Have you ever run across a website that just looks bad. Maybe it’s poorly laid out or the navigation stinks, but likely the first thing you notice is poor quality images. They’re likely the wrong size, pixelated, or even have watermarks.
A picture is worth a thousand words and the images you put on your website speak volumes about the pride you take in your medical practice and the work you do. A website that was put together using poor quality images and a shoestring budget often breeds a lack of trust with visitors and plays a direct role in whether they decide to stay on your website.
A recent study suggests that within ten seconds a user will decide if they’re going to stay on your website or leave. Because images are processed much faster than words, using high-quality images in your medical website design will help to make a positive impact and convince a visitor to stay on the website.
Why should I use quality images?
The benchmark of all good medical marketing strategies is a good website. And a good website is comprised of high-quality images. These images show that you take pride in your work, are committed to quality, and don’t skimp.
Images help to conjure specific emotions and can motivate people to take action. Even if your content is high quality, a bad image can send people running.
High-quality images also play a large role in SEO, search engine optimization. Here’s how:
Only use images that relate to your site and page’s content. When you content and images work together, the messaging of your website aligns and tends to make more sense to the readers. Additionally, images that tie into your content help people remember what they read.
Always use a title-tag and alt-tag. Search engine spiders can’t tell what is in an image, which is why alt-tags and title-tags are important. They tell the search engines what a picture is of and index them in their search engine results. When a person searches for a specific term, for example, periodontitis, your image may show up. When people click it, the engagement tells the search engine that people find the image relevant to their search.
Always include an image. There’s no shortage of content online and high-quality images will be the deciding factor of whether someone actually reads, engages with, and shares your content. How people interact with your website signals to search engines whether it is an effective website worth ranking.
What makes a bad image?
There are several factors that make a bad image. Pixelated images that are blurry, tend to confuse people, and just look unattractive. Additionally, an image that has been scraped from another website without permission (this is essentially stealing), can conflict with an SEO strategy and lead to legal issues down the line because you don’t have permission to use it.
A bad image is one that doesn’t fit the theme and tone of your website. This can confuse your visitors and water down your brand messaging.
How do I find quality images?
If there’s one thing to understand about the online world, it’s that there’s no shortage of bad pictures. The memes you find online, the illustrations floating around Facebook. All of these are unattractive and while they resonate with people, they don’t exactly speak of professionalism.
There are several ways to find high-quality images.
Hiring a professional photographer can be pricey, but it’s a great option if you’re in need of custom photos. This is best used in website design for medical practices when getting photos of the building, interior office shots, and staff photos.
The professional photographer will understand the best light in which your practice should be showcased, match the tone and feel of your website, and provide feedback on photo layout and setup.
Free Stock Photos
There’s a wide variety of free stock images online. These photos are typically posted by professional photographers who are simply looking to share their work. Be attentive to their requests for attribution and any copyright rules. And, there are often rules about editing the photos and limitation. If you decide to use a stock photo be sure to check before editing it.
One drawback of free stock photos is the limited selection. You’ll often run into images that work a little, but don’t totally fit the theme of your website.
Paid Stock Photos
Paid stock photos are a great option if you have some type of a photo budget to work with. They come with upfront licensing rules and offer a larger selection of images to choose from. Paid stock photos also often give you the opportunity to choose from a variety of image size, so you can choose what works best for your needs. This means that if you need to crop an image or need more flexibility you can select the image that accommodates those needs.
Certain websites offer a legal guarantee for protecting you from copyright issues. iStock images come with a $10,000 legal guarantee that content used within the terms of the agreement, it won’t infringe on any copyright or violate any right of privacy or publicity
UGC – User Generated Content
If you’re a cosmetic surgeon or cosmetic dentist, oftentimes the content your patients create will be better than any photo you take. Ask patients for permission to use their before and after photos both on your medical website and on social media.
This is free content and also allows patients to take pride in how far they’ve come and their appearance. It also allows you to further engage with patients and shows that you’re relatable as an office.
The key with user generated content is to look for images from patients that are high-quality and to get express, written permission to use. You may want to have your legal team draft a disclosure form for patients to sign that will release you of any liabilities. Asking patients for permission not only helps to protect you legally but also protects them. For example, a patient who has a stalker might not want their image promoted on your website or social media.
Overall, having high-quality images used in designing your website won’t only boost the aesthetics of your medical website but also strengthen your medical marketing approaches by keeping bounce rates to a minimal.