Creating content isn’t as easy as it may seem on the surface, especially if you’re a small business owner who just doesn’t have time to spare. Sure, written content coming directly from the small business owner may sound genuine, but do you really have the time to create your own visual content (graphics, photographs, etc.) from scratch?
Do you have the time to take art and photography classes on the side? Probably not, so you’ll need to find visual content from other sources.
The good news is there are a myriad of ways to add engaging visual content to break up the inherent monotony of large walls of text. The more vivid and striking visual content added to a page (up to a subjective limit, of course), the higher the degree of likelihood a visitor will read your whole post and take action. Let’s start by looking at some creative ways to visually spruce up lackluster data and content.
Graphs and Appealingly Displayed Data
Reading (or for that matter, trying to make sense) data from a spreadsheet is B-O-R-I-N-G! Black and white graphs are too, but the mundane drudgery and bore of data is actually an opportunity. Making a chart or graph vibrant and fun is a great way to simultaneously visually stimulate your audience and present them with important information. There are endless opportunities to be creative, too.
Do you have a boring black and white bar graph? Past adding color, could you add emojis to the top of each bar that indicate your feelings towards the data? Boring data demands creative ways to draw visitors’ attention to help them digest it. Otherwise, they’re going to go slack-eyed with mind numbing boredom.
Dressed Up Textual Content
Believe it or not, text can actually be crafted into visual content. I frequently see this tactic used on home, living, and cooking blogs. Typically, I see the blog owner change the text to some classy font (which could be in cursive if it feels right and fits your websites style), and a solid color or patterned background, and post it as a JPEG or PNG image file.
I’m not sure where the idea originated from, but you’ll see the same concept applied on Facebook. Human beings are very visual creatures, so any chance you have to turn a boring element, such as monotonous heading, into something creative and stimulating, should be taken advantage of.
Slideshow elements allow you to compress a lot of visual data into one website element, which can really help organize and clean up a page. If you look at some old websites that have been updated in over a decade, you’ll see “image vomit,” whereby the web administrator simply posted dozens of photos one after the other on the web page. The result is an extremely long page that the user needs to scroll through.
Using a slideshow tool not only helps clean up your pages, but also helps encourage users to spend more time on your site. It causes them to take the time to scroll through all of the images in your slideshow, increasing engagement and interactions with the page. WordPress plugins like Soliloquy (there are dozens of similar plugins) make setting up a slideshow a breeze.
So you want to upload some pictures you have personally taken, but don’t know how to dress them up, and Photoshop seems like an insurmountable nightmare to learn. Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to edit photographs even if you’re not a professional: filters.
Filters are not only easy and free to use, but they provide an instantaneous view of the filter’s applied effects, and you can even apply them in real time as you’re taking the picture.
If you’re target audience is of an artsy variety, however, I would use filters with caution. Some artsy audiences can, in my personal opinion, seem a little jaded and overly critical. Using the wrong filter could spark vitriol and send a lot of flack your way. But if your audience is, say, primarily mothers between 25 and 39 concerned with weight loss, using a filter to spruce up an image is completely viable.
Public Domain Images
Naturally, public domain images should be considered as well. You can find public domain images with a quick Google search that will allow you to access hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of images that are legal to use on your website. If you’re in a bind and need some fast visual content for an ephemeral or topical post, a public domain image may be the best solution.
There is one problem with public domain images, however: they’re in the public domain, and anyone can use them! I’ve often seen the same stock public domain images used and reused by a variety of different sites, and I imagine you have to. For instance, I’m sure we all have a clear picture in our minds of a group of attractive models in professional attire, all gathered behind a computer screen, one of them pointing at the screen.
It’s fairly easy to spot some public domain images, and there are two ways around this problem. First, note that some images – depending on the license associated with that image – can be edited to differentiate them.
Secondly, you can purchase access to an online image repository to access images that are not in the public domain. We use CanStockPhoto for a lot of our blog graphics.
Creative visual content doesn’t have to be static, either. Most people would rather watch a video than be forced to read walls of text. If you can add a video to your page, it’s easier to get users to engage with your business. If you lack the time and skills to create video content, then it’s time to reach out to an experienced video content producer. Even without video content, at a bare minimum, you need to add visual content to your web pages.