Five Tips to Create the Best Web Images Ever
No matter what you are trying to sell or promote, images matter! They matter a lot – we are living in an ADD world and people are not always reading web posts word-for-word. Using visuals helps break up the monotony of reading something and delivers a message in a compelling fashion.
Here’s how to put your best foot forward, visually and graphically, and how to avoid some unnecessary problems (Yes, I made some of these mistakes so I can tell you what to avoid!)
And yes, the images I used in this post involve all these tips, so yep, I do walk my talk!
Be Mindful of Required Image Dimensions for Whatever Site You Are Publishing On
Always, always, always do this before you start any image. Who wants to spend unnecessary time having to trim down and readjust an image you put a lot of energy into? Social media sizes are quite particular and you may have to dig a little to get the full scoop on exactly how big or small right down to the decimal point.
Also, be aware of elements such as spaces where you might be placing an avatar or banner as that area will be blank and not use any artwork.
If you’ve got a blog, however, you don’t have to worry as much about bit by bit dimensions…sometimes big is better and can really grab attention well from readers, not to mention the fact that your blog images show up in the SERPs too!
I usually go with about 500 to 600 wide and 300 in height in pixels -a great ballpark for me; not humongous but a good enough size to be appealing and stand out.
Be Mindful of File Size and Keep It Small
Increased file sizes can slow down loading time drastically so it pays to take a little time to scale down your images. By that I do mean you may need to scale them down pixel-wise, since most pictures right off the bat you take are pretty dang big, something like 2000 by 3000 pixels.
I always cut my images down to size (pun intended) by at least half of that if not a little more. There is no “hard and fast” rule for how much of a file size is ideal and not likely to impair load time, but I tend to err on the side of 100 KB or below. When in doubt, always get into KB territory.
MBs are bigger than KBs ..There are some web sites that restrict images uploaded beyond maybe 2 or 3 MB. So keep the user experience a priority and be mindful of this fact.
In my design programs, such as Photoshop and Corel Draw, I choose the option of “Save for web” which lets me optimize my final images to my standards. It shows “before” and “after” versions so that as I adjust accordingly and go down in quality percent as needed and if starts to look degraded, I just move it back up a little.
Need a simple approach to adjusting image file size? I use PicMonkey for this step and it works great -the lower end of file size (I think it’s called “Roger”) looks great! I know it does say “Low” quality, but for a 400 by 600 px image, it’ll do perfectly.
I used to use iPiccy as well for this; it too has “normal” (lowest) “medium or high” (medium) and “best” (high) image quality settings -works pretty good but I think PicMonkey is better at showing you what the final image will look like and see if it passes muster.
Also, if your images use photographs, you want to save your images as a jpeg as the file size will be less than that of png. PNG (portable network graphics) are best for vector images created from scratch.
Choose Fonts, Colors, and Backgrounds That Sync Up Well
There’s a little bit of an art to this one; choosing good colors and patterns for your images takes a little bit of a good eye for design. If you feel that you are creatively challenged in any way, fear not, as some programs online have a series of pre-designed templates to make it easier so design layouts are a breeze!
On the question of fonts, yeah, the same thing applies. Combining different fonts that look good together is an art too. I tend to choose fonts from the same family to break up the monotony and have an overall result that doesn’t clash. This article can help you with picking great font combos.
Confession time…I have a thing for flamboyant fonts…some are too boring to appeal to a niche like arts, crafts and design and need to be a little , well, fancy. However, I do have to be sure I pick a fancy font that is readable too!
Create Compelling Call to Actions in Text
Sometimes this takes some thought. Some headlines by virtue of their subject, will lend themselves to great puns, especially like my posts that talk about craft sticks/glue like “We Gotta Stick Together” But if your post or item doesn’t lend itself to something really knock-out funny, don’t worry.
It’s best to appeal to a reader or shopper’s emotions or needs such as “Don’t do/buy X before you read this!” or “The Must Have Guide for X (Occasion)!”
You can be short or sweet if you like; you may have to follow my example when I’m stumped for ideas and jot down some ideas in a notebook, e.g brainstorming.
Always Watermark Your Images
Even if you’re not actively selling something, remember to watermark your images! All the established bloggers I know of have their blog name “signature” stamp on all their own personal images. It not only minimizes the risk of having your personal work plagiarized or used without your permission, but the act “brands” you in a unique way.
It’s true that if someone out there does want to steal something of yours badly enough they may try but at least with your stamp, it’s unlikely that they can actually use it since that watermark is on there and not coming off (or it’d be more trouble than it’s worth)
I always take the time to watermark ALL my images; from those of all my Etsy listings to my images here (Exception is photos I may occasionally download from Creative Commons) It’s a simple drag and drop procedure that takes two minutes, if that.
I hope these tips help you out…make all your images the best they can be! You don’t have to be the next Michaelangelo, you just have to make the best impression based on your niche and present it the most effectively!