Your site’s images and graphics say a lot about who you are as a company and what your customers might expect from you. Getting your branding and key images right is therefore essential to building trust and getting customers to do what you want them to do; stay and make purchases!
Getting Your Branding Right
Spending solid time thinking about your branding is very important; don’t cut corners here. The way your logo looks, your choice of colour schemes, and use of images on your pages all represent your company to the customer. Are you relevant to your target audience? Do you come across as professional and trustworthy? These visual aspects of your site will be read and ‘understood’ by your customers much more quickly than any professionally written copy, resulting in either the customer staying to learn more, or quickly moving on to another site.
There are a number of sites online that that can pair you with a designer to help you create a professional logo. Be aware that while the outsourcing this task can be cheaper than going with a design agency, you do often get what you pay for; a logo designed for US$10 may well look like it cost you US$10. You may want to go for a mid-priced alternative like www.99designs.hk where you hold a ‘design contest’ by placing your job scope on the site, and allowing thousands of design freelancers to submit designs in order to win your contest and collect the fee you have promised to pay. Going with a reasonable spend should get you between 30-60 different designs, from which you can suggest improvements and changes, and settle on the final one you like the most. Remember: it helps to give the designers some direction to avoid going completely off target, so when writing your brief, think about the style, feel, font ideas, and colour schemes you would like. Before posting the design contest, have a friend read over your brief to make sure it’s easily understandable to someone who hasn’t seen it before.
Once you have developed your logo, you will probably want to add relevant photographs to your site’s pages. Your home page may have a slider (several large landscape images sliding across the top of the screen), and other meaningful images to your customers. You can either choose to take these photos yourself (if you have the skills), find them from a free stock photo site like Unsplash, or buy them from a professional stock photo site like www.shutterstock.com, where you either pay for a monthly subscription or US$49 for five images at a time. Having quality relevant images is essential to building trust with your new customers, so again it’s important not to skimp on costs here. When downloading your images, try to get the largest size available as you never know where you’ll need to use it next, and you can always lower the size and quality using Photoshop Elements or a similar editing program later on.
If you are selling a physical product, having great photography is a must. Even if you don’t own a DSLR camera, you can still take good quality shots with a small point-and-shoot camera or even an iPhone. What is key here is the lighting and putting together a decent setup. If you are shooting small items, a light tent is a great idea as it helps you control the amount of light on and around your product; you can make one with some white cardboard and a white sheet, or purchase one online at Amazon.
Either way, you want to present your products in focus on a plain white background from a couple of different angles. This will give the customer a professional view of the item and inspire confidence to make the purchase.
Things Not To Add
You may recall a few years back when it was common to add animated images and graphics to web pages. Today these are generally considered dated and distracting and will not help you in your mission to attract and convert paying customers, so leave them out!