A website is a brochure in one hand and a salesperson in the other. It has to walk the balance between being informative and somehow also be personable. This can be communicated through quality content, and I have written a series that outlines how to use content to connect with your audience. Besides content, what can you do with the design of the site itself?
Put a person there.
In the industry, we call this a “hero shot”. It makes a subtle, implicit connection with visitors to your site. What the brain sees, it believes. In the first few microseconds when you see a website, you make your mind up about the site before you even have a chance to consciously decide what you think about it. In this crucial time frame, the distinction between a real person and an image on a screen is sometimes a blurry one.
So what makes a super hero shot?
What you sell affects what you should use as a hero shot.
- Goods – include a photo of a someone using or demonstrating the use of your product. For example, if you sell prescription glasses, ensure the hero shot is of someone wearing your product.
- Service (interactive) – show people enjoying your service. For example, if you do dance lessons, show images of happy customers while in the act of (or pretending to be in the act of) dancing.
- Service (non-interactive) – show a picture of sales support staff, eager to help. For example, if you are a web host, include a shot of a computer operator wearing a headset.
The photo is, as you may have guessed, very important. The ideal photo will be of a person that is:
- Looking at the camera
- Attractive – let’s be serious…
- Friendly – not the ice queen!
- Women, kids and babies work better than beefcakes in most cases
Once you have the ideal picture, the key is to put it in the right place. The best place to put it is:
- Above the fold.
- On dedicated landing pages. Studies have shown that people trust websites more when the first page they see includes a good hero shot.
- On the opposite side to the way they are facing, so that they look as though they are looking towards the middle of the page, ie. the user, and not away from them.
What You Can Do, Today!
Simple – get a camera, a model, a web designer and get a good photo up! If that’s too much effort…look into Google Image Search (making sure you don’t pick any trademarked photos). Then track the Analytics on the pages you implement it on to see the results!