Smartest Uses of Stock Photos for Visually Powerful Websites

The importance of visual appealing is “web design 101” at this point. Even if you are not a web designer and you’ve never owned a site, it’s very likely that you instinctively feel a good website has to be visually beautiful. And you’re absolutely right.

Photography is an inseparable element for visual impact in website design, but one that many might think is out of their reach, cost-wise. Plus, it is not enough with throwing a photo here or there in your layout: there are several tips to achieve powerful sites using images.

We will show you not only the super cost-efficient resource of royalty-free stock photos but also the top expert tips to use them in a truly eye-catching, engaging and successful website.

Photos in Websites: Yes, Always

We mentioned the visual aspect of a website is very important, and that most of you already know or sense this. This is well-documented and verified by nearly all of the latest and most advanced researches that include eye-tracking technology and consumer behavior analysis.

Cross-field, experts agree that while we were always very visual a species, such a trace is ever so increased today thanks to the latest technological developments of our times. From digital imagery to Internet access for the masses, from smartphone photography to omnipresent social media networks, the web 2.0 and the mobile platforms with which we now interact on a minute basis are turning into a highly visual realm, not only in quantity but also in quality.

And this is not just to please the potential viewer from an aesthetic POV --though it’s not one to be overlooked-- but because in the practice it is undeniable that web pages with high resolution, strategically chosen and placed photos perform a lot better than the rest.

In today’s online world, anything you want to say to your audience will be said better, louder and clearer through compelling photos. They can help you capture your visitor’s attention and deliver your intended message successfully, serving to both reach your site’s goals and keep the feared bouncing rate low.

This is why using photos on websites should not even be a question. The answer will always be yes.

Royalty-Free Stock Photos: A Round & Sound Resource for Web Design

We are at knowing a powerful website needs high-res photos that are beautiful and professional. At this point, those under restrictive budgets might start growing concerned as professional photography is a considerable cost that not all can cover.

Those working with a short deadline might feel uneasy too, knowing to commission a photo shoot can take up to weeks from the moment you contact the photographer to the time the final files are delivered.

But there is no reason to stress: royalty-free stock photography efficiently solves both the money and time constraints at once. At very affordable rates that go from $30 to as little as less than $0.50 per photo (and they’re one-time-fees!) when buying in bulk, Royalty Free stock photos are ready to download and use, legally and honoring artist’s work.

If such low prices are still out of your possibilities --or if you simply love a chance to save your bucks--, there is also free stock photos. Now, these can be trickier, as you must find good quality photos and make sure they are safe to use. But that won’t be a problem if you keep this great list of the best stock photo sites for websites at hand - it includes advice on the best stock photo agencies to buy cheap royalty-free images too!

Stock photos are professionally shot, with superb technical quality and commercial value, in high resolution that suits all kind of uses. Furthermore, the Royalty Free license they come with gives you multi-purpose rights: you pay for the photo once, and get to use it forever and not only on your website but also in any other projects you wish - marketing campaigns, social media posts, ads, for example.

This is what makes royalty-free stock photography such a valuable resource for web design, one that should be in every designer’s toolkit.


The Right Kind of Images for Websites: Authentic & High Quality

Mobile phones with cameras and massive social media platforms not only flooded us with millions of photos to see every day, but they also influenced photography trends across all fields. We now constantly crave the kind of photos we see in social media (and our phone’s media libraries) all the time: intimate, spontaneous, natural.

These kind of photos are quintessential of relatability and that’s why viewers connect with them more: they can see themselves in such images. The hottest photography trend for websites (and nearly all purposes really) at the moment is that of authentic, realistic and intimate images.

Photos of people will always be the most evergreen topic, as it’s proven they can evoke and provoke emotions in viewers like no other image can. What you want is photos of real, good looking and interesting people, doing everyday things in a realistic way - No more photos of perfect women cringeworthily smiling as they eat their greens. And definitely make sure to include people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and styles! You want people that look great, but the kind of people you can walk by on the street.

Of course, always go for high-resolution photos, shot and edited by skilled professionals. The key is for images to feel realistic and effortless… but still be technically and aesthetically on point.

Royalty-free photos, as we just told you, cover all of these needs and more. You will find millions of very high-res, beautiful and authentic stock photos ready to brighten up your site in the blink of an eye.

Efficient Use of Images in Websites: Optimize or Else

A visually beautiful site that is slow and takes too long to load is a complete waste: your visitors are very much likely to bounce back from it as quickly as they would if it was poorly designed. Load speed and sleek functionality must merge with powerful visuals, not submit to them.

This is the immediate catch in using photos for websites: the bigger the photos are and the more of them you add to your page, the heavier and slower it will be.

