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The Importance of High Quality Images for Your Website

When it comes to showcasing your products or services, a picture is more than just a thousand words – it’s the potential for thousands in sales. In an age of visual culture and social media consumption, high quality images aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity for attracting potential clients.

According to Social Media Marketing expert Jeff Bullas, “In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product’s image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).” furthermore, “…60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.”

Taking the time to invest in high quality photos can mean the difference between a potential buyer choosing your company over the competitor down the street. Not only do high resolution, professional photos improve the likelihood of a call or a sale, search engines like Google and Yahoo favor original content (photos) over those using stock photography, helping your site rank better in terms of SEO.

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Pictured Above: A Professional Shot Using the Rules of Thirds. (Photo Courtesy of Big Tuna Lead Graphic Designer James Keegan.)

Here are three affordable ways to help your company capture some high quality photos for your new website.

Invest in a Digital Camera

Your website’s gallery is a customer’s first impression of your service capabilities. While a quick snap from your iPhone is convenient, it won’t capture the full beauty of a well-manicured landscape or a elegant kitchen remodel. On the other hand, you don’t need to go out and drop thousands of dollars on a top-of-the line DSLR camera.

There are many advantages to investing in a camera, a key one being that you don’t need to spend the extra money every time you want to update your portfolio. Most digital cameras can be purchased for under $300, and if you choose to go the route of refurbished, you can easily find one under $100.

Some Tips for Shooting Your Own Photos:

  • Buy a camera that has a resolution of at least 16 megapixels
  • Use natural lighting for a shot rather than indoor lighting or the camera’s flash setting
  • Use the “rule of thirds” when composing your shot
  • Take lots of photos. With more options, you can take time and select the best from the bunch

Put an Ad on Craigslist

Craigslist is a great tool to use if you’re looking for a quick, easy way to find a local photographer. List your advertisement under the “creative gigs” section with all the details (location, date, compensation). You may be able to snag an amateur photographer for as little as $20 an hour.

Contact Your Local Community College

Another great way to get high quality, professional looking photos is to contact your local community college. Most colleges have a photography or media department with students itching to build up their portfolios. As an added bonus, most students are willing to work at a reduced price for the experience.

When a Smartphone is Your Only Option…

As a small business owner, you don’t always have time to stop what you’re doing to set-up for a photo shoot, we get it. If your only option is to use your smartphone, here are a few tips to get the most out of this less than ideal option:

  • Turn your phone sideways. Wide angle shots are better and more versatile than vertical shots.
  • Take A LOT of photos of the same project. Using slightly different angles and heights increases your chances of getting that perfect shot.
  • Make it a habit. Don’t set out to get some good pictures just for today – make it a habit. Encourage your employees to take pictures frequently, and don’t hesitate to send the best ones to the support team at Big Tuna so that we can update your site.

The Advantage of Using Google Business

Having your business Google Places Optimization listed with Google is one of the easiest–and completely free–things you can do to help improve your company’s online visibility. It allows you to provide accurate, up-to-date information on your business which can be accessed by both existing and potential customers.

We can’t stress enough, especially for small businesses, how important Google is. It is the modern day Yellow Pages–and then some. Google keeps tabs on just about everything–and that includes a large population of potential customers for your business.

Give Your Small Business Visibility Online

There are a lot of neat tricks and info you can display on your google listing, but the most important thing is this: When someone in your area does a key term search–e.g. “construction companies in Madison, WI”–your business is MORE likely to pop up on page 1 of Google, especially if you have plenty of reviews.

“What if I don’t have the time?”

If you have at least 10 minutes to spare, you have plenty of time. Just follow these instructions and get your business on Google now.

Step 1 – Add or Claim Your Business through Google Business:

You may already have a listing, so be sure to check and see if Google has your information. If so, you can click “claim your listing” after agreeing to Google’s terms of service.

If you have to add your business listing, make sure you meet all of the guidelines for representing your business on Google beforehand.

Step 2 – Verifying Your Business

Depending on the type of business you run or whether you have previously used some of Google’s applications, there are several ways to verify your business. For most businesses, you will be sent a postcard with a verification code to the address you list your business at.

Some select companies are qualified for phone verification, and if you have been using Google Webmaster Tools, you likely will be able to use instant verification.

If you are having trouble claiming your listing, someone may have already verified your business. Should this be an issue, follow the instructions provided here.

Step 3 – Adding Business Information to Your Google Page

If you haven’t already, log in to Google My Business and click the edit button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Check the sections you want to change. Google allows you to edit your business name, address (or the option not to show your exact address), contact information, category (what your business is), hours of operation, description and photos.

Once you’re satisfied with the changes you’ve made, click Done editing. Keep in mind it may take up to 60 days to delete information you’ve previously added.

After everything is verified, you now have a great tool at your command. An optimized Google+ page is an excellent way for you to generate some positive reviews which, in turn, will increase the SEO value of your website. And most importantly of all, the largest, most valuable web company in the world is linking to your website.