Is your website picture perfect?

Make sure your images don't leave your customers out at seaOne of my favourite shopping websites has earned itself this accolade for many reasons.  I can find the information I want without any problems, the website is easy to use, and it works.

I can search for items and place orders effortlessly, secure in the knowledge that not only will my debit card details be held securely, but also that the order will be registered on the system, swiftly processed – and that the shiny, new pieces of jewellery will, before long, drop through my letterbox.

Last week I discovered that that the company that runs the website had opened up a small store in a neighbouring town and that it sells all the products that are featured on the website there.  I visited it as soon as I could.

I browsed the many displays of tantalising items, but it dawned on me that while they looked good in the store display cabinets, they looked fabulous online.  It isn’t that the items online are not a true reflection of those in the shop; it’s just that the online images are of a superb quality, and they do everything that an online shopper wants and expects.

I’ve since cast my eye over the graphics on my own website, and while mine isn’t an e-commerce website offering products for sale, the experience I have of my favourite shopping website has sparked some interesting ideas.

Here are five ideas that are worth considering when sourcing images for your website:


Always use high quality images with fast load times

Avoid grainy, blurred images that take forever to appear; they won’t add anything and could detract from your content.


Use images that add meaning

This is particularly relevant if your web pages contain detailed information or offer a step-by-step/how-to guide.  Showing as well as telling can be a very powerful way to add meaning to your message.


Make sure your images are relevant

Make sure that they fit in with the context of your content – and that they showcase your products in the best possible light.


Add image effects that are useful

For example an enlarge, zoom or rotate feature – or a front and back view of your products will allow your customers to see all the detail they need, to help them when choosing which of your products to buy.


Don’t break copyright laws!

I can’t emphasise this one strongly enough.  Securing the copyright simply means making sure you have permission to use an image that you do not own in a particular way on your website.  This could be permission to use that graphic for free or paying for the right to use it.

Alternatively, you can commission your own photography or do your own drawings or paintings.

Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 27 September 2011.