Key #1 thing when you start a business is a website.
In 2018, if you don't have a website then you may as well not exist, because it's just too easy to have one.
It's how people can find you, and while having the social media pages and feeds is great, you want to have somewhere to channel those interested folks to to buy your services.
In your website a key #1 thing you need are quality images that help convey what your business is about right when they click onto your site.
Why? Because visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and when you only have maybe 4 seconds to grab the attention of your reader, you want to work fast.
Many creatives will use stock images or DIY their images, which is better than having no images at all, but what do you do when you are ready to level up your business and create a user experience that creates a connection?
Here are the top 5 types of images you need on your website.
1) A large header image on the home page.
Like I mentioned before, your website has to convey what it's about extremely fast, and tell the reader they are in the right place.
If you choose to do that with text, the reader may or may not choose to read it but if you do it with an image, then the moment their eyes land on that page, they are getting an idea of what you are about.
So, when building your website, especially as a creative, choose a beautiful and eye-catching image that conveys what they will find on your site, and you'll get their attention for longer than those pesky 4 seconds.
2) A quality, professional headshot of you looking at the camera.
I know a lot of creatives that shy away from this one. They pick a photo of them in a group with others, or a snap off of their phone, but really, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do this.
I suggest your about page has a professional photo of you looking directly at that camera, and, you know... hopefully looking happy about it 🙂
People connect more when you've looked into their eyes. It shows respect (in our culture at least) and is a psychological trigger that you are paying attention. And yes, this even works in photos. It's a sure fire way to create connection!
So for your about page, have at least one photo of yourself. Preferably a headshot (meaning including your head and shoulders, but no farther away than that) and be looking at the camera and people will connect more.
2b) Have more than one photo of yourself.
Did you know that the more often someone sees you (or an image of you), the more familiar you become?
The more familiar something is, the more likely you look favorably on it.
So, I know this option is one that may scare folks off because they don't want their site to be just photos of themselves, but it's a smart thing to think about if you want to create a connection with the people on your website, enticing them to inquire.
Especially if what you offer is a service that is not tangible at the moment of buying.
Why does this work?
You know when you eat something once and don't like it, but after say, 4-5 times of trying it, the food starts to "grow" on you. This is because it is no longer new and unfamiliar to your brain, and so it's deemed as okay. It's the same idea as how often people see your image.
This is also why celebrities feel familiar to us even though we don't know them at all!
So, if you find a way to show images of yourself 3-5 times on your website, the viewer will become more familiar with you and will start to trust you more automatically. It doesn't have to be all in the same page, it's actually better to have your image peppered throughout your site.
For this tip, I do say to walk with caution though, as while you do want to be more familiar and liked by your clientele, you don't want to turn a potential client off with thinking that the entire website is all about you and not about them. It's a fine line, but one that if done correctly, can be uber helpful to your connection right off the bat!
3) Images of what you offer
This one goes without saying, but you should show images of what you sell, and those images need to be good. Snap shots won't do.
We are a visually savvy world, and if you show snap shots instead of high quality images of what you are selling then the viewer will judge your product or service based on the quality of the image. They most likely don't know that is what is happening, but it is.
We see beautiful images everyday all day long on Instagram, Facebook, blogs and websites that we know what good imagery looks like. Our brains associate how good the image looks to how good the product or service is of it.
It's your services first impression... don't make it a crappy one if you want to entice people to buy.
4) Images are best if they convey emotion and tell a story
Our brains are hard wired to remember stories. This is why you can remember the story of the nursery rhymes you sang when you were a kid. This is why you can remember the plot and feeling of the movie you saw last week. And you know instantly if you liked it or not.
But for the life of you, you can't remember the details in the spreadsheet you last saw.
Use the images on your website to convey the story of your brand. Show who you are and connect the images to the text you share.
Because the image will stop the reader, getting their attention and then the caption or text surrounding it will fully set the story in their minds.
This is why great copywriting is so important to pair with your images, but that is a post for another day!
5) Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes images are not required on all websites in my option, but when you are a creative, or you offer a service, showing people what it will look like to work with you is a great way to create connection that lasts.
Especially if you are a service provider like a planner, a coach, or a personal trainer etc. It can be hard to convey just what someone is paying for without having those behind the scenes photos to help the story along.
If you create products you probably don't need the behind the scenes, but if that product is hand cut earrings made from recycled doors from demolished houses? Then yes, showing what it is you do will make more of an impact than just showing the final product.
About the Author: Becca Ellison is a brand photographer in the Seattle area who creates on brand images for small businesses like yours, helping make your website stand out and create connection with your ideal clients. From website to social media and blog content needs, we strategically capture your brands essence in images which will make your ideal client feel like they know, like, and trust you before you've even chatted. www.brandyoursmallbusiness.com