How to Optimize Images for Your Website and Impact Performance
Since most business transactions start online, it’s important to make sure your website gives a great first impression of your business. Visitors to your website will judge your company within seconds of landing on a page. One way you can impact their first impression is by choosing the right pictures and imagery.
Photos, therefore, are integral to the performance of your website and require careful consideration. Your website’s photography sends a message about the quality of your business and your overall company ethos. They help potential customers see the experience they will have working with you.
In fact, using photos and images in a strategic way is one of the 11 steps in creating website lead generation for your small business.
So, what options do you have when choosing pictures for your website?
- Using stock images on your website
- Using your own photos on your website
- Hiring a professional photographer for your website images
There are pros and cons to each option which we will explore here. However, in terms of converting leads from your website, using your own photos (whether taken by you or shot professionally) will give you that leading edge over a small business using stock images.
Where Do I Get Website Design Images?
1. Use Stock Images for Websites
You know the ones, the smiley happy family in their sparkling-clean home, the cheerful window cleaner in front of glistening windows. Yes, they look professional, are cost-effective and easy to acquire but they can come across as inauthentic.
Most people can tell a stock photo from a mile away or may have even seen it on another home-service company website! That wouldn’t look good.
Using stock images on your website means you’re missing the opportunity to showcase your business and build trust through your imagery. Customers are looking to understand your business and what they will be paying for—choosing the right images gives you the chance to do this.
Pros of using stock images on your website:
- Stock images are high quality and look professional.
- They are a cost-effective option.
- Stock images are easy to come by.
Cons of using stock images on your website:
- Stock images give an inauthentic first impression.
- Using stock images removes the opportunity to showcase your business and work to your customers.
- Stock images may jeopardize trust and credibility among your website visitors and potential customers.
2. Using Your Own Photos on Your Website
Taking your own photos is cost-effective and a great place to start. Taking your own photos allows you to curate images that relate to your brand and tell a story about your company; this will help build trust with your future customers. All you need is a phone or a handheld camera and some time on your hands.
Pros of using your own photos on your website:
- Using your own photos helps build trust among visitors and potential customers. Your customers are inviting you into their home and are more likely to use your services if they have been able to connect with and trust your business from the moment they land on your site. Authentic photos can help you do this.
- Using your own photos is a cost-effective way to get great visuals for your website.
- Using photos you take of your team and your work allows you to convey a strong story and brand identity to your customers.
- Limited equipment needed.
Cons of using your own photos on your website:
- It will take some time to take photos yourself.
- If you don’t have an eye for taking photos, this may be a challenge.
- If you don’t have a good camera in your phone or DSLR camera, the images may be poor quality.
Tips on How to Take Photos to Use on Your Website
- Have your team members wear company-branded clothing. This creates a sense of unity and helps generate a more consistent brand image.
- Take photos of each of your services. This may include before-and-after photos or shots of your team in action providing these services. On your company website, you can put these photos next to the service description to provide visual proof to website visitors and clearly communicate the services you provide.
- In the “About Us” portion of your website, you will want to use images of yourself and your team. And if it’s a family-run business, we suggest including a picture of the family here as well. This will give customers a chance to see who the people behind the business are, what the owners value and build that all-important trust.
Remember this: your customers are interested in you, your business, your work and your team. Sharing authentic photos on your website is the best way to paint a picture of your business for potential customers.
Examples of Small Businesses With Their Own Photos on Their Website
Some of the most successful home-service businesses use their own photos in their marketing efforts on their website. Here are some examples:
Nate Brott of Integrity Cleaning has been super successful with his company branding, using pictures of himself and his truck to showcase his business as friendly and trustworthy.
MANPower Unlimited is another example of a small business that has used their own photos of their team at work and some of the beautiful homes they have serviced.
This helps to create a picture of the experience they are creating for their customers. Having a tailored image next to each service helps your potential customer visualize what you are offering. If a consumer can picture themselves working with your brand, then they can imagine their life improving from your service.
Don’t be afraid to go personal! Pristine Cleaning chose a lovely group shot of the team out for dinner in their “About Us” section. Choosing an informal, personalized photo helps to humanize and personalize the company. Who wouldn’t want this lovely bunch to clean your home?
3. Hiring a Professional Photographer for Your Website Images
Hiring a professional photographer means that you are guaranteed to get high-quality, original images shot with your brand in mind. Hiring a professional will help to create a consistent brand image on your website—and this matters a lot.
It’s important to put effort into a consistent brand image. Consumers aren’t just buying a product or service—they’re buying into your brand. This means it is critical to choose images that convey exactly what your business stands for. A professional photographer will work with you to understand your business and take photos that represent your company ethos and portray a consistent brand image.
There are a couple of scenarios to hire a professional photographer for your website imagery:
- For quality headshots and group shots of the owner(s) and team.
- To accompany you to a site (safety- and permission-permitting) to capture the team at work.
Pros of hiring a professional photographer for your website images:
- A professional will work with you to create consistent brand imagery.
- A professional will take high-quality images for your website.
- Hiring a professional photographer will be a one-time activity, so it won't be time-consuming.
Cons of hiring a professional photographer for your website images:
- This is the most expensive option.
- Since this is a one-time occurrence, you will only have photos from one day and perhaps one setting, and your team as it existed on the day of the shoot.
Examples of Small Businesses With Professional Photos on Their Website
Here are some examples of companies that have used professional photography in all the right places on their website:
Urban Street Window Works
Urban Street Window Works chose to invest in professional photography to capture team shots as well as images of the crew at work. They have done an awesome job of creating a consistent brand image with their photos and their website visitors & potential customers get a sense of what working with them would be like: friendly, professional and fun!
Gabe's Spotless Window Cleaning
Gabe's Spotless Window Cleaning used a professional photographer to take a group photo of the team to use as the hero image on their site. It instantly creates a feeling of professionalism to site visitors and brings a personal, human touch to the website.
How You Choose Website Pictures Dramatically Changes Your Customer’s Experience
As we’ve talked about here, website images have the ability to impact a website visitor’s first impression of your business. Choosing the right pictures can be the difference between establishing a trustworthy connection or not.
Furthermore, as a small business in the service industry, you have an excellent opportunity to distinguish your business from the competition if you start to invest in brand visuals on your website.
You can start by taking photos on your phone or have family members or friends take photos for you, or consider investing in a professional photographer to create a consistent brand image.
Compelling, authentic photos will mean that potential customers are better able to trust your business and pick you over your competitors.