Why are Hero Images So Popular in Web Design?

In our last blog post, we opened up an Internet time capsule to show you what web design looked like through the ages. Our design and marketing company has been in business since 1982, and so our Maryland web designers have seen plenty of web design trends come and go over the years.

Today, we’re going through a great homogenization of web design and development, with the vast majority of websites looking largely the same. Circular logos, long scrolling, minimalist layouts, and flat design elements are all hallmarks of web design today. Another popular web design technique has only recently gone mainstream: hero images and videos. That’s because until very recently, hero images would have destroyed your website.

So what are hero images and hero videos exactly, and why are so many people asking our Maryland web designers about them?

Hero Images: a New Era in Web Design

Simply put, hero images are huge, high definition images that are placed either above the fold or in the background of a website. If you want to see a classic example of hero images done right, just head on over to the Bing.com homepage. Hero videos are largely the same, except with short video files instead of images.

This might not be the most exciting trend our web design company in Maryland has ever seen, but it actually represents a major shift in Internet history. To understand why it’s so huge, we have to explain another local online marketing term you may have heard before: bounce rate.

A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who immediately click away. A normal bounce rate can range anywhere from 50% to 15%, and it’s the enemy of all experienced web design services. It’s a flat out rejection of your website. The fastest way to increase your bounce rate? A slow loading website. Today, at least 40% of visitors will bounce off a site that takes more than three seconds to load. If that wait time increases to eight seconds or more, your bounce rate can approach 100%.

Until very recently, broadband and high-speed Internet weren’t widespread or fast enough to accommodate large hero images or videos. Today, even very large hero videos load in seconds, or at least they’re supposed to.

Should I Use Hero Images?

Honestly, there isn’t a particular benefit of using hero videos or images on your website. The reason web design and development experts suddenly love using hero images? Because they finally can.

They aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but they don’t have many benefits over alternative layouts popular in contemporary website design. The most important thing is to have a website that represents your company well, and then converts those visitors into leads.

Every month there are more than 100 billion searches, and 70 to 80% of that traffic goes to organic results. Your website’s design, bounce rate, and traffic are all factors in how highly you rank on Google.

Ultimately, using hero images or not is a matter of aesthetic preference more than anything else. If you would like a hero image added to your website, then our Maryland web designers would be happy to help.