As the human attention span shrinks lower than the goldfish, a website must focus on embedding visuals to enhance their concentration levels. Our brain can process pictures 60,000 times faster than text. Content with visual elements receives 94% more views than only text-based posts.
These and many more statistics make it imperative to use high-quality visuals to hook the audience and convey the right messages. And for this purpose, many digital marketing experts suggest using stock images.
As you know, stock photos are professional-quality and pocket-friendly images that can be used for various design purposes. They are crafted specifically for commercial uses, and their result is almost parallel to custom photos. Since hiring a graphic designer or professional photographer for new images can be time-consuming and expensive, many business owners prefer to use stock photos.
However, finding a website with royalty-free stock photos is like mining for gold. It involves a lot of effort, but once you put your finger on that perfect website, it can take your content to a whole new level!
To help you out, here is a quick rundown of tips for choosing the best stock images for your website:
1. Images Must Align with the Brand Voice
You should take images from authentic stock image portals. Some malicious stock image websites may contain photos that are illegal to use or reserved for a brand. Adding them to your website puts your brand reputation at legal risk.
Moreover, you must choose photos that reinforce your brand voice and style. They should also reflect your unique audience persona. You should sneak a peek into your target market and understand their likes or dislikes. This information will help you to choose images that convey a consistent message.
2. Select Relevant Pictures
Images are the first interaction a prospect makes with a website. For this reason, they must grab the eyeballs and compel the readers to explore more. An average online user spends 15 seconds on a website before they quit. You must take all the steps to capture their attention within these 15 seconds. And images are the best way to do so.
There are billions of royalty-free stock images available online. The trick of the game is to be precise when choosing a picture. This may consume time as you need an image that seems made for your content only. Scan the best websites that provide the best stock images with a closer lens, and you will surely succeed in your mission.
It often helps to contact the photographer and inquire if they have something specific for your needs in their unpublished portfolio.
3. Choose the Best Quality Images
Blurry or misaligned photos can ruin your website’s aesthetics. A pixelated image looks unprofessional and reduces the value of your content. Again, it may take some time to find the best quality images. Still, you will notice a significant increase in the page retention time once you do.
Testing the photo on a website before it goes for the final publication will ensure that it has the proper format. You should also check the impact of these images on overall website optimization through Google PageSpeed. If you find the loading speed slowing down, you can try using image compression tools like Kraken and Optimizilla.
4. Research Website License
Most people opt for stock images because of their economic appeal. However, you should leave no stones unturned when running a background check on these websites. Make sure that the website has the right to use those photos. Also, don’t forget to mention credits where they are due (and required by the website).
It is also crucial to evaluate the license present on the stock photo website. Each site you visit will have an individual license tied to the pictures to specify their usage. Some will give you the freedom to use images the way you want. On the other hand, others may have restrictive conditions.
For example, a particular license may permit a photo to be used on a personal blog but not on a website that generates revenue. A reputable stock images website will clearly mention in its terms how they expect the photos to be used. So make sure to read the document carefully to avoid legal troubles.
5. Use Pictures of People And/or Animals
Using real-life images of humans and animals instantly sparks a connection among the audience. Even when searching for nature photos, it never hurts to add pets or human silhouettes.
And while you are finding stock photos with human subjects, seek candid poses. Study the expression, clothes, and surroundings of the subject. If you want to draw viewers’ attention to a particular discussion (like gadgets), try to choose an image where the subject is handling the same.
6. Use Comical Illustrations
If your brand reputation has some room for humor – go for it!
Research revealed that more than half of Americans want to see more jokes in advertising. A slight touch of comedy brings a humanistic touch to your site and tends to be seen by more people. Out-of-the-box and funny visuals are more likely to improve the conversion rate. So, it is worth splurging them across your content if it allows.
You can’t rely solely on the stock images to boost your website conversion and traffic. It is equally essential to focus on content and audience feedback. A bland page with substandard images can crumple all other optimization efforts.
Hence, don’t hesitate to go the extra mile when looking for stock images. It may be like finding a needle in the haystack. But, once you have that needle, your website traffic will hit the roof!