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How Bad Photos Can Ruin A Good Website

May 23, 2023 | Website Design

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Creating great content is a must in order to have an amazing website. After all, people go to websites to find information that corresponds to their interests and needs. Publishing well-written, relevant, useful, and properly optimized blogs will surely contribute to a memorable User Experience (UX) for your visitors.

Similarly, having effective, well-articulated, and compelling Brand Value Proposition (BVP) and Calls-to-Action (CTAs) strategically situated on the home page and other locations will help generate valuable leads for your online business.

For these reasons, a lot of time and thought is given to the creation of blogs, web copy, and marketing copy. It’s often assumed that once the text copy has been completed, checked, and posted, the website is almost done.

But what about image content – the photos used on the website? It won’t matter how good your content is. If your copy uses bad photos, it could ruin your website.

The Benefits Of Having Good Quality Photos For Your Website

Yes, photos are also content. They are referred to as “image-based content” to distinguish them from text-based content like blogs and web copy.

Photos aren’t only used to adorn web pages. A website designer uses photos and other types of images as another medium to deliver the site’s intended message to its target audience.

They are also used to augment text content. By supporting the web copy with the right photo, you will make it easier for site visitors to understand what the website is about.

That’s why photos are considered content. They are a tool of communication that allows you to connect with your customers. And if your home page fails to make a strong first impression within the first 3 seconds, 50% of your site visitors will click out.

High-quality photos in combination with amazing content can help create that all-important strong first impression on the site visitor.

What are the other benefits of having good quality photos for your website?

1. Brand Building – Photos can help build your brand because your message or BVP can be delivered more effectively through a visual medium compared to a text medium.

A photo can trigger emotions and initiate behaviors that can influence the purchasing decision of the consumer. Look back to the time that you saw an eye-catching, colorful, and well-defined picture of a mouth-watering cheeseburger, fries, and drink.

Maybe you weren’t hungry at the time. But the combination of colors – dark brown, light brown, red, yellow, and green – and the image of the juicy burger patty got the hunger pangs growling and made you want to have that meal at the time.

Now if there was a BVP that said:

“This Big, Beefy, Juicy, Fresh-Off-The-Grill Burger Has Your Name On It.”

You’ll probably head to the restaurant or call delivery right away!

2. Enhance Your BVP – Patience is not the online searcher’s strongest virtue. If he’s not convinced that he came to the right website for answers, he’ll click out and go to another website.

Marketers will wrack their brains trying to come up with the perfect BVP that will convince the site user he made the right decision to click on your URL.

They often overlook the power of having the right photo to support the BVP.

For example, your e-commerce website offers pet care and grooming products and services. Your BVP on the home page reads:

“A Happy Pet Is One Who Looks Good And Feels Good.”

You can use a high-resolution photo of one of your pet care specialists smiling and having a great time grooming a happy and content dog or cat. That kind of photo sends the message that your pet care specialists know how to properly groom and care for customers’ pets.

3. Improve User Experience – Anytime you help a customer make a decision, you’re improving his experience as a user of your website.

A good photo that supports the BVP or makes it easier for the user to understand what your products and services are all about will be appreciated.

Imagine coming across a health and fitness website and the first image you see is that of a typical late afternoon rush hour traffic on the Los Angeles freeway.

The BVP reads:

“Get On The Fast Track To Fitness.”

Instead of nodding in agreement, you’ll have a furrowed brow and find yourself asking, “I don’t get it. What’s the connection of traffic and a fast track?”

You’ll end up leaving the website and never coming back because the experience left a lot to be desired.

4. Boost Search Rankings – If your website consistently generates memorable user experiences for your visitors, Google will reward you with a boost in the search rankings.

And as previously discussed, using good photos will improve user experience because they’ll make it easier for visitors to understand what your website is about.

But there’s another reason why good photos can give your website an assist in the search rankings – fresh, unique content.

We’ll elaborate on this further in the next section. To be clear, when we say fresh and unique content, we mean original photos or images that are proprietary to your business website.

Google loves fresh and unique content because it distinguishes one website from another. And if your photos can’t be found anywhere else but your website, you’ll have a good chance of moving up the search rankings.

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What Are Stock Photos?

If you’re investing in your first website, you’re probably thinking that the best option for high-quality photos would be stock photos, right?

Stock photos are photos that have been licensed by the photographer for anyone to use for their purpose.

Usually, the user has to pay for the use of the photos but there are also arrangements whereby the photographer will only require proper credit to be given to him, or sometimes even a simple “thank you” note would suffice.

