Stop Using Galleries
There are gazillions of ways to add a gallery to a website: plugins, extensions, themes or even hard coding. Every one of them is fundamentally flawed in that it requires the visitor to do something to see the images in all their hi-def glory. And if you have a mobe the whole user experience nose dives into the annoyance zone.
People like to scroll
The rise of social media means many people now use websites (and apps)differently. When they land on an SM site they scroll down scanning the content until they see something they like. There are similiar behaviours on sites like eBay or Amazon.
This scrolling behaviour relies on the content being presented in a format suitable for the device being used. And the device being used these days is very often a smartphone or tablet. If you put all your images in a thumbnail gallery you are making your visitors work harder to see the full sized image. I’ve lost count of the number of sites that use a lightbox you can’t close on phone (because the X is off the screen).
Show Me the Money
Use full sized images on your site. Don’t hide things in galleries, put the full monty on the screen with suitable captions. Perfect for people with a phone, swiping on a touch screen and even a better user experience for someone with a laptop or desktop coumputer.
If you are selling jewellery or promoting your widget cleaning service then big images are always going to impress people more than a grid of thumbnails. For example:
As opposed to this:
Which do you think looks better?
Good for Google
Google image search used to have lots of options to filter by image size. The only choices now are Large, Medium and Icon. Which means your thumbnail gallery isn’t even going to get a look in.
What this now does mean is a page of captioned full sized images has a much better chance of getting indexed and ranked than a gallery.
But Ebay Still uses Thumbnails!
I know eBay (and Etsy) still use small images but once you get to the actual product the images are pretty much full sized. Which is what you should be doing if you are selling anything. Don’t ever, ever, ever use those awful hover zoomy things. Try to use one of these on a phone and you will soon realize why people aren’t buying your stuff.
And to prove a point: can you see the ship?