What is the first thing that you see when you land on a website? The answer is their header image and yet it is surprising how many owners of websites kind of forget about the important role that this one image can have in the potential success of their site.
Think of it from this point of view.
If you are walking along a street and are going past shops, what do you see? Well, you will see their shop sign and their shop window.
Now, move this thought across to the Internet. There, the domain name is basically the shop sign and the front page is the shop window. However, as the header image is the first part that you see, then this is the spot that not only has to look good, but it also needs to grab their attention or they will walk on by.
So how do you get the image that is going to be perfect for your header?
Getting Their Attention.
An image has the ability to really compliment the content. An image can be used to really help tell the story or put across a particular feeling about the site, but only if it is done correctly.
Now, this is one spot where size does not always matter as the dimensions will depend on the layout of the rest of the home page and also the look that the designer is trying to achieve. However, there are a number of things that need to be done no matter the size of the image in order to really get their attention when they land on your website.
1. Add some text.
People love to see some text on the header image. It tells them even more information than just the image itself, but you need to make sure that it does relate whether it be a welcome message or just even repeating your name.
2. Be aware of the color of the text.
One thing that is sure to annoy those individuals that land on your website and make them click off is when the color of the text is wrong and nobody can really read it. You would be surprised how often this happens as people can pay little attention to the colors in the image and where the text itself is landing. You might be able to read 80%, but that 20% can be enough to irritate people and they will go no further.
3. Adding a background to text.
Here is another option that is used by some designers and that is using the header image as an overall background for a page with the text then sitting in a block on top of it. This in itself can be a great way of doing things as it creates a sense of uniformity and some will then take it further by adopting this background on each and every page.
Of course, this is going to mean that you need to use an image that is not only relevant to your website and what it is that you do, but also is not going to be overpowering and detract attention from the content. This can be achieved by just reducing the opacity or making it black and white although other options are available.
The Difference it Makes.
When an individual lands on your website, you have very little time to convince them that they have come to the correct place and to then do whatever it is that you want them to do. If the first thing that they see is weak, outdated, pointless or anything else, then you are not making that good first impression.
However, if you can amaze them and provide them with enough information to make them scroll down, then it gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself to them.
Furthermore, a quality header image makes you seem more professional. It makes you appear as if you actually care about your website enough to have spent the time getting this first part correct. When you then tie this in with getting the correct text with the right contrast and color, then you just need to make sure that the rest of your website is up to the standard that they now expect.
What our advice is regarding the header image is to spend some time checking out what other people on their website for inspiration. Look at the sizes, how dominant the image is, what they typically show and how it relates to what they do. All of this will help you to better understand what should be on your own website and reduce the chances of you falling at the first hurdle.
Research and making sure that things are correct are key. Remember, the potential success of your entire website can rest on this.
To many, this may seem like a rather obvious thing to say, but when it comes to your website the key is in visual media and how it is used. Now, we are not talking about plastering images all over to the detriment of the words. However, getting a good balance between the two is going to lead to individuals having a far superior experience when they do indeed venture onto your site.
In actual fact, it has been shown that blogs or websites that include images mixed in with text are able to not only hold the attention of individuals for longer but it actually gets them more clicks. The surprising thing is that they get around 90% more clicks than pages or posts that are purely just text.
But we can take this further.
Visual media has also been shown to have a profound impact when it comes to social media. You will have heard of Pinterest and Instagram and it is no surprise that they are two of the highest traffic websites in existence and they are based entirely on the importance of images.
In actual fact, Instagram has more active users putting more energy into posting things than the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Talking of Facebook, if you include an image in what you are writing on there then you are going to get more interest with you actually having more than double the interaction compared to just a text comment.
If this has got you thinking about your own website and how visual media is displayed, then let’s explain the kind of approach that you should be looking at taking in order to boost your own website.
Using Visual Media Carefully.
We mentioned at the outset that you should not just simply throw as many images as possible over a website because this does work against you. This is something that really should be applied for a business website as things are slightly different with an e-commerce website where the images are there to specifically sell a product.
This is something that should be used quite sparingly as the actual key is in making sure that the image or media that you are going to use actually has a purpose. It is not about picking something and throwing it up there just because you now know that people love visuals. This is counter-productive and who wants that to happen?
