1. Grab attention; 2. Establish a connection; 3. Welcome them inside.
Those are three basic functions that the home page of your website should be doing. When you do any of those wrong, you are doomed to have a higher bounce rate.
The photos on your home page play an important part of that home page trifecta. Based on my measured results, I've put together some guidelines on the hows and why's you should use certain types of photos.
My top 4 home page photo guidelines in order of importance:
1. Tie into the upcoming holiday.
It doesn't matter if it's Veteran's Day, Black Friday, Hanukkah, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or any other holiday you can dream up; as long as a holiday is close at hand you should have a photo on the home page that includes the name of the upcoming holiday. Then link that image to a special holiday page that shows appropriate jewelry gifts for that holiday.
2. Use close-ups of jewelry.
Jewelry photos on your home page need to pop. The fine details of the jewelry need to be crystal clear and large enough to see from a comfortable viewing distance. Photos are far too small if you can cover up most of it with your thumb. Want to put a ring on your home page? Don't worry too much about showing the entire ring in the photo; instead zoom in on the head of the ring and perhaps one side.
3. Include designer names.
Do you carry a recognizable designer line with a distinctive style? Make sure the jewelry photo clearly illustrates that style and the designer's name.
4. Mention awards and local involvement.
Do you have an award winning designer on staff? How about specific involvement in your local community? Use photos on your home page to show the award winning jewelry with large words that say something like "Award Winning Designs." That photo should link to a page that shows more custom designs. Likewise, any photos referencing your local community involvement should link to specific pages that explain that involvement.
Those are only four guidelines, and they are by no means exhaustive. However, I also have some guidelines of things to consider, and to avoid.
1. Display a storefront photo.
If your intention is to attract more foot traffic to your website then you should consider including a photo of your store on your home page. The store photo helps to establish a real world connection that you are welcoming them to your actual store instead of selling to them online. The storefront photo immediately establishes you as a real business which is set apart from e-commerce only jewelry websites.
2. Link everything.
This might not be intuitive, but every jewelry image on your home page should be linked to something. You sell pretty things, and when someone sees something pretty on your home page they will try to click on it for more information. Make sure to link all jewelry images to some other inside page of your website; this includes the images that you might have built into your actual website design.
1. Never use a small photo if it is too "visually busy." Jewelry images that are smaller than 250 pixels should be a close-up showing as much detail as possible. Most vendor supplied advertising images do not work well when resized down into a thumbnail sized image.
2. Marketing experts, including myself, will tell you that you need to sell the romance of the jewelry. What better way to sell romance than to have photos of people involved in those romantic moments? Surprisingly my tracking data clearly shows that romantic moments don't belong on your home page. All the images of romantic couples and models wearing jewelry had the lowest click through rates from the home page.
As I said above, all this information is based off my own data collection efforts. Use these guidelines when planning your own home page, but you should always perform your own A/B testing to discover your own best results.