Luckily technology is there to save the day (and your website), in a very simple way: image optimization software tools compress your image files making them lighter and significantly improving your site’s load speed, making possible to use very high-res photos in websites without any negative impact in the user experience.

There are both free and premium options to choose from. See some of the best along with pro practices to optimize your images in this list of the best image optimization tips for SEO.

The Precise Use for Images in Websites: Purpose & Connection

The most beautiful and trendier high-resolution photos won’t do the trick on your site if you don’t use them strategically, though. A wise use of photos in websites implies finding the right spot between where it makes sense to add a photo in the design, and where --and how-- it can serve an important function in it.

The connection of photos with your goals is a good start point. Select images with a direct liaison with your brand, your company and the targets your site is set to hit. The purpose of each part of the design also helps in finding the best possible placement for photos, as well as picking the ideal image for each location.

Think of what you want the user to do in that part of the page - to know what you’re offering? To understand something? To buy what you’re selling? And how you want them to do it - just by seeing an image? Reading a bit of copy? Clicking on a button? With that info, you can expertly reap the benefits of a photo for your site.

Photos can actually lead your visitors' eyes to where you want them to go. For this, the orientation of the eyes, the hands and the body of people in your photo should more or less evidently point to where you want them to look.

Plus, “one picture is worth a thousand words” line couldn’t be truer: one single photo with the perfect composition can explain your product or service better than any chunk of copy. This is not limited to what you show in the image but includes how you show it.

Remember our image style tips: people pictures convey and trigger emotions, one of the most powerful user engagement keys. So make sure to select a photo where the model/s are exhibiting the ideal expression and feel you want to communicate.

A fictional scenario for a bit of visual help: Let’s say you’re designing a website to promote a brand of organic edibles, and you want customers to click on a call to action that leads to your product gallery. A flat-lay shot of fresh colourful veggies on a rustic wood table, overlaying the call to action phrase would be cool… A photo of a person joyfully choosing veggies in a farmer’s market, with their eyes looking at and their hand casually reaching out to where your actionable button is placed, that would be perfection.

Conclusion: Low Cost, Visually Powerful Sites are Possible Using Images Wisely

As we said in the beginning, it’s not enough with throwing photos --no matter how lovely or sharp-- on your site to make it visually appealing or efficiently performing. That is done by using photos on your website in the smartest possible ways, that you just learned.

A cost-beneficial and accessible method to source the beautiful and professional photography you will need to lift your site’s appeal is to use royalty-free stock photos that, being low cost or free, cover all your image needs elegantly and quickly without threatening your budget.

Armed with these resources, you will soon see that visually powerful websites are right at your reach!


Networking At A Trade Event – How To Excel

Networking at a trade event can be a great idea. It gives you the tools to build your audience, to connect with like-minded people and projects, and to generally help raise your profile. People at trade shows are there for one purpose and one purpose only, to see what’s on offer. So offer something. Networking at trade events can seem quite scary upon first consideration. Not only do you have to be in your best ‘presentation mode’ for a number of hours or days, but there’s a very real chance of you being shown up by a business similar to yours, effectively ruining your investment in being there.


Don’t let this happen. Learn how to network. Of course, if you have this goal in mind, there’s no need to traipse around the internet trying to figure out how to make our initial advice a reality. We’ve condensed some of the best information for you below:


Be Attractive


We’re not talking about physical appearance. Your stand needs to exhibit something that catches the eye, out of hundreds of other booths trying to do the same. You might go for a particular size, such as a 10x10 trade show booth, or perhaps custom design the fringes with neon lighting. You might make it mysterious, such as crafting a booth with a curtain that by presence alone asks people to come and find out what’s within.


It might be that you dress those members of your staff presenting inappropriate cool uniforms, or even those with novel and humorous appeal. For example, if the product you’re trying to sell is some variant on Wild West rum, dressing as cowboys can certainly turn heads.


Think about how to brand this particular square footing dedicated to you, and you’ll no doubt begin to spawn ideas from that point. Why is this important? Because when you take care of this, people will come to you. Networking will be easier when people want to meet you and understand what your operation is all about.


Business Cards


Business cards are important to craft. They help you spread the word to people who might not be able to absorb the full offering of your trade presence. Think of ingenious methods of transferring them. You might give out goody bags to those who take part in your offering, and give them three or four business cards in there. They will likely make their way somewhere.

You might decide to place carefully crafted ‘gotcha’ cards in the pockets of those attending the audience, but remember this might be worthwhile at a humorous event, perhaps not a highly executive business show.


