Think about the last time you were scrolling through your Twitter feed and found something appealing enough to “like” or re-tweet: Were you drawn by your neighbor’s 140-character description of his new car or the photo of him grinning like a kid from behind the wheel? And that White Castle breakfast casserole you whipped up for the last family gathering — did you find the recipe in a dust-covered cookbook or through a link your friend posted with Facebook pictures of the finished dish?

When it comes to cutting through the volumes of information Americans are inundated with every day, The Web Guys understands that few things are as powerful as an attention-grabbing image. Indeed, industry research shows that tweets with images are shared 150 percent more often than those with pure text, and photo-focused posts drive 87 percent of a typical Facebook page’s engagement.

The stakes are even higher on business websites, where user engagement can mean the difference between winning a customer and losing a sale. As digital marketers, we know how important it is for businesses to tell their stories, but as Web designers we also understand how overwhelming a type-heavy page can be.

Here are some tips for making the most of photos, infographics, and other images online:

Educate, Don’t Decorate

Appealing visuals aren’t just “eye candy” for Web surfers. There’s a reason “a picture is worth a thousand words” became an idiom; seeing is believing. As much as it pains the writer in me to admit, I know no one is going to read 2,000 words about a client’s duct-cleaning service. Before-and-after photos, on the other hand, instantly make a compelling point.

Duct Cleaning Before Duct Cleaning After

One of the main purposes of a business website is to convert online visitors into paying customers. So the content they encounter must be useful, authoritative, and even entertaining to satisfy them. Trying to accomplish that with words alone may be an exercise in futility, considering a 2015 study found just 16 percent of users read everything on a Web page.

Persuading visitors to purchase your products or services means convincing them that you have the answer to their problem. With the average person’s attention span now a miniscule 8 seconds — less than that of a goldfish — savvy business owners can’t afford to waste time on the soft sell. In addition to demonstrating professionalism, images allow you to literally show potential customers the work your company can do.

Help Google ‘See’ Images Too

Google recognizes and rewards user-friendly sites with strong search rankings, using an algorithm that considers hundreds of factors — including the use and relevance of photos, charts, infographics, and other images. Although not visible to most users, “alt-text” image descriptions help the tech giant determine where a Web page belongs in search results. Well-optimized images can also surface in a Google Images search, bolstering a site’s visibility.

And speaking of the all-powerful search results, industry research suggests that users are more likely to click on a listing that includes an image.

Are You Ready for Your Close-Up?

Done right, images can be a crucial component of your online strategy. Let the experts at The Web Guys position you for success and help guide you through the ever-evolving digital landscape. Contact us at (317) 805-4933 today to get started.