Images and Web Design: Can There Be Too Many?

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You have a clear vision for your website, and it includes plenty of images — images of your product, images of your team, images of your brick-and-mortar building.

In other words: Images, images, and more images!

But there’s a point of diminishing returns on everything, images included.

Eventually, you have to ask yourself a big question: Can there be too many images on a website?

Why We Pack Websites With Images

Let’s start by saying it’s perfectly understandable to want tons of images on a website. People are driven by visuals, after all. Because of this, sites without any kind of images, whether professional photographs, infographics, cartoons, or impromptu snaps, are rare.

The issue is that there are several potential downsides to having lots of images on your site.

Image Problem #1: Slow Load Time

Is your site slow to load? Irritated users will often react by leaving before they ever see your beautiful images.

Images that have not been sized properly can slow site loading considerably. So can having a lot of images on one webpage —  and we all know that load time is a key factor in everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to customer acquisition and sales conversion rates.

Image Problem #2: Cluttered Website

If your website is starting to look like an episode of “Hoarders,” it may be time for an image intervention.

When used properly, images add clarity, branding, and personality. When used improperly, they can divert your users’ attentions from the places you want them to focus upon.

You may not realize your website is a cluttered mess, so periodically ask for honest feedback from people who have no reason to lie. It’s better to find out as soon as possible that your website is image-heavy, than to find out a year down the road when your revenue has started to take a dive.

Image Problem #3: Dull, Uninspiring Images

Did you get the majority of your images from a stock photography source? Are they haunting your website like ghosts from the past? You’ll want to ditch many, if not all, of them.

Stock photography sellers give you the opportunity to buy the photos and images they offer. They also give everyone else who pays them this opportunity. That means your site could be filled to the hilt with the most beautiful images that Internet users have seen again and again and again.

No one needs to see three different shots on your homepage of a diverse-looking team of young executives sitting around a conference table. Stock photography could dumb down your site, destroying the natural excitement you want visitors to feel.

How to Eliminate Images From Your Site

Before you head to your website and start making massive image cuts, take a breather. This should be a careful, deliberate process, not a haphazard one.

For each image, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this image move my webpage’s content forward?
  • Does this image provide necessary illustration of some aspect of the webpage?
  • Is this image adding to the user experience?
  • Is this image sized correctly?
  • Does this image look great, even when viewed on mobile devices?
  • Does this image belong on this particular webpage?
  • Is this image unique on the Internet? Note that there are software platforms to help you find the answer to this question!
  • Would the webpage be missing anything if I got rid of this image?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, congratulations! You’ll want to keep the image. If you have at least one “no” answer, you should probably reconsider keeping the image up.

Of course, making a change can be tough. For images you’re not quite ready to remove, you can always try a temporary experiment. Remove the potential offender from your site for 30-60 days, and check the analytics before and after the image removal. Nothing changed? Then it doesn’t matter if your image stays or goes. But if you notice an improvement after the image is gone, it’s an indication that the image should remain closeted.

Like anything else, the subject of “too many images” is a debatable topic. Your goal should be to periodically revisit it to ensure your images are all assets, rather than liabilities.

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