No matter how well you break up your text with subheadings and bullet points, a bunch of text is still a bunch of text. A 2008 study discovered that people are only reading about 20% of the words on an average web page. Getting the written portion of your pages in good shape is important, but visuals also play a key role when it comes to attracting more visitors to your website and convincing more of them to stick around longer.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
They are also worth a few more clicks and leads, too. Web sites that include infographics grow traffic 12% faster than those that don't and content that features compelling images average 94% more page views than those without.
Why do visuals get so much more attention than text? For one thing, they are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Compared to reading, that's almost an instant understanding of visual content. Visuals also tug at our emotions, and once a visitor is emotionally connected to your content, they are more likely to stick around and see what you're all about.
How to Get it Right
It doesn't take much convincing to believe that visuals have an impact on visitor behavior. On the other hand, using visuals the right way makes a difference, too. You don't want to just plop down pictures of puppies throughout your article on roofing supplies because people like puppies. Instead, visuals should be relevant to the content they are supporting. Here are a few tips for effectively incorporating visuals into your content.
Tell a Story
Connect to your visitors' emotional side by sharing an image that tells a story about the rest of your content or speaks about the passion of your company. From pictures of products in realistic settings to candid shots of employees brainstorming, one picture can tell an entire story in an instant.
Videos are a great way to explain complex ideas and demonstrate products. Instead of four paragraphs of information describing shingles, embed a video that shows what the different types look like on different homes.
Break Down Statistics
A few compelling statistics can be summarized with text, however, after the first few the numbers just start blending together. Charts and graphs are perfect for visualizing numbers, and infographics are perfect for organizing a bunch of charts and graphs into a single unit.
From cartoons and comics to how-to videos, visual content can help lighten up the information so people stay on the page longer.
Because visuals stand out from a block of words, calls to action and other clickable links always perform better when they are linked visuals rather than linked text.
Beware of Distractions
Too many visuals and poorly placed visuals can take attention away from your main objective (usually to compel a visitor to follow a call to action). While you want your visuals to get attention, they shouldn't compete or overwhelm your main attraction.
This case study takes a look at the home page of a truck service and evaluates the visual information using a heat map. The original landing page featured a bright red starburst that announced "no fees," but otherwise offered no action to take or direction to follow. That starburst was also hogging all the initial attention while key components of the page were ignored completely.
The visuals on the page were completely restructured to make the main call to action more prominent, and then tweaked a bit to make them even more compelling and effective. The rest of the important information is still there along with an interesting image of a truck, but none of it competes with the instructions to "Call Now."
Visuals Still Need Backup
Your visual content may lead the way to more page views and more sharing of your content, but only if it is backed up by solid information. Even if people enjoy looking at nice visuals, chances are they came to the page to learn something or to buy something. Always make sure you're delivering what they came for in addition to pleasing visuals. That complete package is what will get you what we're all after: more conversions.