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How to choose images for your website | A complete guide

Boost engagement, brand identity, and SEO with the perfect visuals

Images play a crucial role in the success of any website. A good image can make a real difference in user engagement and impact the overall effectiveness of your site. The visual aspect of your site captures attention and helps display your brand’s personality, allowing visitors to connect with your unique identity instantly.  

By incorporating storytelling through visuals, you can create a more immersive and memorable experience for users, effectively communicating your brand’s narrative and values. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the types of visuals you can add to your site, what factors to consider when picking visuals, and additional aspects to you should consider before publishing your site.  

Types of visuals you can add to your website

Choosing the right types of images for your website is essential for creating an engaging and effective online presence. Different types of visuals can be used strategically across various pages to enhance user experience and convey your brand message.


Photography is a powerful tool for creating a human connection on your website. High-quality photos, especially those featuring real people, can significantly enhance the user experience and build trust with your audience.

When it comes to sourcing photos, you have two primary options: stock photos and in-house photography.

Stock photos

Stock photos are easily accessible and low in cost, which makes them a convenient choice for many businesses. However, they can often appear generic and overused, which might undermine your brand’s uniqueness. It’s crucial to select stock photos carefully to ensure they resonate with your brand’s identity and avoid clichés.

Professional photography

Hiring a professional photographer to create custom photos lets you show off your business in a more authentic way. Custom photography is particularly effective for demonstrating how your products are used by real people, providing a genuine and relatable context that can boost user engagement and trust. While this option can be more expensive initially, this more personal approach can improve your website’s appeal.

Custom photographs are also a must for certain sections of your website. For example, you might want to add team or office photos to your ‘About Us’ page to give visitors a glimpse into the people behind your brand, fostering a sense of authenticity and approachability.

Illustrations and graphics

Illustrations and graphics can add a creative and distinctive touch to your website. Illustrations also explain complex concepts in a digestible and visually appealing way, making them easier for your audience to understand.

For example, a software company might use illustrations to depict their workflow or the benefits of their services, turning complex information into clear, easy-to-follow visuals.

They can also help keep a cohesive visual theme across different sections of your website. By using a consistent illustration style, you can create a unified look that reinforces your brand identity.

This consistency enhances the overall user experience, making your site look polished and professional.


Videos offer a dynamic and more engaging way to convey information. If your products require tutorials and how-to guides, videos are particularly necessary for providing clear, step-by-step visual instructions that can enhance user understanding and retention.

Incorporating videos into your website can make your site more appealing and informative, which helps the user experience and by extension, your retention rates.

Whether you’re demonstrating a product, explaining a concept, or sharing customer testimonials, videos can convey a wealth of information quickly and effectively.

For more detailed guidance on how to integrate videos into your website, check out our comprehensive guide to incorporating videos into your marketing.

What to consider when choosing images

There are many different factors to consider when selecting images for your website. Ensuring that your visuals align with your brand identity, appeal to your target audience, and enhance the overall user experience is crucial. Let’s explore the key elements to keep in mind when choosing the perfect images for your site.

Relevance and branding

Keeping your target audience in mind is essential when selecting visuals for your website as it will help you select images that genuinely resonate with them. For example, a youth-oriented brand will want to showcase pictures featuring young people, vibrant colours, and trendy settings to connect with their demographic effectively.

Your visuals should also tell the story of your brand. Your website as a whole should reflect the core values, mission, and personality of your business. If you are an artisanal maker, for instance, you will likely want to feature pictures of your products prominently.

High-quality images that highlight the artisanry and uniqueness of your items can communicate your dedication to quality and authenticity, reinforcing your brand’s identity.

Finally, your business type will also influence the visuals you choose. A tech company might prioritise clean, sleek images to convey innovation and professionalism, while a travel blog could use breathtaking landscape photos to inspire and attract adventure-seeking readers.

Resolution, formats, and file sizes for website images

High-quality visuals are important, but balancing quality with performance is essential. File size is a common challenge when it comes to maintaining image quality while ensuring fast load times. You can resolve this in a few different ways.

Using tools like Imagify can help you compress images without losing quality, allowing you to keep your visuals sharp and clear without sacrificing performance.

You can also consider the file type. Different file types are better suited for websites because they maintain quality even at smaller file sizes:

  • JPEGs (JPGs) are ideal for photographs due to their ability to handle a wide range of colours and details while maintaining relatively small file sizes.
  • PNGs are perfect for graphics, logos, and images with transparent backgrounds, as they preserve quality and detail even with compression.

Website accessibility

Optimising your website’s images for accessibility is crucial for making sure all visitors can navigate and understand your site.

First, make sure all your images have alt text and tags. Alt text (short for alternative text) provides a description of the image content, which screen readers use to convey the information to visually impaired users.

Using alt text is dual-purpose: it improves accessibility and improves your SEO by allowing search engines to better understand the content of your images. When writing alt text, be descriptive yet concise, and include relevant keywords without keyword stuffing.

You should also be mindful of the colour palette of your site, especially when creating graphics or illustrations. Use high-contrast colour combinations to enhance readability and ensure your site is accessible to people with visual impairments, including colour blindness.

SEO considerations

Images and visuals are also important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There are several aspects to look at when it comes to visuals and SEO.

To start with, check your website loading time. Heavy images and videos are often to blame for a slow-loading website. Slow loading affects your website rankings as it’s penalised by search engines through metrics like Core Web Vitals. Staying mindful of file sizes is one way to prevent loading issues, as is using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to distribute your images across servers that are closer to your users’ locations.  

Next, consider testing different visuals to see if they lead to higher engagement. By A/B testing and experimenting with various images, you can make data-driven decisions that enhance user experience and improve SEO metrics, such as time on page and bounce rate.

Alt text, which we covered under accessibility considerations, also play a role in SEO. Search engines use alt text to understand the content of your images, which can influence your ranking in image search results.

Finally, properly naming your image files is another important SEO practice. Instead of using generic names like “IMG_712.jpg”, use descriptive file names that reflect the content of the image. For example, a file name like “handcrafted-wooden-bowl.jpg” is much more informative and SEO-friendly. Descriptive file names help search engines index your images more accurately, improving your chances of appearing in relevant search results.

Remember licensing and copyright

When selecting images for your website, stay aware of legal restrictions related to usage policies and copyright. Using images without proper authorisation can lead to legal complications and potentially costly fines.

Stock photo sites and royalty-free images are excellent resources for legally obtaining high-quality visuals that you can use under specific licensing agreements. Be sure to read and understand the usage policies for each image to ensure you are complying with the terms.

For example, some images might require attribution, while others may have restrictions on commercial use or modifications.

By adhering to these legal guidelines, you can safely enhance your website with compelling visuals without the risk of infringing on copyright laws.

Images are vital for your website

Well-chosen images enhance your site’s credibility, making your business appear more trustworthy and professional. This improved feeling can lead to higher levels of trust from your audience, ultimately driving better conversion rates compared to text alone.

By carefully selecting and placing visuals, you can boost user satisfaction, encourage longer visits, and increase the likelihood of achieving your website’s goals.

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