Website Images: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Images on websites have proven effective at showing your clients who you are and what you do. But where can you find pictures for your website? Should you create your own images? Is it ok to use other people’s images and how do I avoid scams?
Don’t worry, Cheyanne and Makenzie are here to answer all those questions!
Question: Where are the best places to get images for my website?
Makenzie: Google is not necessarily your friend in this instance. Although some images found via search engines may be in the public domain, you should actually assume the opposite – that all online content is protected by copyright law. When you use an image you find on the internet, you could be sued by the legal owner of the image. You also risk falling victim to scammers (see below). Some website design companies, like eVetSites, provide you with a selection of stock images eliminating the worry about running afoul of copyrights or getting tricked by a scammer. A great way to include images on your website is to create your own!
- Take photos of the clinic, staff members & pets (remember to get signed photo release consent forms).
- Use software like Canva to spice up your images with fun text or graphics.
- Create infographics or digital flyers about important topics like heartworm prevention and vaccinations.
If that all sounds too time-consuming, let eVetSites help! Check out this portal to see all of the eye-catching infographics ready and waiting for you to use. We can even help you create new ones.
Cheyanne: I’m a huge fan of creating your own media for your hospital website, but if you need stock photos, you want to look for anything with a royalty-free license as a part of the intellectual property. Royalty-free generally means you pay a fee to use an image, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues.
I suggest using stock images sparingly since other businesses could also be using the same ones.
Question: How can I get scammed with an online image? How can I protect myself and my clinic?
Makenzie: Unfortunately, scammers are constantly looking for new ways to trick people into giving away money and personal information. This blog describes how they use fake copyright infringement warnings to trick you into downloading malware or ransomware. It's a good idea to train your staff to recognize and avoid common scams.
Cheyanne: Sadly, there are scams out there! This is why I always recommend clinics capture as many photos and videos on their own or hire a photographer. Using your own original media will prevent you from falling prey to scammers or unwittingly committing copyright infringement. This article tells the story of another unusual way scammers used false copyright claims.
Question: Do websites with images get more views, and what should I consider with respect to them being viewed on a desktop vs. mobile device?
Makenzie: Yes, websites with images do get more views. Google search engine loves images and will help boost you closer to the top of the search results when there are images on your website. Images will look different between desktop and mobile, but eVetsites can help with the technical portion of image formatting like adding image tags, alternative text, optimizing for mobile, and more!
Cheyanne: Yes! Many people are visual by nature and make choices based on how visually attractive or appealing things are. The more visuals (aka images and videos) you include in your marketing materials (website, blogs, social media posts, etc.) the more attention you’ll grab from your audience and visitors. Google knows this and figures it into their algorithms for a reason!
Question: Should you consider the overall theme of the images you use or just put up random photos?
Makenzie: Overall, yes there should be a theme to your images. You want to express to future clients what it is you do, what types of animals you treat, and other things about your clinic. So including what your clinic looks like from the outside and inside, along with images of your team members is a good theme to start with. If your practice is feline-only, be sure your images do not include other animals so potential clients don’t get confused. Also, consider the overall branding when it comes to your choices, do you have a logo or do you need one created? eVetSites can help build a branding package for your website.
Cheyanne: Yes! Again, people are visual creatures, so by having a cohesive theme or brand appearance people will see your content and have instant recognition of your business and know that the resource is credible and that they can trust it. With all the unreliable information on the internet these days, the more credibility and trust you can instill more confidence and loyalty you’ll create in your visitors and clients.
Question: Are some images a deterrent to views? For example a picture of your hospital with an empty parking lot?
Makenzie: Yes, some images can unintentionally give a negative impression. Carefully review the images you plan to use with consideration for the impact they may have. Including a street view of your building is a great way to help clients find you. If the lot is empty, your practice could appear to be closed and discourage them from contacting you. The eVetSites team will help make sure your images are custom to your hospital and will help you pick the images that will be best to include on your website.
Cheyanne: The images you include on your website should give people a sample of what they will experience when they interact with you in person. Your goal is to entice people to come to your practice and this can be done through the images and the overall experience your website presents to visitors. So ask yourself, “Will this image cause my ideal client to want to come to my practice?” If the answer is no, then consider a different photo that will invoke the kind of emotions you want your ideal client to feel.
Question: What other advice do you have for using images on my website?
Makenzie: Make things unique and genuine feeling; if things tend to be generic, such as using all stock images, clients won’t feel as connected to your clinic. Ask your clients if you can use photos of their pets, and post those on your social media and on your website! Including images of your employees creates a relationship between the clients and employees because they see familiar faces online and in the clinic. Also, see our blog about the importance of having employee bios on your website.
Cheyanne: I agree with Makenzie! When people visit your website, they get an impression of what their experience with you would be like, so take this time to show people your uniqueness! Give them a taste of what they can expect to experience and familiarize them with your style, vibe, and how you run things.
eVetSites in cooperation with all of the VIN families have created a curated list of images, infographics, and other media for you to use on your website or social media. If you have suggestions or ideas for media you would like to see created please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
One more thing... don’t just use images just to say you have them on your website. Use images for a greater purpose beyond filling up white space or making a web page more visually interesting. With a little forethought and consideration, images can be a powerful type of content that will enhance the user’s experience on your website.