With so many elements to look at on most web pages, it’s a challenge to hold anyone’s attention for more than a few seconds, but images almost always draw the eye. Taking advantage of this is a relatively simple way for small business owners to improve their companies’ online profile, which in turn can draw new visitors to your site and new customers to your door.
The Role of Images in Promoting Your Small Business
Putting photography to use online can help put a “face” on your business. Avoid readily available stock photography — it doesn’t give your potential customers any meaningful information about your business. Instead, include photos of your actual products or employees providing your service and/or images of your store or facility. Your potential customers will be able to preview what they’ll experience if they do business with you, which can help them decide to choose you over a competitor. Don’t be concerned if you can’t afford professional photography; today’s mobile devices can take pictures of a higher quality than ever before.
Images of you, your employees or your business should be used for any social media accounts you have. Take the time to add a profile picture to Twitter and Facebook, and a cover photo to your Google+ account. And when you’re posting to one of your social accounts, consider including a photo — some studies show that Facebook shares with photos receive about 50 percent more “likes” than posts that have only text and links.
Images and SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about getting your website to rank higher on the results pages of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. There are myriad ways to put SEO to work in your marketing plan, many of which focus on specific elements on your site. When it comes to images, you’ll simply need to ensure that yours can be “seen” by search engines by doing a bit more than just uploading them to the web.
Use what’s called an “alt attribute” in your images tags on your web pages. If your business web site is on a platform such as WordPress, you should be able to use the content management tools within the platform to add this important information. If you have a web developer, he or she can easily add alt text to your images.
Here are a few tips for creating alt text:
- Keep it short: Some browsers don’t like text that’s too long. You don’t need to write a lengthy description of what’s in the photo — just include enough information to put the photo in context.
- Literal is not the goal: Let’s say you’re adding an alt tag to an image of your logo. Rather than write “Acme Anvils Logo,” you’ll want to simply use “Acme Anvils.”
- Don’t be fake: If you try to “trick” the search engines by including irrelevant keywords in your alt tags, it could come back to haunt you. Search engines are sophisticated enough to recognize this tactic and penalize you by excluding you from search results.
Your company’s online presence becomes more important every day. The more visible your business is to search engines and the better you present it to potential customers, the greater your chances that you’ll have an edge on your competitors.