FAQ: Why do graphics need to be combined with text on a news page?

Combining graphics with even a short story will make them more appealing to your readers, and give greater visibility online.

Research over the years, such as that carried out by the Poynter Institute in the United States, has examined the effectiveness of pages containing text alone and stories of different length, together with visual elements, be they iconic or a self-contained graphic, pictures, or devices such as a fact box, timeline or Q&A. The general conclusion is that combinations get more attention and make information more memorable.

So although it is perfectly possible for the graphics from Graphic News to “stand alone” as they are - what is called - information rich, combining a graphic with a short story gives a package that is more attractive to readers.

In a digital publication adding a story has the added benefit of making the page more visible online, i.e. attractive to search engines (what is called Search Engine Optimisation SEO). These mistrust graphics and images alone because they can be substituted so easily -- They don’t want someone interested in, for example a presidential election, to be directed to an advert for washing machines or a load of pornographic images. Adding 200-300 words to a page with graphics is therefore helpful. The words can also refer back to other story pages about the same topic (cross links), making these pages more visible too.

Given the number of pages online, there is no guarantee that any website visitor will see a particular page unless there are effective links to it. Studies by the Poynter Institute have shown that links combining visual elements with text are more effective than text alone or visuals alone. Online marketeers have also studied what makes links sticky, i.e. what makes people want to click on them. Essentially people click on links BECAUSE they are interested in what the link goes to and not to find out IF there is something of interest. So the more information included in the link the better.

For graphics a link called “Infographic” will therefore attract people interested in graphics per se. Adding a headline as well will attract visitors interested in the story as well. Adding a visual will not only attract the eye of the reader but give information about what sort of graphic to expect.


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