I was reading an interesting article the other day, exploring how you get improved sales from your website. Not surprisingly, the key takeaway was the importance of high quality photos and videos contributing to the success of your online venture.

Humans are visual creatures hence what others see has an undeniable impact on our success. Images transcend language and words and allow for a greater understanding of whatever is being discussed. Since first impressions are formed within seconds and since most of the information we consume and interpret is visual, quality design can make your site and your brand stick in the viewer’s mind as professional and credible.

A professional, modern looking website can immediately build trust and guide visitors to take action. When it comes to web copy, people rarely read a piece of content word for word. On the other hand, images stick with readers longer and are more likely to give you a greater return on your content investment. The design of a website is significant because it affects how quickly visitors can find what they are looking for. If navigating the website is difficult or frustrating, the visitor will leave and try on another site, resulting in a lost opportunity.  A good design will be easy to understand and navigate, helping potential customers find what they need and taking you one step closer to making a sale or getting in touch.

Professional images capture authenticity. Photographs not only show the visitor what you offer, but can also make them want to act. People no longer just want to browse a website, they want to experience it. The restaurant website www.portillos.com is full of quality, tasty images of their varied product selection. The tantalizing photos make one want to rush over and eat… a lot! The simplicity and consistency of the images speaks to the quality of the product.

It’s simple: the more professional, compelling and enticing your site’s photography is, the more business you’ll conduct over time. We’re not just talking about pretty pictures, we’re talking about a way to visualize information in a simple way that makes sense to the client. Using good photography of your products and services will help you market to a much larger audience. Photos open your content up to a whole new audience through giving visitors the chance to share your imagery with friends and family. Bonus: shared images are basically free advertising. Professional photos can make your visitor understand your product or service more.

Most clothing websites already offer images of outfits that you can rotate and zoom in and pan across the product. The 360 degree rotation style seems very popular with shoes and handbag retailers.

Rikki Hunt, director of Nine Fashion, was quoted as saying “It's worth investing in quality photography. We employ local models and a professional photographer for EVERY new product range.”

The addition of video has created some interesting changes, not simply boosting sales, but reducing returns – the curse of any online retailer. In the article, Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Littlewoods says “We've seen benefits in terms of customer engagement, improved conversion rates and higher sales.”

If you are striving to be professional and knowledgeable in the workplace, then your website needs to reflect that. Using great design and quality photography is a necessity in this visual world. Great design should convey a message in an easy, simple way, transcend language barriers, provide a good summary of information, support and break down complex concepts, and take a fraction of a second to understand.