11 Feb Moving Beyond Far-Away Temples
Today we’re going to talk about how to use images properly on your Local Baha’i website. First we’re going to talk about some best practices on how to do this in general on all websites, then we’ll go over some comparative examples of how some organizations have used images very well on their website, and then we’ll look at some examples where the group still has a little bit of work to do.
First, let’s go over some best practices.
Full-Stretch Images on Homepage
This is modern, beautiful, and really puts the focus on whatever you want it to be. In your case, you want your focus to be on the people in your community (more on that later). To be effective, the image needs to go all the way across the screen so it can adjust to any screen size.
Empty Buildings / Foreign Temples: Use Sparingly
Okay, you can admit it: you love the Terraces in Haifa. I do too. But if you’re building a website for Vancouver, putting a picture of the Shrine of the Báb smack dab in the middle of the homepage is going to confuse everyone that hasn’t been a Baha’i their whole life. The images you choose should be intensely relevant to the city that you live in. Not sure what that means for you? A failsafe approach is to take great pictures (hire a photographer if necessary) is to take pictures of the people in your community near places of interest. It could be anything, but keep the focus local and featured around people. Including some pictures of your Baha’i Center could be okay, but make sure that your people are front and center, not an empty building.
Small Images, Big Impact
As a internet marketer, one of the most important facts I’ve had to learn is that people like looking at images far more than reading text. People will look at nine pictures for every time that they read the text next to one. So what you may think is a superfluous small picture might actually be more important than you realize. Also, have you noticed that most of the ads you see on the internet are of women? A little surprisingly, people of both genders tend to prefer gazing at females rather than males. I only say this so that if it’s ever a 50/50 between an image of a guy or an image of a girl, go with the girl.
People Trust Faces, Not Organizations
A good website, especially one representing a religious organization, should tell a story. I recommend that you tell your story using people. (I feel like I might be beating a dead horse here). This is because that people inherently trust other people more than an organization, whatever its history or beliefs. Don’t believe me? Suppose you see a new restaurant when you’re passing through town. Should you eat there? Tough call, so you hesitate. However, if you have a friend who gives a glowing review of his experience there, you’re infinitely more likely to go yourself.
To help visitors connect, try including a smiling head shot next to a testimony of that person’s journey to the Faith, or what Baha’u’llah means to them. This personal connections is important, because while it’s possible that people might connect with just the social principles, if that worked all the time the whole world should practically be Baha’i by now, and we all know that’s not the case.
Put a Face on Your Community Building
In the same vein of making the people of your Local Baha’i Community the shining stars of your website, it’s important to put a face on the efforts that you are undertaking to build up the wider community in which you live. Whether it’s junior youth groups, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or picking up litter in a park, if you’re doing good in your city put your people front and center.
Bonus: if you do a good job with the pictures and text with this, the local media might even pick up the story on a slow news cycle. Never turn down free publicity, as long as it’s positive.
Not All Pictures are Equal
Sometimes it’s hard to choose which pictures to publish and which to hold back. Here are some questions to ask: Is it a good shot? Is the lighting right? Are the people doing something meaningful? Will it be understood by the general public?
Example: LSA meetings are a vital part of the administering of a Baha’i Community, but consultation doesn’t always make the best photos. Know what I mean?
Make each photo count.
If you lead with the photo/people/story approach, visitors to your website will be more engaged, and Baha’is will have something that they’re excited to share with their friends and family, which obviously helps with teaching efforts.
Join Caleb as he helps your Baha’i Community discover the secrets behind using images on your local Baha’i website.