The power of visual cues and how you can harness it on your blog
This guest post was written by Misty Belardo-McPadden, the VP for Strategic Relations for WPBeginner and List 25. She has been blogging for over five years, and has over 10 years experience in project management. You can find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
One thing I learned through the years is that visual stimulus is a key component to generating traffic for our blogs. Studies even suggest that visual communication is more powerful than verbal since a lot of people learn and retain information better through visual. Pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words. Let me explain further.
How Visual Cues Affect Us
My years of experience working with brands in the advertising field has allowed me to get an inside look at how visuals play a key role in the success or failure of certain products. Companies make significant investments in researching how their target audience react to their product's packaging and advertising materials. The research also focuses on determining the visual cues that will evoke a positive feeling or memory that their target audience will associate with their product. This is an important consideration in the process of designing a product's packaging since it must stand out when place on store shelves. When you go shopping your senses are barraged with colors and images of products and brands that vie for your attention. They all shout "buy me". Of course there are a lot more considerations in terms of the purchase. Price, the immediate need for the product are two primary factors, but one of the most important is the visual cues that affects our buying behavior.
Visual cues are non verbal stimulus that affect our actions and perceptions. It can come in the form of colors, images, symbols, photographs and videos. KissMetric shared some very interesting information. According to their study, 93% of those surveyed responded to visual appearance. Of that group, 6% responded most to texture while 1% responded most to smells. The study also revealed that 80% of brand recognition can be attributed to the primary color used. It was also interesting to see that colors affect shopper's buying behavior differently. Red, orange and royal blue affect impulse buyers purchasing fast food and items at clearance sales and outlet malls. Navy blue and teal attracts those on a budget shopping at a large department stores, while pink, sky blue and rose influences traditional buyers when purchasing clothes. Visual cues also affect how consumers behavior online. In the US, colors and website design, content, accessibility and navigation play a huge role in buying behavior. Fifty two percent of those surveyed say they were influenced to buy again and again due to the website's overall aesthetics.
Visual Content vs. Text Heavy Content
Incorporating visuals like photographs in your articles can make a huge difference in bringing more traffic to your site. Not only will it be visually appealing and easy on the eyes, images can create breaks that can ease eye strain. Just make sure the image you use is relevant to the topic you are writing about. Also make sure you optimize your image by naming your it properly. Don't be lazy and just place the image as is, make the image searchable by including the proper titles and tags. The file size is also key. Make sure the image is not to big so that it doesn't significantly increase the load time of your site.
Creative Ways To Embed Images To Your Site
If you want to take advantage of using royalty free images to make your content stand out, go ahead and do so. Here is a guide on how to find royalty free images quickly and easily. If you're good with a camera, you can always create your own images to include in your content. You can highlight the images by creating an image gallery. This will allow you to showcase your images in a clean and aesthetically pleasing manner. Images can be photos of your product, travels, hobbies or interests like fashion or food adventures.
If you don't own a fancy camera, don't fret and don't let that deter your creativity. You can still use images that you take with your smartphone. The good news is that you can now embed Instagram photos.
Mix It Up
Aside from just sharing static images, why not share videos as well. Over 182 million people in the US watched 39.3 billion online videos in March 2013 alone. The average American spent more than 20 hours watching online video. You can always shoot a video and easily upload it to YouTube and embed it on your own website. Not a fan of long form videos? Why not create one on Vine or Instagram?
Vine vs. Instagram Videos
The biggest difference between the two platforms is the length and the ability to edit. Many brands are taking advantage of these two platforms to showcase their products or services in a creative ways. Vine videos aresix seconds long while Instagram videos are 15 seconds in length which happens to be the length of a short commercial. Unlike Instagram videos which you can edit your video by removing clips you do not want and replace them with another clip, Vine videos cannot be edited and scenes need to be shot in order before posting. Both platforms allow you to embed clips on your site. We shared earlier how you can embed Instagram videos, you can also generate embed codes for Vine videos as well.
Sharing Visual Content Is Huge On Social Media
Aside from generating traffic by optimizing your website through sound SEO strategies, social media can play a huge part in increasing traffic to your blog post or website. The sharing of our posts on social media will have a significant effect on how many people see, engage and interact with content. The more likes, shares, comments, plus ones and retweets your content an generate, the more visibility will your content will get. But not all posts are created equal. If you use a photo or a video and not just a link when you share your content, it will attract more attention than just sharing the link by itself. One study by Hubspot indicated that 53% of photos on Facebook generated more likes than text based posts alone.
Adding visual cues is an effective way to make the content on your blog really stand out. Today with the explosion of social media as a tool to share your blog posts, the possibility of your article being seen by more people is greatly increased. The only limit is your own creativity. Did I miss anything? Please share your thoughts with us. We would love to hear from you.