The digital marketplace is filled with sharks that are all set to eat up other creatures in this ocean.
One wrong move by a brand could cause a sharp decline in its market reputation and allow its rivals to beat them. Thus, it is time for brands to rethink their business strategies.
Image optimization is one of the keys to building a successful online store. Enabling the visuals to convey a strong message without consuming much of their time helps the prospects trust you and move into the conversion pipeline.
PowerReviews discovered that 72% of consumers regularly or always seek out visual content before purchasing. Millennials are especially impacted by this trend, with 81% of consumers between the age of 18 – 29 seeking visual content.
But we aren’t all professional photographers, and sometimes our resources don’t allow us to hire one. This is where stock photographs come in handy. The readily-available pictures are the perfect solution for your brand’s visual requirements.
But do remember that even the best stock photos need to be tweaked to ensure they abide by the optimization rules. This guide explains how to choose and prepare images for your website.
Let’s have a look and start creating great visuals for your site.
Dos and Don’ts of Using Stock Images
Do: Prioritize Relevance
One of the primary mistakes designers often make is choosing irrelevant images for the website. Using a photo that doesn’t illustrate or support the content may bring more views but fails to impress the visitors.
To find the relevant picture in the stock image library, you can use the available filters on the website and pick an image to complement the content.
Don’t: Choose Overused Images
Some stock images are repeatedly found on the Internet. If you are using a generic or overused image, it may compromise content credibility. To avoid the risk, do a Google search of the picture or use the
TinEye tool before uploading it on the website. This will enable you to determine if the photo is overused and fits the website.
Do: Check the License
It is essential to verify the license of a stock image library to ensure your website doesn’t break any legal conditions. These licenses will also explain if you can edit and use the images for “resale” products or commercial marketing platforms.
Generally, there are three types of licenses on stock image libraries:
- Rights Managed
The library may modify its license as per the changing preferences. This makes it essential for the brands to read the license terms before signing up.
Don’t: Ignore the Details
Once you have checked the image quality and relevance, it is time to study the minute details. For instance, an old photo from the 80s may have a lower quality than one taken in the 2000s.
Similarly, skip photos that seem bogus and meaningless. The audience today has this surprising instinct to detect fake expressions. Instead, look for photos that deliver genuine expressions and reflect real-life experiences.
Stock photos are an incredible way to make a website visually appealing without spending many resources. You can always put a spin on the photos to reflect your brand and ensure they are up to the SEO guidelines.
The Top Websites for Stock Photos
Stock photo websites provide quality images for the design, media, and entertainment industries. The high demand for stock images has compelled these websites to improve their game.
Here is a quick rundown of the stock images libraries to find relevant and high-quality photos:
Shutterstock is the leading global supplier of licensed illustrations, photos, vectors, music, and videos to businesses. It has a community of 1 million contributors enabling the company to add hundreds of thousands of weekly creative assets.
Since its launch in 2000, iStock has created a crowd-sourced stock industry. The website soon became a source of user-generated illustrations, vectors, videos, and photographs. It has enabled artists to earn by licensing their stock content to global organizations and individuals.
Getty Images is the best platform to find images related to recent news stories and celebrities. You can access these premium-quality images after subscribing to the library. It has a library of over 477 million assets that creative professionals could use to enhance their content.
StockPhotos is a website that empowers creativity with a broad spectrum of images covering illustrations, icons, vehicle templates, and digital tools. It brings new images weekly for its clients and offers multiple packages for them to choose from.
Stock photos have plenty of use cases. A curated collection of images is always valued by businesses that don’t have the resources to hire a professional photographer. Besides the ones mentioned here, you can find many other stock image libraries. It is essential to figure out your business needs and available resources before you make the final call.
How to Prepare the Images for a Website?
Once you have chosen a few images for your website, optimizing them is the next step. Here are some tips that will help you in this regard:
Resize the Image
Resizing the photo is the first step to ensure you don’t upload heavier than required images. The dimensions you should resize to depend on where you want to place the photo on the website.
In most cases, the photo shouldn’t be over 900 pixels high and 1200 pixels wide. Consult a professional web designer to know the appropriate dimensions. Tools like Squoosh and FotoSizer are beneficial in this regard.
Choose the Right File Type
The metadata in photos tends to increase its size. If there is no specific reason to keep this metadata, you can strip it away without reducing the image quality. After you have resized an image, upload it to Kraken.io or TinyPNG to optimize the photo and evaluate how much you can save.
TinyPNG is a fast and helpful tool. It has a Photoshop plugin, while Kraken.io has a WordPress plugin. You can choose a tool according to your website and content requirements.
Name the Image Correctly to Support SEO
Most people ignore naming their images. However, those who rename their images before uploading them on the websites find a boost in their SEO. For consistency, you can use lowercase letters and numbers from 0 to 9. Also, it is recommended to use hyphens instead of underscores.
Use the Correct File Type
When saving an image on your computer, you will come across different file types. Of all these, JPG and PNG formats are the most common ones. Remember the following tips when saving the images that you will later use on a website:
Photos should be saved as JPGs
This type of file can contain all colors of an image in an efficient and small size. When using a JPG file, you will not get an enormous file obtained when saving it in PNG.
Large graphic files should be saved as PNGs
These images primarily include infographics, logos, and photos with plenty of text. PNGs have a higher quality than JPGs, but they have a large file size.
PNG format will deal with text and color areas with fine crisp lines. This allows zooming in the photos without losing their quality.
Long loading times could be highly irritating for website visitors. And a poor user experience can severely hurt the conversion rate. If you aim for happy and repeated customers, focus on decreasing the page load speed and improving the overall user experience. All you need to do is optimize the images according to the mentioned tips and design content along the same lines. If you manage to hit all the right chords, you will notice a gradual increase in the conversion rate.