Your company’s website is an online door to a much larger market. A well-conceived website can mean the difference between exponential growth and remaining a single-person operation. Still, you are unsure about building and maintaining your site; you have plenty of questions. For instance, should you add photos to your site?

A general rule for all types of graphic images is that they do add value to websites. So the simple answer to the question is ‘yes’. You should add photos to your business website. But before you run off and do so, take a step back and think about how you will do it.

There is more to it than choosing a couple of stock photos and uploading them to your WordPress gallery. Photos can harm a website as easily as helping it. Therefore, it really pays to know what you are doing.

Photos As Marketing Tools

Your primary purpose for having a business website is marketing your goods or services. So it makes sense that any photographs you add should be chosen in light of their marketing value. Those you eventually settle on will be marketing tools before anything else.

You may discover that stock photos do a fine job for general marketing purposes. But you also might discover that you need more specific images. According to Vargo Photography, a commercial photography studio in Salt Lake City, Utah, stock images will be of little value if you are trying to promote the details of a particular product or service.

Photos and Site Speed

Online marketing is intrinsically tied to search engine traffic, the most of which is generated by Google. This dictates that any photos you put on your website should positively influence search engine results. How do you do that? By optimizing your photos.

Optimization compresses photographs to the smallest possible size. It offers search engines appropriate keywords to tie the images to the rest of the content with which they appear. In the simplest possible terms, you want photographs that enhance content without increasing page load times. Pages should load withing 2 to 3 seconds.

Photos and ALT Tags

Another thing to be cognizant of is the ALT tag. This tag does two things: it provides search engines with descriptive text and allows visually impaired website visitors to get an idea of what a picture is about. Their screen readers mention the ALT tag information.

All Photos Should Have a Purpose

The most important thing of all to remember is that every photo on your website should have a purpose. If you are putting up photos just for the sake of doing so, you are both wasting your time and potentially chasing visitors away. Still, that does not necessarily mean there is a hard and fast number you should shoot for.

A real estate company will obviously post more photos due to the nature what they do. By comparison, a restaurant will have fewer photos. The number you eventually settle on should be commensurate with your website’s goals.

All Photos Should Be Quality Shots

Finally, don’t do yourself or your website a disservice by putting junk shots online. Poor quality photographs that are hard to look at do not add any value. The same goes for photos that are irrelevant to the topic at hand. If you’re incapable of taking high quality shots, think about investing in stock photos or hiring a professional to take the shots for you.

Website photos are great tools when used properly. You should have some on your website, but they should be governed by the principles outlined in this post.