Don’t skimp on the images!
They say content is king but when it comes to websites and online courses, the visual part of the content equation often gets forgotten about. Clients can become so desperate to launch their words and knowledge to the world, that they neglect the imagery that can provide context to their copy, breathing space for their audience and aesthetics to their layout.
A picture paints a thousand words
I make no apologies for the overused adage - images are so important in communicating information. It could be a photograph, an illustration or a diagram but if you’re trying to explain a complex idea, it’s often easier to show rather than tell. For example, you could waffle on for a couple of pages explaining the structure of our solar system and the visual look of each planet. Alternatively, you could show the image below.
Images are even more important when you’re explaining a subject that isn’t familiar to your audience, whether that’s in terms of an online course or a unique service your company provides.
So often we take on projects where the client doesn’t have appropriate imagery to support their content and we are asked to source some for them. This raises 3 issues:
It takes time for us to find images to match content, which means there is an additional cost on top of the original quote for the project.
We build sites and courses but we aren’t subject-matter experts for every client, so the images we choose may not be appropriate.
We don’t hold specific images for every subject in the world - we use stock photo sites that feature very generic, staged photos that may not align with the client’s brand or be relevant to the subject.
So if you need specific images to support your content, what are your options?
Diagrams and infographics are a good way of explaining processes and can be created in a variety of software such as Adobe Indesign or Illustrator. For a cloud-based alternative, try Canva.
Photographs of your specific products can be shot using your smartphone, although for them to look good, you’ll need to invest in a tripod, some LED lamps and possibly a light tent or background. If your product is fairly small, you can get a basic setup for around £40 on Amazon.
If you require images of specific people, clothing, equipment or locations, your best option is to hire a photographer for a custom photoshoot. They will have all the equipment and lighting and will edit the images to provide you with a finished suite of professional photos. Search online for photographers in your area and ask them to provide examples of their work and testimonials from clients.
If you’re ok with stock photos, then there are loads of free and paid-for stock sites to choose from. Here are just a few to get you started:
It’s a time-consuming task to wade through the images to find something suitable but on the plus side, the photos will be much better quality than something you can create yourself using your smartphone. It also means you can use your subject or business knowledge to scrutinise images for suitability at a greater level than asking us or another third-party supplier to source the images for you. If you need to tie the photos to your brand, you could add your logo or a coloured filter to create your own suite of images at a fraction of the cost of paying a professional photographer for a custom shoot.
Whichever option you go for, having some of your own images is better than having none at all and will make your content more exciting, more inviting and more engaging for your audience.