The Importance of Images and Graphics in 2015

importance-of-images-on-your-websiteWe all know the importance of fresh content on your website. Sharing valuable information on your site in the form of blog posts increases credibility, increases the size of your website (more high quality pages = better ranking with Google), and increases visitor site duration. If you have been reading my posts and watching my webinars, you already know all this.

Valuable content is no doubt important. Its what drives potential clients to gain your trust and learn your voice. But, now more than ever, images are an incredibly valuable addition to your content — and overall marketing strategy.

Before we get started, some fun facts:

  • According to this article, blog posts with relevant images get 94% more views. That statistic alone is enough to stop reading and get started on adding images to your site. Don’t stop reading though – we have more valuable information on images to come.
  • The human brain processes images much quicker than text. In fact, according to this article, 90% of information transmitted to your brain is visual! Whether you use counseling images (or therapy images, if you prefer that term) or other types of images, such as nature photos, you’ll see in this article that you should be using something.

Now, lets dig into the knitty gritty details about images.

5 Reasons Why Images are SO Important in 2015

  1. Images Get More Likes and Shares on Social Media
    Think about the last article you read, liked, or shared on social media. Did the article in your Facebook news-feed have an image or standalone text? If I had to guess, it had an image.According to a study by Ipsos, 71% of global internet users ‘share’ on social media sites. 43% of those shares are of images — thats more than half of the total social media shares. By including images in the blog posts you share on social media, the likelihood of your posts being shared increases exponentially.
  2. Images Increase the Likelihood of Reader Engagement
    Once you get someone onto your website, you want them to stay. By including images (or graphics) in your blog posts, readers are much more likely to stay on your website and read more content. Providing valuable content alongside a relevant image will increase your credibility and build trust with your reader. A post with psychotherapy images can pull someone in who is pondering your services.
  3. Images Can Communicate Your Message Beyond What Words Can Express
    Images convey emotion and allow a reader to potentially connect with the article on another level. This is great for your therapy blog. In addition to connecting with your reader through your content, you can connect with your reader through counseling images that convey your message beyond what the text communicates. Imagine an image of a therapist and client really connecting, visually, and what that tells your potential client about what they can expect in working with you.
  4. Images Make Content Memorable
    By simply adding a variety of counseling images to your already valuable content, your content instantly becomes more memorable (and interesting). Imagine images that convey empathy, connection, and even fun. A therapist and client laughing together can convey that the process won’t be as scary. This can leave an indelible impression on potential clients. With such an image making your content more memorable, you have the potential to drive more traffic to your site. Its a win-win for everyone!
  5. Images Grab Your Attention
    Whether someone is scrolling through social media, or clicking through your website, seeing a therapy image will grab a reader’s attention (and increase the click through rate), period. In addition to your catchy title, include an image to draw people in and keep them interested.

Choose The Right Images

When considering images for your content, don’t just include therapy images because you read that you were supposed to. Find images that are relevant to your content — images that add value. Incorporating the right images can keep readers on your website longer, and create a better overall experience for the reader. These can be counseling images if you want to convey the feel of working with you, but they can also be images that depict certain emotional states (depression, anxiety, etc.), images of couples in distress or happy, or images of nature to elicit calm on the part of your potential clients.

There are several free stock photo website (see below) where you can find photos that pair well with your content, and the message you are conveying.

Free Image Sites

While money signs may be blurring your vision after reading about the importance of incorporating images and graphics on your site (Istock photos alone start at $10 a pop!), don’t fret! We have compiled a great list of free (yes, you heard me right…FREE!) sites to download photos.

One thing to note when looking through these sites — be sure to check the image licensing rules. Many sites have Creative Commons Licensing, which allow for you to use the photos free of charge, but also have rules you must follow for citing the source. Click here for a great article about how to attribute Creative Commons photos.  You can also read The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Using Images in Your Content by CrazyEgg.

Here are some great sites with free images:

    • Pixabay: These images can be added to your site for free, without adding a photo source. You can download directly from the site, like Istock, but for free.
    • Flickr: These images are free, BUT you must add an ‘image source’ link directly under the photo. Basically, just add a hyperlink to the words ‘image source’ directly under the image, and you’re good to go.
    • Gratisography: These photos are all free, with “no strings attached.” According to their site, you don’t need to attribute the photo (unless you want to).
    • Unsplash: Unsplash offers free images that “you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.”
    • Canva: Create your own images and graphics using Canva, a free graphic design website. I highly recommend Canva. Its easy to use and a great way to create graphics for your blog posts.

Other great sites include: Little Visuals, Death to the Stock Photo, New Old Stock, SuperFamous (requires attribution), Picjumbo, Picography, The Pattern Library, Public Domain Archive & Magdeleine.

Find a more extensive list of free images sources in this article by Buffer App.

Optimizing Your Images

Last week, I shared an infrographic illustrating how Google crawls and indexes your pages. From that illustration, its clear just how important it is that your site is ‘crawlable’.

Image OptimizationGoogle can not only crawl your content, it can also crawl your images. That is, if they are optimized. Image optimization allows Google to index your images, giving your page the potential to earn more Google ‘juice.’

Here’s how to optimize your images:

    1. Before uploading your image to your WordPress media gallery, rename the file. Many images have their original names — which depends on the source of the image. For Istock, for example, the image name is a long line of numbers. Rename the file strategically to match the keyword and context of your post. For your home page, if you’re trying to rank for counseling, you can rename your image with the term counseling in it. This will help Google determine relevancy.
      • Tip: Use dashes in place of spaces. Google reads a dash as a space, so use a dash when renaming your file
    2. Once your image is uploaded, rename the Title tag and Alt Text to match the filename of your photo.
      • FYI: The Alt Text is what will appear in place of the image, if the image does not load.

The bottom line, blog posts (and pages) with images are more successful.

Lets face it — the evidence is clear: adding images to your blog posts is a great way to increase traffic to your site, get more shares on social media, increase reader engagement, communicate your message more fully, and make your content more memorable. Add on image optimization, and you are headed straight towards success.

To learn more about photos for your therapy website specialty pages, click here.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments section below!

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