The days are long gone when you could simply copy and paste paragraphs from your brochure onto a web page. Once you’ve written your text, you need to draw your target client’s attention to it with carefully selected media. These may include photographs, illustrations, icons, videos, and other types of content.
Photos are one of the most popular visual elements to use on a website. Some of the most common include:
- Formal headshots or portraits of yourself and other team members
- Group shot of your team
- Photos of you and your team on the job
- Product photos
- Before and after photos
Most photos will be standalone images, but there are times when a gallery or slideshow will be more effective.
If you can’t afford to invest in professional photography, avoid using photos that are out of focus or too dark to clearly see the subject matter. If you’re cropping your headshot out of a larger picture, be careful you don’t cut off too much (a head with no neck is rather unsettling) or too little (nobody needs to see your husband’s left shoulder).
In some cases, you may prefer to use stock photos, and that’s fine, but I suggest you don’t use photos of people anywhere that implies they are pictures of yourself, your team, or your clients. I was surprised to meet a woman and discover that rather than being tall with long dark hair like the photo on her website, she was short and had curly blonde hair. It didn’t matter to me what she looked like, but it was very confusing.
I’ve also seen a website that used what were clearly stock photos next to the client testimonials, which made me doubt the credibility of the business itself.
For my favorite sources of stock photos, read Where to get photos for your blog.
The type of clipart that was popular in the 1990s will probably not work for your business website, unless your focus is on children. However, there may be times when graphics (like the desk in the title image for this post) may be more suitable than a photograph.
Free vector files are available from Freepik and other websites, but you need Adobe Illustrator or a similar program to edit them. Although the stock illustrations offered by DepositPhotos are also vector files, they’re available in JPG format as well, so you can modify them with the same program you use for editing your photos.
Most modern websites display icons which link to the company’s social media pages. Rather than using the standard buttons, consider something unique for your business. For example, author Kathy Stinson’s social media icons are shaped like books.
Choose from the thousands of free and paid icon sets available from Iconfinder and other websites, or get your own custom design.
Icons may also be used to draw attention to text or links in your menu bar or elsewhere on your site. Read How and Why Icons Improve Your Web Design to learn more about this topic.
Video is becoming more and more important as a marketing strategy. If you’re skeptical, check out Hubspot’s 25 Video Marketing Statistics for 2015.
Here are just a few of the types of videos you might include on your website:
- Business overview / introduction
- Client testimonials
- Product demonstrations
- Samples of workshops or presentations
For more examples, see 51 ways to use web video to help your business grow.
If you’re camera-shy or want something a little different for your website, animated video might be a good choice for you.
Photos, illustrations, icons and video are just a few of the elements you can use to enhance your website. Other options include streaming media, audio, and SlideShare presentations, and I have no doubt we’ll see some exciting new developments over the next few years.
Which ones do you think you’ll use on your website? Are there any you would never use?
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