagery is enough to provoke emotion and make people feel something.
Imagery is fundamental to any website
Without imagery your website can be seen as very static and flat. You want your website to be dynamic, interactive and engaging; but it cannot be achieved without images.
However, you can’t haphazardly place images onto your website and leave it. You need to think about your imagery and decide what images will be most effective for your genre, message, branding, etc. You must spend time determining what will work best, and then spend time finding these images.
There are a few aspects you need to keep in mind when finding imagery for your website.
This goes without saying; your images need to be of high quality. They need to be the highest quality you can possibly get them. If not your website is going to look unprofessional and disorderly.
Low quality images automatically make a website look low quality
Images that are blurry, pixelated, wrongly sized, etc. give the impression that the whole of the website is low quality, as well as the owner of the website being careless about their website. You need to prove to your visitors that your website, along with your images, is of high quality and that a large amount of work went into the making of it.
The quality can often be as a result of file size and dimensions too. Be sure that you know optimum file sizes and the dimensions for all images. Having images that are the correct sizes and dimensions will help them be the highest quality they can be as they’re not being transformed by the website. It will also improve image loading time and add to the quality of your site.
The higher the quality of your website, the better the perception of you will be. People make judgements on the owner of the website through the website itself; so it’s important to make it the best quality you can.
Your target audience can also affect your choice of imagery. Knowing your target audience will help you tailor your website, images included, towards these people.
When you know who your target audience is you can start building up an understanding of them
This understanding will include elements such as interests, behaviour, demographics; until you get into the smaller, more in depth details that allow you to make decisions on imagery. The more in depth details will tell you what your audience enjoy, job types, personality, and so on. You can then use these factors to make a decision on what imagery your audience will be the most attracted to and what they find relevant - to them or to you.
It’s important to have a developed understanding of your target audience as it will allow you to build up an understanding of what attracts them and what they enjoy. You may have to experiment with imagery and determine what works best and what provokes the best response.
You want your website visitors to feel something when they see your imagery.
People like to see representations of real emotions; it shows you put thought into the images and chose them for a reason
For your author’s website, it’s easier than ever to use real imagery. It can be a good idea to perhaps use images of yourself; to add a face to the name. This most definitely shows real emotion and authentic imagery.
If this is not something you’re comfortable with, use imagery that conveys real emotion through other people. Real emotions captured in images is enough make people feel something - most people often feel the same emotion as they’re seeing.
Focussing on real emotions and real imagery shows you really are genuine and authentic. It makes your website a lot more sentimental and sincere.
Reinforce your Voice
By the time you’ve created your website you will have determined your voice and figured out what your message is going to be on your website/social media. If not, think about the voice you used in your book and perhaps utilise the same voice.
Your images need to reinforce your voice and align with your message
They need to match up with the voice you’re conveying. If your images show the opposite to your beliefs and value it’ll simply lead to confusion; people won’t feel you’re as reliable as you’re completely going against what your voice is.
You want people to perceive you in a positive light, and having imagery that contradicts your voice/values will hinder this positive perception. Everything on your website needs to align with the values, beliefs and messages you put across previously.
This is more technical than the other aspects of choosing imagery.
Alt text is the text shown if an image doesn’t load or breaks half way through the process of loading
It also makes your website more accessible and enables people to understand what imagery you’ve used on your website, if they couldn’t previously.
It’s important to optimise your alt text. Remember to describe the image in the best way possible, but with the least words possible. Search engines will look at your alt text, as well as the rest of your website, and use this alt text to rank your images when people search for images with keywords. Your alt text is what allows your images to be read and understood.
Imagery is enough to provoke emotion. It’s enough to change people’s perception of you. The imagery you use on your website is enough to tell the visitors about you and your personality. This is why it’s important to use imagery that’s brand friendly and authentic.
Most of all, your images need to be of good quality
They need to be the correct size and dimensions to ensure they are portrayed the way your website wants them to be portrayed. Making sure they’re the correct dimensions ensures they’re responsive too, which means they’ll be seen the exact same on all devices that your visitors might be using.
Remember to determine what imagery would depict your voice, values, beliefs and work in the best way possible. You want them to be authentic and genuine.