Bop Design Announces Tips for Choosing the Right Images for a Small Business Website

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Digital media company Netflix refines design to emphasize visuals, Bop Design shares importance of imagery for B2B business.

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A harmonious blend of images, color and placement of content always trumps a website that looks jumbled, haphazardly composed, or thrown together on the fly.

Netflix Service recently revamped its interface to display a new look with a greater focus on imagery. The makeover includes two large stills taken from movie scenes, as well as a “more visual and predictive search engine.”

The same emphasis on images should guide design of a small business website, notes Kara Jensen, creative principal at Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency.

“When visiting a small business website, people naturally gravitate first towards color and imagery,” Jensen says. “These elements, more than the amount or quality of text provided, influence their all-important first impression. A harmonious blend of images, color and placement of content always trumps a website that looks jumbled, haphazardly composed, or thrown together on the fly.”

Here are tips for selecting images that demonstrate a level of professionalism and a sense of a small business’s individual brand:

Quality counts. “Grainy and poorly reproduced photographs on a small business website can be an instant deal-killer,” Jensen notes. Select only high-definition images, while also making sure they come in small file sizes. Don’t make any image larger than it has to be, in order to avoid distortion.

Strive for originality. Consumers are “image-savvy,” meaning they know a stock photo when they see one. Jensen says, “This doesn’t mean stock photos can’t be used on your website, only that relying on the most obvious images comes across as tired and unimaginative—and offers no emotional impact to the viewer. Finding just the right and unexpected stock photo will likely cost a little more, but it’s always more effective.”

Better yet, hire a professional photographer and come up with one-of-a-kind imagery perfectly suited to your product or service.

Evoke an emotional response. Emotion often plays a part in the purchasing process. Images that provoke a favorable response guide viewers towards making the decision to purchase. “Just think of a photograph of someone who looks clearly pleased to be using a product or service,” Jensen says. “This reinforces the prospective customer’s desire to feel equally positive about their own purchasing choice.”

Feature people who resemble your target audience. A website aimed at teenage skateboarding fanatics should avoid using images of infants or senior citizens. On the other hand, a planned community website works best with photographs of cheerful, active retirees. People want to see themselves reflected in the happy, smiling faces they encounter online.

Offer candid images of your team. “The more visitors to your site feel like they ‘know’ your business, the more inclined they’ll be to purchase your product or service,” Jensen says. One way to differentiate a business from the competition is by featuring professional photographs of employees “behind the scenes” or taking part in an event benefiting the public. Also, remember to include friendly-looking headshots of top executives on the website’s “About Us” page.

Choose images that reinforce the brand. Every business has its own unique look and feel—its brand. The images selected for the website should be consistent with that brand. An upscale spa, for example, should feature guests enjoying aspects of the spa experience in photographs that convey tranquility and the benefits of physical rejuvenation. Most importantly, the style of images should be consistent. Meaning if a business goes with entirely black & white photos, an illustration should not be on the next page.

Don’t overdo it. When adding images to different web pages, Jensen advises going by the principle of “less is more.” People don’t want to be bombarded by photographs when they visit a site; the experience is confusing and disorienting and generates a negative reaction. Always strive for a healthy balance of content and imagery.

“If you’re building a new website or updating an existing site, make selection of the right images part of the initial strategy,” Jensen says. “Images carry too much potential value to be left to the last minute.”

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Bop Design is a San Diego web design agency with offices also in Orange County, CA and the New York metro area. Specializing in B2B marketing, Bop Design creates holistic marketing plans geared toward lead generation and business development. Bop Design offers services in branding, logo design, website design and development, responsive web design, SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing. http://www.bopdesign.com

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Kara Jensen
Bop Design
+1 619-330-0730 Ext: 801
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@BopDesignSD
since: 12/2010
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