Stock photos are available on sites such as Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels. Many of these photos have the “wow” factor. You’ll notice there are differences in the degree of resolution as well as in the types of format.

These aren’t all taken by professional photographers. There are talented people with an eye and feel for capturing moments on camera. And that’s what they are. Moments, ideas, or concepts in the mind of the photographer.

Which stock photo to use is up to you and your web designer. Your idea might be different than what the photographer had in mind. But it doesn’t matter to the photographer as long as he’s compensated for it.

There lies the problem with using stock photography.

The Good And Bad Of Using Stock Photos For Your Website

Anyone can have a different interpretation of what a photo is about. A pharmaceutical company can use a photo of a boy playing with a fire hydrant on a hot summer day to support its message that when you’re healthy, you’ll feel young and energetic every day.

In contrast, a beverage company might see the same photo and use it as imagery for their products as “refreshing on a hot, sunny day”.

Anyone can use stock photos. The ones you chose for your website might be found on other websites.

Don’t get us wrong. Yes, you can use stock photos for your website. They are beautiful and affordable, and using them will save time. But another website could be using them. This will diminish the uniqueness factor of your website and discourage Google from moving you up in the search rankings.

Having your website photos appear on other websites might affect your brand-building efforts.

A person who’s seen the photos on another website might have already associated the images with a different business or industry. It’s not uncommon to find websites with photos that make you go, “Where have I seen these photos before?”

Not that it’s not possible, but aligning your BVP with the same photos and trying to establish relevance to the user will certainly be a challenge for your marketing team.

There’s another option for photos that you can consider.

The Good And Bad Of Using Original Photos For Your Website

Original photos are photos that are proprietary to your business. They are fresh and unique. No one has access to them. No one can arbitrarily use them.

Thus, the biggest advantage of using original, proprietary photos is that they can only be seen on your website. Original photos provide fresh and unique content to your web pages. If properly optimized, Google will reward you in the search rankings.

Original photos are taken with intent and purpose. They were developed based on a concept; an idea that’s intended to support the message or BVP of your business.

And that’s why using original photos cost more. You have to bear the cost of producing them.

Below are some of the expenses you might incur when you decide to have proprietary photos:

  • Professional Photographer
  • Actors
  • Makeup Artist
  • Set Designer
  • Rent for space
  • Graphic Artist

Of course, you’ll need to license these photos to make it illegal for anyone to use them without your permission. In comparison, with stock photos, you only have to cover the cost of legally using them for your website.

Will the cost be worth it?

From the perspective of brand-building, SEO, and search rankings, the answer is a resounding “Yes”.

Original photos will make your website stand out. If properly conceptualized and produced, the photos can successfully resonate with your target audience and get your message across effectively.

5 Tips For Choosing The Best Photos For Your Website

If time and budget are tight, it’s perfectly fine to use stock photos for your website. Conversely, if you’re not in a rush and have a bigger budget, we suggest having original photos done. What’s important is to get the best photos you possibly can for your website.

Here are 5 tips to help you in the selection process.

1. Make sure the photos are relevant to your business. Actively participate in the selection process with your web designer, graphic designer, and digital marketing manager.

2. The photos you choose must make it easy for your site users to understand the message you’re trying to convey. Avoid using photos that are subject to multiple interpretations.

3. Use high-resolution images in the right format. Jpg files are ideal for photos while Pngs are better for graphics.

4. Hire real people as actors. There are entrepreneurs who might prefer celebrities or influencers because of the size of their following. But paid endorsements might not come across as sincere or genuine as simple people.

Some businesses even ask their customers to appear in their marketing copy.

5. Use Alt Txt to optimize the images. Alt Txt is a 100-word description of what the image is all about. Site visitors won’t see the description but the search engine can. It will help the search engine understand your image and determine if it’s relevant or not.

Can good photos affect user experience?

Yes, because high-resolution photos will take time to load. Just don’t overpopulate your web pages with high-resolution photos and your site’s download speed won’t be as compromised.


Take the time to plan and select the right photos for your website. If you have multiple choices for images, the website designer can do a beta test to find out which photos resonate more with your target audience.

Using the right photos is especially important for e-commerce websites. Consumers shop with their eyes. High-resolution images of your products taken at multiple angles will make it easier for your visitors to firm up their buying decisions.

If you’re thinking of setting up a website for your business, give us a call or an email. We’ll take you through the entire process and help you choose the best photos for your website.

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