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Why Your Website Needs Good Images

August 31, 2010

Written by Meredith Oliver

A website only has about 5-7 seconds to grab someone’s attention and compel them into action – whether it’s simply to continue reading, clicking on a link, or filling out a form. So, how do you grab that attention?

Words and pictures

The words on your website need to convey WIIFM, or “What’s in it for me.”  Explain what makes your company unique and what benefits your product or service has to offer.

You also need pictures or graphics to make the website visually appealing, so it holds your visitor’s interest.

A successful website keeps these two elements in balance. A website with too many long paragraphs risks boring your prospect. On the other hand, your sales message can get lost in a site with too many pictures or graphic elements.

Product images take the guesswork out of online sales, since a customer can see what a particular item looks like. Graphics are also useful since they can make complex ideas easier to understand.

Images Enhance SEO

There’s another benefit to having images on your website. They can help your site’s search engine ranking, when you optimize them with keywords.

Normally, images aren’t visible to search engines. But they can be made visible with a descriptive “image alt tag.”

Let’s say your website features pictures of homes. When a Google spiderbot visits your website, it looks through the site’s programming language for keywords related to homes. The only way it can “see” an image is if a word or phrase is included in the image alt tag.

Here is an example: <img src=”images/DSC23.jpg” alt=”Colonial Style Home”>

You’ll notice that the image file name doesn’t include any keywords itself, so Google won’t know what the subject of the picture is. However, when the image alt tag is included, specifying the phrase “Colonial Style Home,” Google will take note of that. Now, when someone searches for a “colonial style home,” your image should come up in the search results.

The more descriptive you can be with the alt tag, the better. But don’t stuff it with keywords. Google will just penalize you for that, and your search engine ranking could suffer as a result.

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