A photo is worth a thousand words.
That’s the old saying.
But for businesses, especially local businesses, a photo might be worth thousands of dollars.
When a potential customer goes online and does a search they’re looking for information. They’re looking for products and services. They might be looking for what you’re selling.
Let’s say they discover your website. Depending on your type of business they might want to see some photos. They want to see what you can offer. They want the full context.
But if you’ve been on a local business website you probably know that photo galleries aren’t always the easiest thing to navigate.
Here are some tips for making your photo gallery the kind that sells your business (instead of making potential customers frustrated)…
Tip #1. Quantity, Frequency & Freshness
I’m a big believer in quantity.
The more you do something the better you get at it. And I think that belief applies to photo galleries on your website. The more you upload the more you’ll learn the types of photos that work the best.
From viewing a number of websites I also find that most could use more photos. They often start with a small collection when launching the site and never really add additional ones.
That leads to another issue. Photos can get out of date quick. So frequency and freshness become an issue.
I was just on a site for a concrete company. They do all kinds of concrete work. The latest photo they uploaded has a date of 2009 on it.
The company does great work. I imagine they’ve done great work since 2009.
Freshness matters to people. Getting into a regular frequency ensures that you’re always uploading new photos to your gallery.
Tip #2. Thumbnails + Scrolling
I like a site that makes it really easy to spot the arrows that allow the visitors to scroll. Or if you’re on mobile you need to be able to browse up and down or swipe side to side to view photos.
I like thumbnails, but that’s more of a desktop feature although you do find thumbnails on mobile channels including Instagram. If you open search on Instagram you see small thumbnails. It’s a good way to view lots of photos and then dive into the details.
Tip #3. Mobile Friendly
Huge one here. If your photo gallery takes too long to load on a smartphone with an average connection then you’ll be losing visitors fast!
Tip #4. Descriptions
Add context to your photos.
A photo can say a lot, but adding a description adds even more.
Most businesses don’t do it because it takes a lot of time. I think it’s worth that time.
Take a realtor for example. They’re sharing a new house that’s for sale on their website. They can take pictures of the house, but adding a description for each of the photos will do an even better job of describing things and answering the questions customers will probably have.
Tip #5. Fast Hosting
One thing that drives me crazy with photo galleries is how slow they are. I get it. It can take a long time for photos to load especially today when cameras take huge photos.
If your site is slow, especially the gallery, then ask your website host about better hosting. Most sites are on shared servers. These can be inconsistent. You might want to look into your own server. It costs more, but it usually means that your site will be blazing fast.
Also talk to your designer about ways to optimize your website to improve loading times.
One other thing to look into is the size of your photos. Your camera might take huge photos, but you might want to have your designer make them smaller before they upload them to your site. Optimization is key when it comes to photos.
Tip #6. Post On Social Media
It is worthwhile to post on social media. I would continue to add new photos to your site and to social media. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the big ones. If you’re uploading to your site you want to upload to these sites as well. Also add descriptions with each. More work? Yes. But worth it.
Create a process and then pay someone to do it for you. You can get a virtual assistant via TaskRabbit to help.
Tip #7. Auto-Play?
I was just on a home builder’s website and by the time I got my bearings in their gallery the top featured gallery had scrolled through about six photos. I didn’t really have time to see any of them.
I would say that I’m not a fan of auto-play. Give visitors control of your gallery.
Tip #8. Click To Zoom
I’m a fan of being able to click to zoom on a photo. This is more for desktop. I like seeing thumbnails, but then being able to click in to full screen to really dive into the details of the photo.
If possible, add this feature to the gallery on your site.
Galleries are critical for a number of local business. Realtors, builders, manufacturers, restaurants, event spaces and many more. But a lot of local business websites don’t have good enough galleries. The tips above will help you stand out and earn new business in your area.