According to the latest Netcraft Web Server Survey, there are more than 900 million websites online, and they are all competing for visitors. Many sites are cluttered with pictures, videos and sounds to attract your attention. But more is not always better. Learn how to use multimedia on your site correctly and your visitors will keep coming back instead of moving on to the next company’s site.
Images on Your Website
This is the year of online images, Forbes says. Lifestyle photos showing people using your products and services connects you with consumers. Integrate your marketing efforts with image-oriented social media sites. Pinterest has become a popular platform for image-based marketing. Volkswagen created a Pinterest board to show the history of that brand. Visitors are encouraged to pin their favorite VW photos, expanding the VW following.
Another benefit to using Pinterest is that the site is fine-tuned to support a lot of graphics, something your website may not be set up to do. When placing photos on your website, follow these tips to prevent your site from slowing down:
- Use smaller files — Images that are 75KB to 150KB load quickly and are as clear as larger files.
- Use photos already resized — Don’t use the HTML commands “height” and “width” to resize them.
- Use compressed images — The JPG and PNG formats compress images without losing clarity when viewed online.
- Use only low resolution photos — A 72dpi resolution image looks fine on computer monitors and mobile devices.
Using Videos Effectively
A short video can get your message across more effectively than pages of written content, suggests the Small Business Chronicle. Use videos in addition to content and not instead of. A long video can dissuade people from watching. A short video captures the attention and draws people to your website for more information.
One popular use of video marketing is the how-to video. From learning to cook Thai dishes to changing spark plugs in a car, businesses are creating videos that show an average person doing tasks step-by-step. This is a good way to introduce people to your product or show them how to use it in a unique way.
A few tips to guide the use of videos on your website include:
- Don’t play videos automatically when a person hits your website. Give them the option to choose when to watch it.
- One to five minutes is a good length for a video on your home page, suggests The Globe and Mail.
- Use a service such as Vimeo or YouTube to host your videos and embed them into your website to reduce the work your website must do.
Animating Your Website
A little animation on your website can focus visitors on specific content, says the Web Style Guide. Their eyes will immediately go to where there is movement on the Web page. Don’t mix multimedia types on a web page. A video, slide show and animation on the same page will be very distracting.
Minimize the use of animation to only those parts of the page you wish to accent. A pop-up or fly-in ad asking the visitor to sign up for a newsletter might benefit from animation. An animated banner telling the visitor about a sale will capture their attention.
To Flash or Not to Flash
You’ve probably come across a website that forced you to watch a flash animation before you actually entered the site. Use flash animation sparingly, if at all, to highlight some small section of your site. This animation-style is now facing more challenges than the benefits it used to offer. Many tablets, for example, do not support Flash.
Some reasons for avoiding Flash on your website include:
- Flash animations are expensive to create
- Flash doesn’t display well, if at all, on mobile devices
- Flash files are not searchable by Google while other image formats can be searched and indexed