Websites provide limitless opportunities to you, from selling goods or services to showcasing a creative portfolio or managing a blog. But regardless of the purpose, it’s vital that you include good, attractive visual content. And so, a big question, how to Find the best images online.
Just like an appealing window display can lure customers into a store, so too can engaging imagery keep viewers locked into your website. But you don’t need to have a bottomless budget and a slick design agency on hand to get great results. Read on for the lowdown on how to source the best visuals for your website…
How To Find The Best Images Online To Use On Your Website
Why use images in your content?
So why is visual content so important on your website?
Unfortunately, no matter how interesting or useful your written content is, if it hasn’t got a an attractive, relevant image, then it won’t engage your readers. A study by QuickSprout showed that content with relevant images gets up to 94% more views than those without.
It could be a simple change that makes a huge difference.
Including images in your website content is also a great way of increasing your search engine ranking. Once you’ve selected a relevant photo, be sure to label it with suitable alt tags and captions. This will be read by the search engine algorithms, and it all goes towards improving your website’s ranking potential.
How do I choose the right image?
Quality over quantity
Grainy, poorly-lit, blurred — not the quality you’d expect from a global brand, is it?
It’s crucial that the photos you choose for your website are good quality and high definition. In 2018 there’s no excuse for poor photography. It cheapens your website and can make it seem unprofessional, which will almost certainly negatively impact your brand.
There are a number of free stock photo sites, such as Pexels, Pixabay or Unsplash, with good quality photos for you to choose from.
If you’re using your own photos, consider teaching yourself some photo-editing skills to fine-tune your images. You want imagery that’s striking, clean, and likely to attract comments and shares.
Go for originality
Audiences today are increasingly becoming more aware of stock photos. You need look no further than the Woman Laughing Alone Eating Salad meme, a stock photo that became so recognizable, it became an Internet joke.
Today, customers are tired of seeing the same people in the same poses, and demand originality. When choosing an image, try to stray from the beaten path a little, for example by looking through Flickr (ensuring you ask permission before you choose). Or create some truly original images by taking some photos yourself.
Choose images that reinforce your brand
Just as your written content is created in line with your own brand, so too should your visual content be selected with it in mind. If you’re building a portfolio of your work, you’ll want your photos to be clean and professional. Or, if you’re creating an online store for a streetwear brand, you might go for a more edgy, urban vibe.
Think about your website’s purpose, what your viewers will expect from that, and then consider how you can convey that visually.
Evoke an emotional response
In a similar vein to the above, your visual content should speak to your audience. Depending on your website’s function, you’re going to want your photos to draw an emotional response from the viewer. Do you want them to feel inspired? Excited? Intrigued?
Again, consider what it is you want your website to achieve, then set out to find the imagery that best reflects that. A good place for this is Burst photos, whose Collections feature lets you browse images online based on a specific theme or category.
Common mistakes to avoid
Not feeling so confident? Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when choosing photos for their website — and how to avoid them:
- Using photos without permission. Unless it’s your own photography or from a free stock photo site, you’re going to need to ask permission from the copyright holder. Even if it’s a free stock photo, some sites request that you cite them or the photographer when you use it, so be sure to check beforehand. Get to know your rights and responsibilities.
- Including irrelevant images. That might be an amazing photo of the earth viewed from space you’ve found, but if your website is a cookery blog, then you might need to reconsider. Keep it relevant to the content in question.
- Choosing dull or forgettable photos. It’s free, it’s relevant, you’ve got permission — but if it doesn’t grab a viewer, they’ll take one look and move on. Don’t just settle for the first photo you find, keep looking till you find one that strikes you. If it appeals to you, it’ll appeal to your audience.
- Neglecting to optimize for all devices. With an increasing number of people using their mobile or tablet to surf the web, it’s important that your site works on all screen sizes. Check to ensure everything works across all types of devices before your site goes live.
When it comes to building a website, there’s a range of factors you need to think about. Purpose, functionality, and written content all need to be considered. But the key component that is weaved throughout all of these is imagery. Visual content provides a backdrop for the rest of your site, so it is worth doing right. Choose appealing and relevant images optimized for all devices, making sure to ask permission and give credit where necessary. It’s a simple thing, but one that will benefit you and your website immensely in the long run.
Freelance writer, branding consultant and coffee expert, Victoria Greene can be found on her blog for all the hottest news in the world of marketing, design, and ecommerce. Vicky is passionate about getting people to achieve the best they can from their ecommerce stores.