6-types-of-visuals-that-make-your-website-more-appealingOver the past decade or so, perhaps you’ve noticed the tremendous spike in the amount of visual content on the web, from uploaded YouTube videos to graphics and photos on websites. There are good reasons for this, especially the fact that faster internet speeds have allowed for more readily consumable visual content … and that consumers are hungrier for visuals.

If you’ve recognized this, you’ve likely also understood that placing more visual content on your website would make it more appealing. This is certainly the case — but only with the right types of visual material.

The Benefits of Visuals

Before we turn to the “best” types of visuals you should feature, take a look at the advantages of visual content, so you have a better foundation for pursuing this tactic:

  • Faster processing. Humans are wired to process visual information quickly because it’s been essential to our survival for millions of years. So it’s easier and faster for us to digest information in an image or video than through text by itself — which is why infographics skyrocketed to popularity so quickly (even though they’ve been around for much longer than the internet).
  • Subjective feelings. Visuals also do a better job at displaying content that incites emotional and even instinctive responses. It’s one thing to describe an apple pie as freshly baked and aromatic, but another to see the steam rising from a golden-brown crust right before your eyes. It’s one thing to describe the experience of white-water rafting as exhilarating, but it’s better if you can see people white-water rafting directly.
  • Sharing and collaborating. Visuals also encourage a greater sharing experience, whether that means showing a video to a friend in the same room or posting it on someone’s social media feed. This makes graphics and video more conducive to social sharing and “going viral.”

Best Types of Visuals to Include

The best types of visuals to include on your site are ones that demonstrate and accentuate the following features best:

  1. Authentic/candid imagery. First, the more “real” imagery you can provide, the better. Anyone can get access to stock photography and free photos of posed models from online sources, but that makes them commonplace, and most of them scream “stock image.” If you depend on too many stock images, your site will come across as templated, insincere, and unoriginal; worse, it makes your site more readily forgettable. Instead, try to include as much candid and authentic imagery as you can.
  2. Images and videos of people in action. Next, try showing off your products and services in the real world. Selling your goods with catchy headlines and descriptions of their benefits can be useful, but it’s no match for actually showing someone actually experiencing them or making use of them. You can even use these videos as a giant background for your entire site, so there’s a constant, but not in-your-face, hint of what people are in for.
  3. Views of your products and services in use. This is especially effective if your products entail a bit of a learning curve, or the practical applications aren’t easy to picture. For example, you could show off your new cooking utensil being used in a variety of different culinary situations, or demonstrate how your software is employed on a daily basis to manage projects or track time better.
  4. Photos of your team and workspace. People like to work with and buy from other people, much more than faceless brands and corporations. Seeing photos of your leadership team, or your workers in action, can have a strong effect on your visitors’ buying decisions. Show off what makes your workplace unique, and provide images of your employees having a good time or working hard on your upcoming product line. It makes your brand feel more personal and real and will win you additional business and loyalty.
  5. Explainer videos. Explainer videos are generally short, informative videos that concisely explain what your brand is and what it sells. You might include a high-level summary of the problem your company is claiming it can address, and how your product or service solves it. You’ll probably find it useful to respond to some of the most common questions and concerns your visitors express. By the end of the video, viewers should be able to walk away with the full if “condensed” version of what your business does.
  6. Drawings and illustrations. Written information is still worthwhile, but drawings and illustrations can take communication to another level. Sometimes, even a simple doodle can instantly make your message more comprehensible. Depending on your skill level and resources, graphic content might include a screenshot, diagram, or stick figures engaged with each other.

These are only some of the types of images and videos you might wish to include. You’ll also need to go through the process of creating, refining, and selecting the right individuals for the job.

It may be in your best interest to hire a professional photographer or videographer, because the quality of your material is just as important as the images you feature on your site. Don’t be afraid to swap out items that aren’t working the way you expected them to; visual content should be an ongoing experiment until you find the selections that work best for your brand.