Offer Something New


Offering something new is worthwhile to trade show networking. Everyone knows the usual pace of networking. Greeting, smiling, exchanging information could be relatively boring. It might be worth walking around offering free samples to other businesses, or having a VIP section even more beautifully decorated than your main frontal showing. Giving people something to think about, and a unique platform of interest will ensure they feel more connected to you than others, because you will be the one offering something worth remembering.


With these simple efforts, networking at a trade event will be more than worthwhile.


Build an Email List

Why You Need to Build an Email List For Your Business Right Now

If you talk to some small business owners about email lists, they can see the whole thing as positively archaic. It can seem to some like it is going back a little, especially when you think about all that we have at the moment, from social media and websites. However, it still remains a really vital tool for your online marketing strategy for your small business. If you think about the social platforms that you have to join, they all have a requirement of an email address. So it is still very much relevant, and still a modern way to communicate.


The advantage for small business owners is that having an email list of subscribers is a great way to help your business. Sites like show just how much creating an email list can have on ROI, especially compared to other online marketing methods. Plus, it also has advantages over modern media. Think about the social platforms that you use, for instance. What happens if they just become unpopular or your target audience just get a little tired of it? This happened to things like MySpace, and is Snapchat still what it once was? If social media platforms go and you don’t have an email list, then you can lose a lot of customers. Having an email list helps you to remind them that you’re still there, and you can share the latest offers and news with them.


There are plenty of other advantages to email lists too. Think about how personal they are. They can bed edited to have that person’s name or share things that they might like because they bought some similar from you before. Plus, it lands right in their inbox. It is way more personal than simply seeing something on your social media feed. And in a similar way, emails like this are also pretty necessary. People will be checking emails pretty much daily, at work and at home, as there are things that they need on there, from work news to things like their kid's school information. So it is something that will get noticed when your brand pops up in their inbox. People don’t always check their feed or their Instagram feed, and if they didn’t for a few days, then that is people that you are missing with your social content.


Creating an email list and then sending out newsletters or information on it is pretty inexpensive too. A lot of online marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot, but this is going to be one of the ways that cost the least. You can also really make it customizable, which is what is going to help draw your customers in and keep them coming back to your business again and again.


There are several ways to build up an email or subscriber list for your business. But starting sooner rather than later is a good way to not miss anyone. An incentive to join usually helps, but if people like what they see and good things come into their inbox, then they will stick around.


7 Factors That Can Make Or Break Your Brand Identity

Every entrepreneur starts a business with the dream of building a successful brand, but this is not always an easy journey because it will require consistency, hard work, and willingness to take risks and handle challenges. Building a brand is not a one-day activity but a journey that is full of challenges and winnings here and there.

The reputation of the brand needs to be cultivated consistently and avoid things that can ruin its reputation along the way. It is easier to break a brand in today’s digital world as compared to earlier ages due to the popularity of the internet especially social media where people tend to share their views and opinions about anything freely. Below are some of the factors to consider when building your brand identity or reputation because they will either make it or break it.


  1. Product Review And Your Feedback Towards Them

Whether you like or not, there will be someone out there who will have something to say about your brand. Whatever is said can either be positive or negative and sometimes you may not have much control over what people want to say about your brand. However, the way you respond to the customers’ review will determine whether you will kill your brand or make it. For instance, in case there is a positive review, it is always nice to appreciate the reviewer and also promise to keep up the good work. If it’s a bad review, you will have to respond too by being polite and promise to handle the issue in a manner that you are sure of because again you do not want to promise your clients something that you cannot provide.


  1. Online Presence

In today’s digital world, people tend to shop and order commodities from the internet a lot. In this case, only those who are available online and have provided relevant information about their brand will survive in the competitive business environment. Being present on the internet and interacting with customers is very crucial when it comes to brand building. Sometimes you may need to partner with a digital marketing company to improve your online presence by keeping you up-to-date and consistent.


  1. Market Research

Most businesses invest in market research when their product is new or when venturing into new markets only and then relax after that. If you want to build and maintain your brand identity, you must continue to carry out market research so as to be updated on new trends in the market. This will help the brand to remain relevant to the consumers otherwise they will shift to competitors who have decided to adapt to changes in the market.


  1. Quality Control

After making sure that you interact well with your clients both on online platforms or offline, there is the need to ensure that your products are of good quality. In this case, there is the need to take charge in controlling all operations of the business and the output itself. Customers will expect not only a top-notch quality but also the consistency of the same. If a company can master the trick of quality control in all operations, there is a guarantee of a positive brand reputation.


