Imagery is often a hot topic of conversation when discussing content for your brand new B2B WordPress website, and rightly so. The images you choose play a key role in the visual aesthetic of your company’s website.
Although original images are almost always preferred to stock, we know that it may not always be possible. This article explores the advantages of each, and provides a guide on how to pick stock images if commissioning original photography is not an option.
What are stock images?
Stock images/photography are generic images ready for use (free or paid for). Often these will be made broad and general, so that they appeal and are applicable to the largest number of projects, businesses, and purposes.
It is quite common for companies to rely on stock images as opposed to funding the production of their own imagery. As stock imagery can be used by everyone and is created for everyone, it may not necessarily do a good job of representing your brand. When deciding on images for your B2B website it’s important that the chosen images reflect your brand identity.
Stock imagery can work in some instances but more often than not these types of images can make or break a design. Not only can stock image outdate a B2B website, but it also detracts from your UX and can make the user journey feel impersonal. So it’s important to choose these images carefully or explore other potential solutions for imagery that go further in reflecting your brand’s true identity.
Perhaps you’re thinking that you don’t have the time or budget to organise a photoshoot? Or that stock imagery surely can’t have that much of an impact on your website? In actual fact, stock imagery can create inauthenticity.
It can also have a huge impact on the performance of your website. When internet-based research lab Marketing Experiments carried out A/B testing on an actual photo of their client vs one of their top performing stock photos on a client’s web page, results showed that the authentic photo saw nearly a 35% higher conversion rate than the page with the stock photo.
You may think that stock imagery will save you money, which in the short term is beneficial. However, creating custom photography will help you build trust and portray your unique identity to targeted users.
How to select stock images
Images in high resolution
It’s important to have images that are at a high resolution on your website as the quality of your images will reflect your company. You want the images to portray professionalism and that the services/product offering is of a high standard. These images play a huge part in the visual impact of representing your brand and services.
Images that won’t outdate your website
Outdated stock imagery often comes in two forms. The first is the quality of the photography. You want to make sure the images you are choosing have been captured with a modern, high resolution camera.
The second is what is displayed in that photo. For example, if the image contains people, you want to have people that are not only on brand but also up to date with current trends. Elements such as clothing, hair cuts, vehicles or technology, i.e. iPhones or laptops can suggest whether an image is current or outdated.
Avoid generic and clinical stock imagery
There is stock imagery out there that can seem artificial and cliche and are often overused. You often see stock imagery that contains people with beaming smiles in a bright office space with vibrant colours.
You should avoid this type of stock imagery at all costs if you want your website to stand out from your businesses competitors. So, when selecting your imagery take a look at the imagery your competitors are using and find a different way to represent your similar product/service offering.
It is also important to select images that have that human element to appeal to your users. This could even be editing your stock imagery in a certain way to make it more tailored to your content and visual representation.
Match your content and choose images that are relevant to your business
Match your content and choose images that are relevant to your business – you should be choosing images that link specifically to your brand messaging and content on your website. You want your imagery to have a strong connection to the content. This will reinforce your messaging, rather than using images as placeholders that aren’t meaningful to your targeted audience.
Using real photography is a long term investment and will ultimately increase conversion rates on your website which is likely to outweigh the costs spent in producing authentic images that relate to your brand and targeted users.
Users want to be able to connect to the imagery on your website, so having imagery that has a humanising element will appeal more to your audience rather than images that seem cold and generic.
However, the reality is that not every company will have the budget to fund their own bespoke imagery on their website. If you are going to use stock imagery, it is important to select images of a high quality that won’t outdate your brand new WordPress website.
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Internal day: June 2021
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