If you’re after an amazing website that attracts the crowds, there’s no doubt that great images are a vital ingredient in the mix. These days, visual components can be within the highest-ranking content on search engines, such as Google, that you will use for your website. With that in mind, it’s important to get it right, otherwise, they can unfortunately also work against you!
Understandably, this may seem quite tough, so I’m here to give you some tips in applying the best images, stock or otherwise, that you can use for your small business website.
Click here for details about why you should care about adding adequate visual content to your website!
Question: Stock Images – Should I use them?
If you can arrange some high quality, personalised photographs for your business, this is the way to go! Not only will they be original, but they will be tailored to your brand because you created them!
However, if this option isn’t accessible to you, then stock images are the way forward! Often, if you’re willing to put the time and care into finding the right stock images, you can find the most ideal images to represent your business. It’s about knowing what you’re looking for and going in with a plan of attack.
Question: How can I get it right and what mistakes should I avoid?
There are a few things to consider before you start scrolling through endless pages of potential visual content on stock image websites.
1.Know the purpose!
Firstly, what is each image going to be used for? There’s no point in choosing a collection of pretty images within your business’ industry in the hope of fitting them in somewhere on your site. Make sure you’re not using images just to be decorative or fill in space; they will not be effective in creating rapport with your users!
Make a list of where on your website you are planning to place images. The most common areas are at the top of each page (so consider each page heading) plus next to any subheadings that you have. This is a good place to start at least. If you’re working with a website designer, but have decided to find your own images, they will provide you with the list of allocated image locations. Then you can get straight into considering exactly what you want to get out of each image so that you are doing a more targeted search.
2. Consider your business’ brand identity
Do you have a particular theme that you could to utilise to reflect your brand? For example: black & white pictures with flares of colour, 50s housewife images, quirky animal references, pastel backgrounds or vibrant fruit? Try and think of a fun or powerful way to represent your work! This must be considered before you go on the hunt for even the first stock image so that you can remain consistent with the branding.
3. Use people in images when possible & make sure they look authentic!
Time and again it has been proven that people are more emotionally connected to visual content when it includes people…most of the time. As a general rule, it is great to include a person where you can to evoke an emotional response from the user. BUT, if the image is too ‘stocky’ or unrelatable, it will barely be noticed.
Find images where the person has an authentic expression and doesn’t seem posed. Also, you can search for images that use unique camera angles, varying distances from the subject or slightly cut-off subjects to make the photo feel more genuine.
To see details on studies researching what images work best, click here to read ‘Photos as Web Content by Nielsen Norman Group.’
4. Don’t go cliché!
Try to avoid falling into the trap of picking the most obvious stock image. For example, for the heading ‘Water’ the classic stock image used is the drop of water. This may look great, but it’s been done so many times before and therefore it’s likely been done by YOUR COMPETITORS.
You want your website to have flare; you want to stand out – and this means not being predictable. Write down what the obvious choice would be first and then try to write down as many unique alternatives that you can. For example, if the heading is ‘Water’ how about a photo of children splashing in a puddle? Obviously, it will depend on your theme, but get creative with your ideas and the chances are you’ll come up with some really cool options to search for. 😉
Now that you understand the nuts and bolts of what you can do to find the best images for your site, here are some resources to help you take the next step.
Stock that’s FREEE!!
It’s important to remember to always look at the licencing terms of a stock image website so that you know when you must credit a photographer for their work! They are giving you their image for free after all.
Favourite Paid Stock Options
Enjoy the creative process of understanding what images will work best for your business and happy stock hunting!
If you’d like further assistance in finding the right images for your website, let me know and I’ll be happy to help you with the process. Click below!