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As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s no less true online. Websites that take advantage of striking imagery are much more visually appealing than those that don’t.

When you have a business website, appropriate imagery can increase sales when your users relate to it. Images help establish an emotional connection between your website and your users.

In this article I will explain how to find images, how to optimize them for the Web, and what to consider when choosing your images.

Where to Find Imagery

There are many different ways to get imagery. Some are free, some are paid, and others simply require some effort on your end.

Buy Images from Stock Image Websites

The fastest way to get stock images is to simply buy them from one of many stock image websites such as iStockPhoto or Shutterstock. They both have subscription plans where you pay a monthly fee in order to get a specific number of downloads per month. It ends up being a much better deal if you need stock images on a consistent basis.

Hunt for Free Stock Images

Although most stock images are not free, there are still plenty of resources you can use to find free stock images. Generally speaking, they will not be as good as premium ones, but you might get lucky.

My favorite free stock photo websites include Morgue File, WikiMedia Commons, Unrestricted Stock, and Flickr.

Shoot Your Own Photos

If you’re a bit creative and have some available time, then you can always shoot your own stock images. You just need a decent camera, an understanding of how lighting works, and a mini photography studio.

Although there’s a lot of things to learn in this regard, the two most important things are (1) never use flash and (2) never take photos outside during overcast weather conditions.

You are not limited to only one of these methods for getting stock imagery. For example, at AdFicient we use all three when looking for the right images. If you stick to only one method, you are greatly limiting your options.

Optimizing Images for the Web

Now that you know where to find your images, the next step is to optimize them for the Web. Even though Internet speeds are much faster than they have ever been, you still have to take into account mobile devices. Although mobile Internet speeds are fast these days as well, you don’t want to be draining 50 MB of your users’ mobile data each time they load your website.

Size Your Images Appropriately

There are no concrete rules as to how big your images should be, but keep in mind that your main marketing message should be above the fold. If a ginormous image is taking up all the space above the fold, then you’re not doing it right.

Let the images support your message, but not necessarily tell the message itself. There’s only a few types of websites where images should speak for themselves.

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About Haris Bacic

Haris leads the creative and SEO strategy at AdFicient, a full-service search engine marketing and business development agency, which specializes in PPC management, SEO, conversion rate optimization, phone call tracking, web design, and analytics. If you enjoyed this article, you can also follow Haris on Twitter.

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