An image that is directly linked to what the page or post is about is going to be worth 1,000 words all on its own. An image that has been used in the correct manner can help an individual to better understand the point of what is being said. It can create that ‘Aha!’ moment and help them to go ahead and then make their decision as to what they are going to do next.
Do Not Be Afraid to Go Beyond an Image.
Often, people think that a still image is going to be enough and in the past that was certainly the case. However, with connections and computers being faster and more powerful than ever before, things have changed.
Video usage has been on the increase and we can even talk about linking a YouTube video onto a webpage as one potential method. You may have even noticed that some website designs include a video background and that is certainly one thing that you may wish to use if you are indeed looking at a complete redesign or even a new website being created.
Another option that cannot be overlooked is animation, although that is not going to be something that everybody can use. This is perhaps often best used to explain something and, once again, people have mentioned that they can learn a lot more by looking at animation. However, there is a limit as to how long they are willing to wait and watch so do keep that in mind.
Finally, why not consider incorporating more than one version of media on the one page? There are no set rules that will prevent you from doing this but just remember that it does have to serve a purpose or else it becomes pointless rather quickly.
So, take a look at your website and decide how visual media is working on each page. Does it exist? Is the page boring? What are your competitors doing with their websites? You really need to sit there and be critical of your site before you finally settle on how it is going to look or any changes that need to be made. Of course, you are able to go ahead and get some helpful advice from experts that fully understand the importance of visual media with websites. At the end of the day, your site will benefit from that advice which should always be one of your main aims.
Website Navigation – Get it Wrong and Your Website Will Suffer
Navigation is something that should not be overlooked, but that is often what actually happens especially when an individual seeks to make their own website using rather limited knowledge. However, poor navigation is one of the leading reasons as to why an individual will simply click away from a website that they feel is just like a maze that they cannot work around.
Now, there is actually more to a website and its navigation than just that one menu at the top because it is often the case that this is no longer enough. Instead, people are constantly looking for ways to move around a website especially after they read different points that are of interest. The last thing they want is to then go all the way up to the top because we are actually rather lazy about everything.
Make Sure Your Website is Organized.
Navigation only works well when your website is organized enough for the pages to then go ahead and flow from one to the other. However, you also need to remember that your navigation menu also has to be organized and that is where drop down navigation can work well.
With this, you need to be aware of categories where individuals will know what to expect when they move the cursor over that tab. For example, if you offer various services via your website then it would make sense for the main tab to announce that this is connected to what you have to offer followed by a drop down menu which effectively lists the different services.
At this point, people will then become aware that they can go ahead and click on a sub-tab to then learn more about that particular service. This helps them to navigate to get to the information that they are searching for which would also then make it more likely that they will, once again, do the actions that you are looking for them to do.
It Has to be Concise.
People just do not want to go ahead and spend a lot of time working their way through lists of categories to get themselves started. Being concise is important because if navigation appears to be too complicated then this is something that makes them navigate away.
There is a need to not only find the information but to do so as quickly as possible. It is also the case that as we use tablets and smartphones in order to access the Internet that these devices are just not that good at dealing with complex navigation menus. They do not work too well in offering you the ability to see all of the potential paths you can follow if you have categories followed by sub-categories and then even sub-sub-categories. That is why a search facility is going to prove to be easier for websites where there are a substantial number of pages to be included.
Remembering the Serial Position Effect.
The final point that we would like to mention here is that there is something within the realm of psychology called the serial position effect. Basically, this is where it is known that individuals will pay more attention to the beginning and end rather than anything in the middle. In other words, it would be wasted to put any navigation in the middle of a page or text as it would often be missed.
That is why we tend to put our navigation at the top of the page, but here is one piece of advice for you to incorporate. Why not also consider navigation at the bottom of individual aspects of the website?
By doing so, you provide people with further opportunities to go ahead and get to the information that they are seeking and do not for one second think that this is going to be purely for those websites that are selling products. It works for every single website.
In short, you have to spend more time getting to grips with the navigation around your website and make sure that each and every website visitor is able to get to the pages that they are looking for without having to go on a treasure hunt. Forget about one single menu bar as that is outdated. Instead, check that people can easily find whatever it is that they are looking for no matter where they are on each and every page. Not only will they spend longer on your website but they are more likely to then take the action that you want them to do.