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Using Website Hero Images: Best Practices & Tips

Learn what a hero image is and how to create the best one for your website. Follow these best practices and tips.

A website hero image is a banner-like image that spans across the top of your website, making a strong first impression on your visitors. This hero image may seem like a minor aspect of your website, but it’s a vital tool when it comes to grabbing website visitors’ attention. Having a high-resolution image that people see as soon as they open your website is an effective way to draw people in.

Just like it’s tough to design a beautiful website, finding the perfect website hero image can be difficult. Following hero image best practices is a good start, but it takes more than that to grab the attention of your audience. There are lots of little design tricks you can use to create a hero image that grabs attention and encourages visitors to check out the rest of your website.

You have a lot to learn if you’re launching a business website, from how to make a website to tips for increasing audience engagement. If you need help choosing the right website hero image and making it work for your website, here are some tips to help you get started.

What is a hero image?

A hero image is a banner image that stretches across the top of your website. The website hero image you choose is important because it’s the first thing website visitors see. You want to use a high-resolution image for your hero image so your visitors get a good 1st impression. This image typically extends all the way across the top of your website, which means you need to design your hero image to fit users’ screens.

Why should I use a hero image?

Choosing the right hero image is an important part of small business website design. When somebody visits your website, you only have a fraction of a second to capture their attention before they move on. A hero image allows you to display a large, clearly visible, easy-to-read message for people who visit your website so they know what your site and brand are all about. Your hero image can help tell people about your products, services, and what your mission is as a company.

In addition to helping catch visitors’ attention, a good hero image can also help tie your website together in terms of design. You can use your hero image to proudly display the colors that represent your brand, or you can use a short video to show off your products and grab people’s attention. You can even include a call to action in your hero image to encourage people to take action right when they visit your website.

While your website hero image is only one part of designing a website for your small business, it’s an important part. Just like all websites need website footers, hero images play an essential role too. Choosing the right hero image can be the difference-maker when it comes to converting traffic into sales, so every small business website needs a good hero image.

Hero image best practices

Now that we know what a hero image is, there are some hero image best practices to keep in mind, which include making sure you’re using the standard hero image size. While it’s important to follow these best practices, you can still get creative with your design to separate your website from your competitors.

Make it clear

Your website hero image is designed to grab attention when people visit your website, but that doesn’t work if it’s hard to tell what’s going on in your hero image. You only have a few seconds to get a visitor to stay on your website, so make sure your hero image is easy to decipher at a quick glance. You don’t want people trying to figure out what they’re looking at or struggling to make out words.

Choose the right hero image size

Choosing the right hero image size helps ensure your hero image displays correctly across different devices with different screen sizes. There are different standard hero image sizes for mobile devices and desktop computers, plus you need to make your hero image responsive so that it can adjust itself to fit different screen sizes.

Try a professional photographer

If you want to add a professional touch to your hero image, consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products, your staff, or anything else you might want to include in your hero image. A photographer can help you find the ideal lighting and angle to display your product or your team, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. Working with a professional photographer also means you get clear, high-resolution images that you can use for your hero banner.

Craft your message

Your hero image should include some kind of message, whether you’re telling people what your brand mission is or using a call to action to encourage visitors to check out your products. You don’t want to be too long-winded with the text you include in your hero image, so try to keep it short. The goal is to contextualize your hero image and let people know what they can expect from your brand or its products and services.

Consider a call to action

You might want to add a call to action to your hero image. A common example of this is including a big “Shop Now” button that visitors can click to go straight to your store. These calls to action can be very helpful because it keeps people from having to navigate around your website and figure out where each page is. Instead, you can direct users right where you want them to go from the first part of your website they see.

Create harmony

A good hero image can tie your website design together, but a bad hero image can deter a lot of people. To make sure your hero image creates harmony with the rest of your website, try to match up colors, fonts, and other design elements. Your hero image also gives you a great opportunity to incorporate your brand colors and elements, so make sure to include those colors if they work with your website. Overall, finding a hero image that works with your website design is one of the most important things.

Avoid stock photos

Stock photos can make life a lot easier, but they can give your hero image a cheap look. When a person sees a stock photo used in your hero image, it makes your brand seem like a faceless entity. The reality is that your team and the products you create are the faces of your brand, so you should try to use actual photographs of staff members and products instead of relying on stock photos to save money.

Organize your hero image

Organization is a key element of design, especially when it comes to your website's hero image. Make sure you organize the content within your hero image in a logical way that guides readers through it. Remember that certain colors, fonts, and shapes tend to catch the eye, but most people are going to read your hero image from left to right. Readability is especially important if you’re including a call to action in your hero image.

Testing hero images

Testing hero images is essential to make sure they display properly across different screen sizes. You can start the process by creating the HTML and CSS code and adding your hero image to your website for testing. Next, you can view your website on different screen sizes to make sure it adjusts properly on every device.

A/B testing is another common testing method for hero images.

You can still test across different devices, but this allows you to try out multiple hero image designs and HTML and CSS code solutions to optimize your hero image.

If you’re having trouble finding the right hero image to tie your website together, you can look at e-commerce website design tips and examples to get inspiration.

Make a strong 1st impression

Your website hero image is crucial to making a good 1st first impression on the people who visit your website. As long as you follow hero image best practices, you can build your website to attract and retain visitors.

With Mailchimp, you can get the most out of your business website. Mailchimp makes it easy to build your own website, whether you want to use a premade template or a custom design. If you’re starting a website for your business, try Mailchimp and see how the right tools can make a big difference.

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