Do You Need To Use Hero Space On Your Website?
The hero image sits at the top of the page. It is often the first things a visitor to your website will see.
A good use of hero space should be aesthetically pleasing and build depth into page content. It should communicate to the reader what they can expect to find on the page.
Digital marketing trends dictate that hero images are an integral part of the web design. But are they really necessary?
The benefits of hero images
A web design has to visually impress and portray a professionalism your visitors will trust. An image in the hero space is a strong starting point, and – providing you have the right hero – encourages visitors to explore your online store.
Hero images are versatile. Photographs are perhaps the most popular as messages from still images are arguably easier to relate to. Trends in modern web designs however, are bringing in vector backgrounds, illustrated images and animated video.
Whilst hero images can be effective at drawing in prospects, they can also have a detrimental effect on your online business. Here’s why!
Google plans to strip you down
Despite the benefits of including images, the time it takes for browsers to process the information they carry can slow down the load speed of your website.
And online users do not like to be kept waiting for a page to load. Mobile users are only prepared to wait a maximum of four seconds before looking elsewhere. Google is aiming for 2-second load speeds.
AMP will leave websites with a skeleton frame, and in some cases looking somewhat threadbare. We don’t know exactly what affect AMP will have on websites yet, but if it removes the aesthetics, it risks removing the professionalism online businesses need to convey.
Fortunately, Google has a solution. AMP HTML which allows programmers to design websites without affecting the performance.
The yays and nays of hero images
The type of content you use for a hero image can have a positive or negative effect on your website, not only as a marketing tool, but as a ranking and conversion factor.
If the hero image slows down the load time of your webpages, it has a negative effect on your business. But it can encourage visitors to stay and explore. So if you do choose to utilise the hero space, go with the right choice of image.
Avoid stock photographs, low quality images, crowd shots and larger than life smiley faces that are obviously straight out of photographer’s stock pile of advertising images.
Slick, crisp images that are unassuming, but portray your brand message are far more effective.
For now, the hero space does have its part to play, although be careful of web design trends – you could invest in bells and whistles on your website and end up with skin and bones. AMP could be a game changer.