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Using Featured Images

Many people don’t realize how much power featured images can have on a user’s experience. The images on your site will be the first thing your user notices, as images are far easier for the human mind to process than text. In fact, images are processed by our brains 60,000x faster than words!

Not only are images easier for us to digest, they also have the power to communicate everything from what activity is taking place to the mood/tone of the event far more quickly and effectively than a simple title could.

Since your images are the first thing your user is going to understand, it’s important to choose and display them wisely. You only get one chance to make a great first impression!

Best Practices

Use Proper Formatting

When uploading a featured image for your event, make sure you’ve resized it to the proper dimensions. Poorly sized or mis-cropped images will make your calendar look unprofessional. For your Loxi calendar, the ideal dimensions for featured images are 1440 x 650px.

Be Cohesive

For the biggest visual impact, make sure all of your featured images go well together. For example, don’t make one image black and white if all your other images are brightly coloured. Make sure any edits you include like borders or text overlays are consistent across all images.

Better yet, create a theme for your images and stick to it. Are you going to showcase the location of each event, for example, or perhaps a group of people doing the event’s main activity? Either way, choosing a visual theme and making each image conform to it is a sure way to make your calendar look sharp.

Include People

Instinctively, people will have a more intense emotional response to images that include human faces. The presence of a human face on your website will immediately command the attention of your user, regardless of what other information is on the page.

A human face is a strong way to make a first impression, but it’s important to remember that people will also pick up on the emotions they portray. Make sure the person you choose is conveying a feeling you want to associate with your brand!

Use Original Images

There’s no better way to convey an authentic, consistent brand than with original photos on your website. We recommend avoiding stock photos, especially for featured images. That being said, not everyone has the budget, time, or ability to capture their own, original imagery, and stock photos (when done correctly) are better than no photos.

If you’re going to use stock photos, there are a few things you can do to keep your site looking authentic.

Tips for Using Stock Images

Do Your Editing

Add in a little extra time to make some edits to the stock photos you choose. Crops, color adjustments, blurs, and fades can all help you get more from a stock photo so that it fits with the overall site design.

Stay Original

Avoid cliches like the plague. (See what we did there?) Only use imagery relevant to your brand’s tone and style. A few cliches to avoid:

  • Anything with clip-art
  • The floating arm handshake
  • Call center employee wearing a headset
  • Happy team gathered around a laptop or conference table
  • Any other image you feel like you’ve seen on at least 10 other sites before

Cliche images scream “fake”—and fake is not a quality you want your customers to associate with your business. Also watch out for images marked “hot” or “popular” on stock photo sites, as it’s likely already being used all over the internet.

Get Them Free!

If you’ve got zero dinero to spend on images for a WordPress site, try checking out free stock photo libraries like Death to the Stock Photo, picjumbo, and Unsplash. All three of these offer $0, non-cheesy, high-quality images that can be used for personal or commercial websites.

Creative Commons photos are another option for free images. Flickr and Wylio are two sites that allow you to search for photos licensed under Creative Commons. Just be sure to double-check each photo’s license for any attribution requirements, remixing allowances, or commercial use restrictions.

Another budget-friendly alternative to stock photo libraries is crowd-sourcing images from your community. Designating a hashtag for events or specific marketing campaigns makes it easy to find user-generated photos shared on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These types of images work particularly well in events calendars since they help give potential attendees a feel for what to expect when they attend.

A Word on Diversity

Cheesiness isn’t the only problem with the images available from the big stock photo sites out there; there’s often a paucity of non-dominant races and genders in the available photos on these sites.

While you might find good, inclusive images on the big sites with enough digging, sites like Get Color Stock are especially focused on solving this problem with stock photography, and are a great place to find photos that are likely to represent your events and the folks who attend them more accurately.

Featured Images, FTW!

Featured images are an awesome way to catch your user’s attention and quickly communicate what your event is all about. Taking a little time to put that extra effort into your featured images will give you a sharp calendar and a strong presence that’s sure to impress your audience.

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