Web Designer Santa Rosa: 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Website Images
Web designer Santa Rosa: Advice on the 5 most common image mistakes site owners make and how to avoid them.
If you design or manage your own website, chances are you are making one or more of the following 5 mistakes with images on your website. Does it matter? Well, do you want your website to be more effective, either getting found on Google or being more compelling to prospective customers?
Then, you have your answer. It matters—maybe a lot. Web designer Santa Rosa-based Tim Smith offers this quick review of 5 things to keep in mind with website images will help you make your site more readable and/or searchable.
1. No Images or Too Few Images
This is the first mistake people make with images. Ever been to a web page that looks like a “wall of text?” This is what happens when there are no pictures to break up the words. No images, or too few of them, can make a web page look like a chore to read. It’s boring!
Use images to grab readers’ attention and make the page more interesting. When used properly, images can set the tone, support the design and complement the site’s color scheme. They can also be used as icons to help people quickly make reading or action decisions when scanning the page.
2. Improper Sizing or Cropping
OK, I get it, you may not be a graphic designer or care about the finer points of image framing. But at least make sure you use a photo that’s large enough or small enough to do the job. A puny photo at the top of your page is probably not going to cut it. Anchor the page with a photo that’s 500 or 600 pixels wide.
Cropping, which is a pretty easy task in ANY photo management software, will help you cut off unwanted area in an image. It will also help you shift from horizontal to vertical orientation (or vice versa) if needed.
3. Violate Image Copyrights
This one is a real no-no. It’s also got significant consequences, both legal and financial, if you fail to understand and comply. I know a website owner who got an unexpected letter from an attorney demanding thousands in payment for a client whose copyright was violated. She had no choice but to pay.
Most images you find on the Internet are copyrighted, either by the original owner and/or by the website on which the image is displayed. So, NEVER, EVER copy photos from Google images or other websites for use on your own site.
Instead, learn to use royalty-free sites where you pay a small fee (E.G. $1-$10) to download a licensed copy of the image you want. Examples include Adobe Stock, iStock Photo, ShutterStock or others. You can also download photos under “creative commons” public domain standing.
Here’s a great list of 25 curated sites with photos you can copy, modify and publish, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
4. Failure to Compress Images for Loading Speed
With over half of all searches today performed on mobile devices, loading speed has become critically important. Research suggests people will abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load on mobile devices. So, “compressing’ (reducing density of) images before publishing them on your site is important. In general, you should compress them in off-site software before uploading them. The target compression is either 76 or 96 dots per inch, of DPI.
You can also use image compression software on your WordPress site by using WP Smush or a similar plugin. Google now considers loading speed as part of its algorithms that determine where to rank a site in response to search queries. So, sites that load slowly get knocked out of top search results.
If you’re seeking better position for your site on search pages, then you should learn a little about SEO and the role image meta tags play. The image title tells search engines what your image is about, and it can include those ever-important keywords. The “ALT” tag can also include keywords. Nearly all website platforms today offer the ability to customize image tags.
Need help with your website or improving website images? Get in touch with web designer Santa Rosa-based marketing consultant Tim Smith.