Therapists love to put evocative images on their websites. But do these images really help you accomplish your goal of attracting new clients? Or do your images actually turn-off your website visitors and make them move on to the next website?
When creating your professional website, think carefully about the images you select, using the following tips as a guideline:
Have your images tell your story.
Don’t select images randomly, but rather have them tell your brand story. For example, if your practice focuses on helping people with anxiety, you can show images of people dealing with common anxiety problems, like public speaking, or riding an elevator. Make sure that all your images tell a consistent story.
Use captions with your images.
Captions are read four times more than body copy. Putting captions on images will help you determine the relevance of your images. In other words, the caption helps tell your story.
Continuing the example of a therapist who treats anxiety disorders, an appropriate image might be a photo of a person speaking at a meeting with the caption: “You can overcome your fear of speaking in as few as 12 therapy sessions."
Don’t break the left margin.
Generally speaking, images should be placed above, below, or on the right of your copy blocks. When your image breaks the left margin of a copy block, it makes it harder for people to read.
Don’t use images just because they are interesting.
Many professionals like to use beautiful scenery or metaphoric images on their site, and many of these images are very eye-catching. However, people see interesting images on the Internet all of the time, and just using an interesting image will not necessarily create an impact on your website visitor. It is important to remember that the more images you use on your website, the longer the website will take to load, and when you add loading- time by just a second, you can decrease your traffic by as much as 20%.
When using images of people, make sure they are looking in the direction that you want your viewers to look.
Visitors to your website will instinctively look towards the direction that the people in your images are looking. You can take advantage of this by choosing images that direct your viewer’s eyes to the place you want them to go on a web page. For example, an image of a person looking towards a “Schedule An Appointment” button on your website will direct the viewer to click that button.
Don’t use obvious stock images.
It’s fine to use stock photos on your website, but you should avoid ones that are obviously models or obviously posed. Photos of happy attractive people are pleasant to look at, but they won’t really engage your website visitor. Make sure that every image on your website has a reason for being there and engages your potential clients.
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Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D, President of Between Sessions Resources
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