Does your website need hero images?

By Tim Priebe on March 17, 2015

By Tim Priebe on March 17, 2015

There’s definitely something to be said for clean, simple website design. However, you should consider making sure each page (and blog post) of your website has a hero image. So what is a hero image, and why might each page of your website need one?

What is a hero image?

No, a hero image is not (necessarily) a photo of Superman or some other super powered hero. Rather, a hero image is the main graphic on a web page or blog article that conveys visually what that entire page is about.

On Facebook, for example, the profile picture used to be the hero image. Now, however, it’s the Cover Photo.

Why are images a good idea?

In general, images on your website are a good idea for several reasons.

First, they provide visual interest. A huge block of text just looks boring, and can turn people off. If you add images, the content automatically looks more interesting.

Second, they actually make it easier to read the text on a page. Including images helps people stay focused and get through your text.

Third, they can often communicate an idea better than text, or at least help clarify the idea that text presented.

Fourth, they help make content more shareable. Which brings us to the hero image…

Why is a hero image a good idea?

When a web page is shared on social media, many sites will also show a photo. Many will let you pick from all (or some) of the photos on the website. On some of the social media sites it will be a small thumbnail, but on others (like Pinterest) it will be huge, and may be highlighted more than anything else.

By having a hero image as the first image (and potentially the featured image if you’re using WordPress), you can essentially create a default for those social websites. Most people who share your content elsewhere will use whatever the default image is. So you want that image to accurately represent your article.

Simply put: Your hero image will show up when people share the page on social media, making people more likely to click on the link. So put a little more thought and effort into that image.

Where do I get images?

Use a stock image website if you don’t have the resources to hire a photographer or designer. There are free and paid options, and Holly wrote a great blog article with some stock photo options. Remember, paying just a dollar or two makes a HUGE difference in quality.

Do NOT just go grab photos off Google Images for your website. Those are likely copyrighted, and people have been sued for doing that very thing.

I recently heard some great advice about picking your hero images. When selecting one, ask yourself: “Would this make a good magazine cover?” If the answer is “no,” don’t use it!

So take a look at your website, and see if you should update each page and blog post with a hero image. If that would be too time consuming, consider just updating your most popular pages, or the pages you wish most people would visit. At the very least, start using hero images in any pages and blog posts you add from this point forward.

Need help? For many organizations, we can assist by going through your website and selecting appropriate hero images for each page. If you want to see if we can help you in that way, get in touch with us.

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