  1. Consistency

Consistency is a very wide aspect when it comes to brand building because it is required in almost all operations. The aspect is significant in production, packaging, product design, posting of information on online platforms, selling strategies and customer service. While this can be difficult to achieve at times, some experts can surely help in providing a consistent branding material for all your means. You can trust an experienced brand-building service provider Brandmatters who looks after all your branding affairs. Sometimes seeking expert advice from a third party can help you to do something that you never thought could be achieved.


  1. Uniqueness

One mistake that many businesses do is trying to mimic competitors brand characteristics because they think they are successful. What they forget is that product differentiation and uniqueness is one brand characteristic that makes it successful in both new and existing market. Trying to copy other people’s brand has a higher chance of breaking your brand than when you design and produce something unique as long as the quality is top notch and consistent.


  1. Visibility And Availability

How easy is it to find your brand whether on online or physical stores? This is a matter of marketing and ensuring the availability of your products where clients can reach them with ease. If clients know that they can only find your products in specific stores only or when they order from online stores delivery is always delayed, your brand reputation will be ruined very fast. Again, how many people are aware of the existence of your product? Marketing strategies should be consistent and effective for people to know your brand and love it.

How To Prepare Your SEO For The Holiday Season

How To Prepare Your SEO For The Holiday Season

The weather is still far from cold winter days with everything covered in snow, and the holidays are only yet to come. Still, if you have a website, and have to prepare for all the online sales that you are going to have during the holidays, then it’s already high time that you start getting ready. In fact, you can never say that it’s early to start preparing for this period, as you need to be on top of your game when things start to get busy.

So, by now you have probably learned enough about SEO mistakes that you should avoid. Now, keeping the upcoming holidays in mind, you need to remember the fact that ranking properly on Google isn’t something that happens over the course of a day or two, so if you haven’t started working on your holiday SEO strategy, then you should do it now. Remember that next to Christmas, you’ve got a bunch of other important dates to cover, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So come up with your best content for the occasions and get ready to rumble.

Create appropriate landing pages

Every upcoming holiday should have its own set of landing pages which should be based on keywords and terms related to that particular date. The pages can be static. All that is really important is that you put the most effort into keywords which will most probably trend online during that period, and learn a bit from your previous campaigns if you have had run them before.

Focus closely on the design of the pages so that they perfectly fit the given holiday. Make your theme be all about it, throw in proper decorations, and include appropriate images. Also, these pages will do just great for promotion via social media networks. Furthermore, your email marketing campaigns will lead directly to them, so that you get to convert for the desired keywords much better.

Offer holiday-themed deals

How To Prepare Your SEO For The Holiday SeasonYour website’s theme does one part of the job, but you should also make sure that you offer your customers something that they will find valuable. Make sure that you are not just a copy of your competition’s idea, but provide people with something that they can only get from you. Rely on your strengths and show the true significance of your business both to you and your customer base.

Look at what other businesses are doing and take the idea one step ahead, or come up with something completely unique. Once you’ve got what it takes, promote it as much as you can (within reasonable limits).

Make sure that your online store’s frontend and backend are proper

Further, then creating the perfect landing pages, you need to make the best possible website content for your holiday customers and make sure that it’s perfectly optimized for your SEO efforts. What this means is that you make sure that some of the common SEO aspects are in place, such as H1 and H2 headers, page loading speed, as well as getting rid of any duplicate content.

Also, while your website visitors won’t be able to see your backend, it certainly has to be top-notch and fully SEO optimized, or things will go awry really fast. So, get all your code straight, make sure that every image that you use is well-optimized, and take care of your sitemaps, as it is of vital importance, according to expert SEO agency in Brisbane.

Don’t forget to think mobile

As you are probably well aware, a huge number of your customers will be purchasing your products by using their mobile devices. The number of mobile users is only growing, and there is no denying of the fact that we live in an era of smartphones, where even your old folks probably have one (even though they may not be as good as using it as youngsters). Therefore, it goes without saying that your website needs to be mobile-friendly.

And when we say mobile-friendly, it means more than just making sure that the screen resolution fits the screen of a given device. No, you have to optimize every little bit of it. Make sure that all the buttons are responsive and all choices are there for mobile users. Your customer base will be very disappointed if they come to your website and realize that they are going to have trouble navigating it due to it not being properly optimized for their device. This is generally the case, but during the holidays, it’s even twice as much important. Because this is when shopping becomes hectic, as groups of customers turn into crowds, and sales reach their annual peak. So, if your website doesn’t provide the right user experience to your holiday buyers, then they will certainly look for a similar product somewhere else.

Keep in mind that the holiday season is the time of the year when your sales can go through the roof. It is the most hectic period for all kinds of shops, which means that your website needs to be properly optimized for your customer base. You need to make sure that your SEO efforts are top-notch, and start preparing on time so that your website gets the most traffic as well as conversions once the chaos begins.