So, what’s with the current trend towards huge, animated images on inbound marketing websites? You know it’s happening – every second site you visit these days is dominated by a massive slider with four or five different images. It’s great if your product or service is particularly visual in nature, but it’s a little harder if you’re in the consulting business or you offer something like IT support. After all, there are really only so many images of servers and clouds that you can use in your website design before it gets old.
Why it Works
Several reasons exist for the popularity of this trend, including:
#1: Corporate Branding Value
The use of a primary image helps to position the brand in a particular light. It’s like a storefront—up close and personal for the visitor to your site. It draws the user in, keeps him (or her) on the page and connects the visual to his perception of your brand. In addition, huge and compelling imagery has a “visceral” ability to engage and inspire users according to Don Norman’s book on Emotional Design. And since evoking an emotion is one of the aspirations of marketing, brands that can achieve this gain tremendous value from it.
#2: Market Positioning
Humans are visual creatures, and the proverbial “picture paints a thousand words” is true enough that it enables a big, dominant image to convey multiple messages in one glance. It’s much harder to grab the viewer’s attention with a textual positioning statement only, compared with impressive imagery. When it comes to telling your target audience who you are and why they should use you, a photo or video makes it simpler.
Image-focused design is clean and uncluttered, and it looks good! This is probably the reason why 50% of companies that have chosen this website design did so! Business owners may not know why it works, but they know it does. If nothing else, it keeps browsers on the site longer than they might otherwise stay, which is always good for traffic.
#4: Uses Multimedia
With Google’s attention to all things SEO and its insistence on a mix of fresh content on indexed sites, anything multimedia on a website is good. Using imagery this way does more than just pay lip service to the concept; it puts it front and centre. Sure, it’s still necessary to follow through by having other types of quality content on the site. However, the sheer size of the images ensures that they’re high-resolution elements, which reduces the risk of poor quality or duplication.
Getting it Right
Optimizing the trend for your own company website takes some effort. You can’t just slap up an image and hope it’s going to do great things for you. To get the right “balance” of elements, you need to:
- Identify all the goals of your page, for both the users and the business (including your branding goals)
- Determine how your chosen website design benefits these goals. Are your images just decorative, or do they support your branding and SEO goals adequately?
- Allocate your page’s “real estate” based on the importance of the goal. For example, a design element that contributes to one of your high priority goals should get more visual emphasis, while elements that support secondary goals should get less.
- Use images that relate to your brand goals and showcase the purpose of your website.
- Select striking images that grab attention. If they aren’t compelling, they aren’t going to work.
- Don’t go overboard on design trends. Often, less is more in website design and unless you’re embracing an element for a specific (and clearly defined) purpose, it might be better to leave it alone.
Creating an effective inbound marketing website isn’t something that happens by accident. It takes a well-defined strategy, clear understanding of your brand and market positioning and an experienced team with the knowledge and expertise to pull it all together.