Should you use stock images?

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1279316_26064050-1Stock images are an attractive solution for business owners because they can add visual content to pages where they may be lacking. However, stock images need to be used very carefully when representing your business. After all, these images are not specific to your products and services or more importantly, your brand.

Should you use stock images? There’s no real definitive answer to this question. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to fill your site with just stock images. However, when used correctly, they can be helpful in enhancing your web design and content. Here are few helpful hints for using stock images:

Be Purposeful
Stock images do have a place in your overall website and blog content. You just need to be selective in where you use them. Select stock images to integrate into your content where they will serve a purpose such as illustrating a concept or idea. Only add a stock image if it enhances the content on the page. Be sure to add context to the stock image so that users understand the purpose behind it.

Represent Your Business
Never use stock images to represent your business, its products and services or employees. Remember, your brand is unique. Stock images will detract from the quality of your brand. Instead, invest the time and money on real photographs of your business, its products and services and employees. Users will feel as if they can trust you a lot more if you include real photographs related to your business. Real photos create a personal connection between customers and your brand.

Make Them Your Own
If you’re going to use stock images, make them your own. Modifying stock images can really transform them. Adding text to stock images will make them more engaging and specific to your page content. Customize stock images as much as you can so that they enhance your existing page content. You can also crop, collage or even cut out portions of stock images to make them your own.

Relate to Your Demographic
Select stock images that will resonate with your target demographic. Stock images can be effective, but only if your users can relate to them. Never settle for a stock image just for the sake of including an image in your content. You’ll be better off working with a web design pro to create a custom graphic or image to round out the page as opposed to using a stock image that your demographic can’t connect to on any level.

Do you use stock images on your website or blog?

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