How to Pick the Right Images for Your Site Featured.jpg

Common Website Imagery Mistakes

Choosing the right images for your website is of the utmost importance. The images you choose — and how they are saved and uploaded to your website — can have a huge effect on the way your website looks and feels, as well as how it performs.

When your average business owner is building their own website, they’re thinking of one thing and one thing only when it comes to the images — how they look.

Don’t get me wrong, how the images look on your website isn’t a small matter by any means. It’s a huge deal. However, as we’ve established, images are about more than just how your website looks.

If you’re not careful and only focused on how images look, it’s all too easy to end up making mistakes that can damage the user experience and the functionality of your website.

5 common website imagery mistakes

Mistake #1. Choosing the wrong file type

After you’ve created your image, you’ll need to choose a file type to save it as. The most common file types for websites are JPEG, GIF, PNG and TIFF, and a lot of business owners don’t realize that the file type they choose can actually make a big difference.

There are pros and cons to each file type. For example, TIFFs are the king of quality and can show magnificent detail; however, all of that quality comes at the expense of size. TIFFs are uncompressed and can really slow down your website. On the other hand, JPEGs are much, much smaller, but some data can be lost in compression — though the loss is not typically noticeable.

Each image file type has its place, and it’s important to know when to use them for your website. After all, you don’t want to use a 110 KB PNG when you could be using a practically identical 15 KB JPEG.

Mistake #2. Keeping a gibberish file name

When you upload a photo onto your computer straight from your phone or digital camera, the automatic file name that it will save under might be something like DSCN00047.jpg or picture38.jpg.

Most people don’t give a second thought to what this file name is, nor do they see the point in taking the time to change it. But, believe it or not, it’s actually something that search engines read and pay attention to.

Instead of leaving a nonsensical, gibberish file name that has no descriptive value, update the file name with something that tells Google and other search engines what the image is. Better yet, include a relevant keyword in your file name!

Choosing a file name, like bernese-mountain-dog-puppy.jpg or striped-yellow-umbrella.jpg, will help to add a little SEO value to each image.

Mistake #3. Failing to resize and compress images

Any time you add a new image to your website, it’s critical that you take the time to resize and compress it first. If you fail to do this, the image will be a lot more likely to slow down your website.

The slower your website is, the less likely anyone will be to actually interact with it. Internet users have a shorter attention span than a goldfish; don’t allow a large, uncompressed image to slow down your website.

The ideal size for each image on your website depends on its purpose and its location. If the website builder template you choose is image-dominant, you want the image you choose to be high quality.

In cases like these, it’s OK that your image is larger, as the quality is the most important factor. On the other hand, images on inner pages should be much smaller to avoid slowing down your website.

The other aspect of resizing images is compressing them. This helps to reduce the file size of images without noticeably damaging the quality of the image.

Mistake #4. Not updating the alternative text

The alternative text of an image is what tells people who have visual impairments what an image is, which makes it an important aspect of ensuring that your website is accessible to everyone.

The alternative text is also what a visitor to your website sees if they have a slow internet connection and an image on your website fails to load. When you optimize the alternative text for your images, you can ensure that everyone has access.

Yet another reason why optimizing the alternative text of your images is important is for search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines use alternative text to rank images in image searches.

Furthermore, the alt text field is just one more area of your website where you can include a keyword, and you should take advantage of it.

When it comes to optimizing alternative text, there are a couple of rules you should keep in mind.

The first is that you should never optimize the alternative text for images that are purely decorative — that is, images that don’t add to the context of your website.

The second is that you should only use keywords when you can do so naturally, and as with all SEO, never overstuff your alternative text with keywords.

Mistake #5. A lack of image consistency

Your typical website will have a variety of different images on it, as it should. When there’s a variety of images of your website, it helps to keep things interesting. However, that doesn’t mean that there should be any consistency when it comes to your website imagery.

The kind of images you choose for your website affects the overall branding message you’re sending, and that means that there needs to be some level of consistency in the images you choose for your website.

That’s not to say that they should all be of the same subject, but using consistent themes, compositions, and lighting will help to keep a consistent feel across the images on your website.

Images are a must for every website, but it’s important to get them right. I hope that this blog will help you avoid these common website imagery mistakes.

If you have questions about website imagery, or you’d like help building your website, learn more about our design and marketing services online today.

Originally published on 2/28/20