March 2010 - Newsletter

Hi guys,

It's that time again & we've put together some great articles on how to use images within your website - hopefully you'll find them useful! :). We've also written a short article introducing the Zeald Friends & Supporters club which is well worth a quick read. The vast majority of our business is built upon great word of mouth referrals - it's the way we like to do business so if you know of anyone who could do with some of our help with their website let us know - we're happy to reward you (or a charity you support) if we end up doing business with them :). Anyway - enjoy the read!

A picture speaks a thousand words

Images are a very important part of a website but if you've ever tried working with images you will have noticed that they can be very problematic - they take time to load and can signficantly slow down the overall website loading speed if they are not optimised correctly. Unfortunately it's not possible to change or optimise an image using your website browser, so you have to use a different image editing program like Adobe Photoshop or free tools such as Google Picasa to get it exactly the way you want before you can place it on your website.

So why use them? Are they actually worth the hassle?

Without images, the world would be a very dull place indeed. Imagine a website with lots of great information but with no images. Usability guru Jakob Nielsen's website is an example of such a website. The information is great, but the website is dull and not very engaging. Images add interest and break up long chunks of text.

But more importantly, the main purpose of using an image is to convey information. Yes, they take time to load, but they can tell a story instantly. Just like the old saying goes - a picture can speak a thousand words - if used correctly (we added that last bit ;)).

In some occasions, images can help generate traffic from the search engines. Searching for images is becoming very popular - for example, if I was looking for a chocolate cake recipe, I will do an image search and click on the site that shows the best looking cake. This kind of usage is becoming more common these days for all kinds of products. (By the way, if you like the look of the chocolate cake we've used in this article, it was made and photographed by our very own Olga Franco from Zeald! Checkout her blog for the recipe).

So what makes a good image?

Almost every website can benefit from having images but the real challenge is picking the right image for each page on your website. The images need to be of high quality and they need to be relevant to the content on your website - so together they tell a story in an engaging way to your visitors.

How do you go about achieving this? Read our article on what makes a good image.

Lay out your images like a pro

Once you've figured out what images you want and where each one should go on your website, the next step is to lay them out on your site so they look professional. You also want to make sure that the web pages are fast loading so your users don't get bored and look somewhere else. Remember, if they are waiting for more than 10 seconds on a 56k modem, they will switch to another website. Search engines like Google also reward websites that load fast by ranking them higher than the ones that don't.

There are a number of things you can do to make sure that the pictures you have chosen look great and also load fast for your visitors. We've written an article summarising the options available to you.

We hope you enjoyed the read. If you have any feedback for us, don't forget to post it on our Learning Centre - we love hearing from you! And don't forget to check out our Friends & Supporters Club!

Thanks and have a great weekend,

The Team at Zeald