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Web Design Tips: Pros/Cons of Large Header Images

Some sites rely so much on the effectiveness of image that they offer little or no keyword-rich content on the page that is necessary for search engine rankings.

Large, attractive header graphics on website home pages have been a trend for some time and not likely to go away anytime soon. And, why would they? A large image in the header of a website can have a very strong visual appeal. It can immediately attract attention and “wow” visitors. However, an image that is too large in size, or, not applied appropriately to a website, can negatively affect SEO and the overall user experience.

Here are some pros and cons regarding the use of large header images on websites.


It makes your site look up-to-date design-wise.
You want to be sure that your website looks modern, not dated. Using a large header image is what everyone else is doing right now, and following current trends can help you achieve a modern and current design aesthetic.

A large graphic demands attention.
We use photography and illustration because it catches the eye. If it’s done right, a large header image can inspire and engage the audience. It can instantly tell a story and convey a specific message very quickly.

It evokes emotion.
A large, impactful image can capture the audience by making a personal connection with the user. This will potentially direct the user toward reading text and wanting more information about your products and services.

It showcases your products.
Products can be seen in an instant. Users will know exactly what you are selling as soon as they arrive on the page.


A large image doesn’t load as fast.
Large images, especially if not optimized properly, can greatly increase loading time, which could cause visitors with slower connection speeds to back out before ever viewing your site.  Slower download speed for your home page also can hurt your SEO, as Google prefers sites that load fast.

It could take up a significant amount of real estate.
With an image taking up a majority of the page, users are less likely to pay attention to other pertinent items. Elements, such as buttons, overlay text or navigation could get lost.

It could be bad for SEO.
A large header graphic could put your content “below the fold”, or, below the line of vision in the browser. Users will have to scroll to get to valuable information. Some sites rely so much on the effectiveness of image that they offer little or no keyword-rich content on the page that is necessary for search engine rankings.

A large image could lose visual impact when rendered on smaller devices.
An image that is highly impactful on a larger device loses detail and might not render as well on a small screen, so, the meaning and message of the image could be lost.


Use a large image that shares the space, rather than one that is so large that it takes up most of the page. Leave room for keyword-rich/SEO-friendly content and be mindful of the overall functionality of the page.

Don’t obscure important content with busy, complicated images. Use an image that complements crucial elements such as navigation, taglines, text, contact info, a search box, a call to action and/or, an RFQ.

Optimize the file size of your image. Compress the image size as much as possible without compromising the high-quality appearance of the image.

Rely on other tools to achieve a modern appeal, such as, typography, layout, responsiveness, colors, and, up-to-date-information.

Consider how your image will look on small devices. Test the image to find out if it effectively translates in a smaller size.

Contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2102 for assistance with your website design project.