The Internet is inundated with new content on a daily basis—websites publish 1,440 new WordPress posts per minute, and this figure doesn’t even account for websites using other platforms like Squarespace to publish content.
Visual media is more engaging and it can get your content in front of more people. That’s why small websites owned by academics right up to enterprise websites are all complementing their blog posts and other text content with lots of images and videos. 83% of human learning occurs visually, and that color visuals increase a person’s willingness to read by 80%.
Some of the main advantages of visual media for individuals running a small website are:
- Visual content is excellent at grabbing website visitors’ attention.
- Some people learn better from media like infographics and videos than pure text.
- People tend to process visual information much quicker than text.
- Visual media is more shareable on social media platforms, encouraging greater engagement and more eyes on your content.
Using images and video helps your website or blog stand out from the crowd. However, you need to take active steps to intelligently use visual media because a scattergun approach doesn’t work.
Five Tips for Using Images & Video on Your Website
1. Compress Images
Whether you’ve created a helpful infographic or you merely want to spice up your content by inserting a few choice images, it’s critical not to directly upload and publish those images without compressing them first.
Compression refers to any type of process that attempts to reduce the file size of an image without degrading the image’s quality to an unacceptable level. The problem with uncompressed image files is that they tend to be quite large. Directly posting those images to your website causes knock-on problems in terms of slower page loading times, which directly and negatively impacts user experience.
Compressing images is not a very technical process—several WordPress plugins can do it for you. There are also free websites/tools online that compress images so there’s no reason not to do it.
2. Third-party Hosting vs HTML5 video player
There are two options to display videos on your website:
- Third-party video hosting sites such as youtube and Vimeo: Third-party video hosts are straightforward to use and you can simply embed your videos from those services onto your website’s pages using some simple code provided for you. However, some people prefer to have more control over how videos are presented, including the players they are played on.
- An HTML5 video player: HTML5 video is the most modern way to display videos: formerly, people had to use a special Flash plugin to display videos online but this all changed with HTML5. You can avail of some free HTML5 video players, such as Video.js but there are commercial providers too offering HTML5 video players with playlists, integration with advertising platforms, and more advanced features.
3. Optimize Images for SEO
It’s always wise to optimize your images for search-engines so that services like Google and Bing can understand them. Search engines cannot understand images on their own, however, the text accompanying images can assist with telling search engine spiders—special computers that crawl your website—what your images are about. Some tips for SEO image optimization include:
- Informative titles: instead of using the default numbered image name you often see, such as image001.jpg, rename your images to something more informative, such as carrot.jpg, where you replace “carrot” with whatever the main subject of your image is.
- Alt tags: These tags are specifically used to tell search engines about an image. Again, simply use one or two descriptive words highlighting what the image is about. Never leave alt tags empty.
4. Use Images Legally
There are tons of images at your disposal with a simple Google search and it can be tempting to just copy them straight to your website, but this is a terrible idea. It is not legal to use other peoples’ or websites’ images, even if you provide attribution. Always seek permission first before using them. Better still, there are some free stock photo websites that contain thousands of royalty-free images you can use without needing any permission or attributing the source.
5. Use Free Video Editing Software
Editing is arguably the most important part of creating any good video. For individuals running their own small website, professional-grade video editing tools can be expensive to acquire. Consider using any of the excellent free video editing software available online.
Small website owners looking to build up a web presence find it increasingly difficult to get noticed with standard text content alone. If you want your website to gain traction in the competitive online landscape, it’s important to make clever use of images and video to diversify your content arsenal. It’s difficult to continue publishing when you feel like nobody is reading about the topics you work hard to publish, and the tips here give you the best chance of getting your content in front of more people.