Put your pics to work: 4 Ways to spice up your site with photos

An unusual view of Sydney’s Opera House.

Since going premium, I’ve been exploring LinkedIn’s groups more—especially ones where I can get an inside view on the industries I write for and about.

I’m not exactly in every group’s industry. But marketing myself and writing about the green, travel and business sectors have given me unique insights to contribute, like ways to use images to jazz up, say, a travel company website—a question asked in one of my groups today. My comment got so unwieldy long (and I’m trying not to be one of those walls-of-text commenters) that I decided to blog it instead:

Here are four tips for travel professionals and other marketeers looking to spice up their websites with images.

1. Size—and alignment—matters
On the web, vertical photos, left- or right-aligned “above the fold” (the point where people have to scroll down to keep reading), are more effective than huge horizontal shots for websites and blogs, with the text below the fold. Every click and scroll matters and you want people to get to your text as soon as possible. This lends itself well to portraits, just make sure that your text wraps around the image. This slightly techy tutorial breaks down 90 percent of what you need to know about styling photos—from captions to code.

2. Take a cue from Beyoncé
In a recent Trip Advisor survey, 60 percent of travelers reported using travel apps. So travel companies, restaurants and hotels should definitely optimize their images for mobile device usage. This may require resetting your content management system preferences (WordPress, for instance, has a setting for this) and selecting an image that is large, uncluttered, hi-def and uses central composition. Fortunately we can look to Beyoncé for inspiration. Here’s an NPR story that talks about how the singer’s videos bring more thrills to mobile devices by centralized, uncluttered composition, close-ups and a minimal background. If it works for Beyoncé, it’ll work for you.

3. Use pictures worth 1,000 clicks
No one will thank you for boring images—even if they can see them on their phones. Here’s some inspiration for using color, texture and culture in photos. (I might pass on that Photoshop idea, but the others are solid.) Another idea: cut the text and tell your story through slideshow galleries with captioned images like the New York Times does.

4. Get with the Pingram
If you aren’t already on Pinterest, you should be—especially if you are in any way targeting women age 25-40. Brussels Airlines (full disclosure: I have a story in the May/June edition of their inflight magazine B-Spirit) has AWESOME pinboards chock-a-block full of travel tips, style and great photos of their “birds.” KLM also has boards dedicated to fan photos, vintage black and white images, a travel quiz and—my personal fave—package design. My Pinterest career started with a single pin—a garden planter or something equally lame. Within an hour, 40 people had repinned it. Now think of the exposure Pinterest could give your spectacular destination images. Or, because every pin tracks back to the site it was discovered on, your website. (You’ll want to make sure your images are pinnable.) Don’t have magical, expansive mountain views? Infographics are extremely popular on Pinterest.

You can find me on Pinterest here.

Photo by dicktay2000

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I'm a smart, sassy, globally-mobile freelance writer, content creator, brand journalist and nonprofit storyteller. The world is my office. Email me to find out more.
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