Experience Design

Keeping your website fresh through imagery

Matt Bartlett

Your all conquering, meticulously crafted, brand-spanking new website has gone live!

Your clients, peers, and colleagues are commenting on how amazing it looks, you're ranking highly across search engines, and you've seen a significant return on your investment… Happy days!

Multiple devices showing a travel webite

But then, several months later you notice the dwell time across your site starts to dip and bounce rates on your homepage are increasing… How can this be? What's changed?

The answer? Nothing has changed, and that could be a part of the issue.

Refresh to revitalise

Depending on the nature of your business, stagnating imagery could be acting as a customer deterrent.

Refreshing the imagery in key places can strengthen your website’s integrity, stimulate interest and curiosity, plus it allows the customer to see all your latest products, promotions, and features.

Keeping on top of the endless cycle of image production can be both demanding on resources and heavily time consuming, yet the task is vital to the success of a website.

Nevertheless, there are ways to embrace the task and improve the efficiency of image creation.

Melon

Things to remember

Refreshing the imagery in key places can strengthen your website’s integrity, stimulate interest and curiosity.

When you've spent several months carefully curating content for your new website, the thought of spending additional effort keeping imagery up-to-date after go-live can be daunting.

Below is a list of what should be considered:

  • Imagery may need to be created at double its on-screen display size so that it looks crisp on mobile phones and tablets
  • Images may need to be created at specific dimensions to gain the greatest visual impact and avoid potentially breaking the page layout
  • Imagery at the incorrect aspect ratio could create an incoherent visual language and user experience
  • Focal points need to be carefully considered and positioned so not to be concealed by other in-page components
  • An image may need a visual treatment applied such as a vignette, watermark or colour overlay to create a coherent look and feel
  • Some images may need a specific background colour, or their backgrounds removed altogether
  • The file format that the image is saved out as could also be fundamental to the way the image is ultimately presented on your website

Thankfully, there are ways to simplify the image creation process and alleviate any potential stress points.
 
Any good web agency should be able to provide you with the training, tools, and aftercare needed to speed up the image creation process, as well as giving you the complete autonomy to successfully and efficiently work through all those image updates.

Notepad

Do it yourself

Depending on the size and complexity of your website, we would recommended leaving some budget aside to invest in a photography guide.

A photography guide can exist in many forms; from the basic level A-to-Z digital build book that explicitly identifies the exact placement, dimensions, file format, and focal points of every image type across your site, to a more indepth approach that sets out the tone of voice, colour, and emotion that should be encapsulated in the photography itself. Essentially, the photography guide is a handbook that covers all aspects of your website’s imagery.

By having a photography guide, you can ensure that your website maintains the same level of quality as the original concepts. You'll also have a dependable resource for you and your team to call upon at any time.

Furthermore, image templates can be provided in a number of editable formats, most commonly Photoshop .psds, to again accelerate the process. Using these in unison with the photography guide will reduce the amount of thought and endeavour needed to create imagery in the correct dimensions, as well as making sure any additional treatments and overlays are applied.

Although additional budget will be needed upfront to create this resource, it’s a no brainer that can have a huge bearing on the progress of your initial content creation phase as well as any on-going imagery refresh.

Girl running across field

Make the experts part of your team

Any good web agency should be able to provide you with the training, tools, and aftercare needed to speed up the image creation process.

What if you and your team don’t have the necessary time or skills to fulfil the commitment needed to regularly create new website imagery?

Once a project is complete, many digital agencies offer an ongoing support service. There are many facets to this, with each agency offering different aids to ease the pressures of keeping your website up and running; image creation, curation, and art direction are all typical proficiencies that an agency should provide.

By investing in a support retainer, effectively you'll be paying the experts who created your new site to do the hard slog for you. There are numerous benefits to this approach, particularly their deep understanding of the site’s visual language and in-depth knowledge of how to get the most from your content management system.

Let's look at some scenarios that a support team could help with:

  • New product range: Let your agency’s team process, resize, and upload all of your new product imagery to the CMS for you
  • Promotions: Have the design team that created your website produce new impactful feature imagery that is on brand, captures the site’s visual language, and has a real wow factor
  • Seasonal styling: Christmas is just around the corner - let your agency’s designers and support team create seasonal and audience-appropriate imagery and assets that delight the user and help boost turnover
  • Visual direction and strategy: Perhaps the most important service an agency can offer is the stewardship to maintain your website’s visual integrity across all content. From art direction of photography and placement of imagery on your site, to planning when and how to refresh the content

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the services an agency team can offer. Nevertheless, keeping an on-going relationship with an agency can be hugely beneficial to maintaining a premium finish to your website without any of the pitfalls.

Matt and Will looking at a laptop

We're happy to help

As with most agencies, Ridgeway has vast amounts of experience in supportingbrands with all of the services and tools mentioned, including household names like HMV, Twinings, and Pure.

So, whether you have an existing site and you're struggling to keep the imagery current, or you're considering a new website and you’re keen to avoid all of the stress points outlined, feel free to get in touch and we can discuss all of your content needs.