What is a hero image, and why should you use one?

Hero images are a staple in web design. Used effectively, they can help in engaging with visitors to your site, and making your website stand out. But what is a hero image, and why should you consider having one on your website?

What is a hero image?

A hero image is a large banner at the top of your website. They are generally eye-catching and bright, and will be the first thing that you will see when the site loads up. They can be either static or moving, but they should be enticing. A hero image also helps people to identify your site, and can make it more memorable to the user.

Why is a hero image important?

A hero image is instrumental in creating that all important first impression of your website. They can help the user decide whether they want to carry on looking at your site and what you have to offer, or whether to leave and look elsewhere. Considering that half of the human brain is dedicated to processing purely visual information, it’s no wonder that having bold visuals when you initially enter a site can be captivating. Hero images also help with capturing people’s attention, which is especially helpful considering the fact that humans attention spans are lessening every year.

Not only this, but hero images are important when it comes to showcasing your brand’s values, goals, and mission, without having to use excessive text which can be off putting. You should be able to immediately see the correlation between the hero image used and the brand itself, and it needs to be relevant to what the company is.

What are the components of a good hero image?

  • Quality images: it may sound obvious, but one of the most important things about a good hero image is that it uses high quality imagery in order to make the best impact. While stock photos are more affordable and convenient, making use of custom images or illustrations is the best move. Not only do they look better, but they can provide a direct link to your business, making it look far more authentic. Stock photos on the other hand can tend to look cliché, and basic, and won’t help your website to stand out. Another option is to use video in your hero, like this one for example which showcases aesthetic treatments in Newcastle. Videos as a hero image are especially helpful in capturing the attention of users as they are more likely to stop and watch what it is that is being shown. From this, they should be able to make a more informed decision if they want to continue looking at the site or not.
  • Interactivity: a good hero image is also interactive with the user. This can be achieved by a simple CTA button telling you to find out more, or a profile sign-up for example. Anything that gets the user to interact with the site is important, and the hero image is one of the best places to do that, as it’s right at the top of the page. In addition, having buttons on your hero image can help to direct people to other pages on your website, which means you can use it as a clever way to guide people to the page or pages that you want them to see.
  • Image design: in order to make your hero image stand out, of course it needs to be crisp and clean, but it also needs to fit the page perfectly. Too big, and it won’t load properly, and too small, and it won’t have the impact that you want it to have and it just won’t look right. This needs to be tested over multiple devices, especially as a lot of people use their phones for browsing as well as entertainment. Furthermore, a good hero image will not have an effect on how the site loads, which can tend to be an issue, slow loading times can affect traffic to the site, so this needs to be trialled in the testing stage.

Benefits of a hero image

So, we’ve gone through the components, but what are the benefits of having a hero image on your website?

  • Brand identity: using a hero image can really help users understand your brand identity. It gives consumers an insight into what your company is about, its values, and maybe what it is striving to do. We can see this on our previous example of the website we designed for the aesthetics doctor in Newcastle, the looped video as the hero reinforces the idea that you should feel beautiful in your skin, and embracing your beauty. Overall, it should be able to give some context to your brand as soon as the site loads.
  • Highlights important items, products, or values: it is also possible to have product placement on hero images, a lot of supermarkets do it to highlight deals and customer favourites, and brands can use it to push products that they want to sell. From this, the idea is that consumers will want to take a deeper dive into the website, and make a purchase, or take whatever action is needed to ‘close the deal’.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: it seems simple but having a hero image can really make your site pleasing to the eye. Maybe it’s the colours, maybe it’s the prominence on the page, but either way, there’s something about a hero image that makes a site look so much more put together. It can seem more professional overall, and with the ability to draw and entice people to look closer at the site, it’s a win-win!

The Breakdown

Using a hero image is a great idea if you want a relatively simple way to make your website stand out. Not only does it highlight the aesthetic appeal, but it works to encourage consumers to find out what you’re about. When done well, a hero image can emphasise your values as a brand, and can help you to stand out in a sea of similar sites.

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