Three Criteria for Choosing Your Website’s Images

Three Criteria for Choosing Your Website’s Images

Today’s web design and digital marketing trends focus heavily on visual elements. Studies show that online articles with relevant images get about 94% more total views than those that do not, and at least 46% of internet users believe website design is the number one factor in determining a business’ credibility. Effective visuals attract, engage, and inform your website’s visitors in ways text alone cannot. Featuring the right photos on your website maximizes its impact and leaves lasting impressions on your visitors and customers.

Image selection for your website design and content is a subjective process, but keeping the following criteria in mind can help you choose images that are ideal for your business and your target market.

Image Quality and Format

No matter what type of business you own, quality is the most basic criterion of image selection. Choose professional-quality images that are clear and vivid. Using pixelated, blurred, or grainy images can have a negative effect on your online store’s credibility. Large images with higher resolutions are usually better, but don’t forget to keep your website’s loading speed in mind.

Your images also have to be in the right format. JPEG, PNG, and GIF are the more popular options for web designs. The general rules for choosing one format over another are as follows:

  • JPEG is ideal for full-color photographs that require more than 256 colors.
  • PNG is a versatile format that can be used for most website images, but is most often used for colored computer-generated images (such as charts and logos) that require transparency and lossless compression.
  • GIF is similar to PNG, and is ideal for cartoon-like or animated graphics that use 256 colors or less.

Purpose and Relevance

Images serve a variety of purposes on websites. They can show off products and services, give visitors a tour of your establishment, or introduce the people that make up your brand. Knowing what you want your website’s visual elements to do determines what kind of images you should be looking for.

  • For Product Marketing/eCommerce: 67% of consumers consider product photos to be “very important” in their decision-making process. You need sets of images that showcase all the details and features of your product. These can include photos of your product from different angles, detail shots, and lifestyle images showing people using the product.
  • For Illustration: According to 3M Corporation, people process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Adding supporting photos, graphs, tables, and illustrations to your text content helps readers understand your points better.
  • For Brand Identity: The images you choose for your website say a lot about your brand’s qualities, personality, message, and unique value proposition. Creative director Sandra Niehaus suggests summarizing your brand with four descriptive words, and using those as a “filter” for your image options.


It’s easy enough to choose images related to specific topics or merchandise, but the real danger lies in confusing relevant with literal. Bogdan, the founder of Top Design Magazine, says that “Using images which are too relevant will make the whole experience a cliché.”

Effective images and product photos are those that unique, interesting, and appeal to visitors’ emotions. These images should trigger curiosity in people who see them, and eventually drive them to action.

The image below shows two online shops selling tea, but one of them uses plain, “literal” photos of their products, while the other takes a creative approach:

The photos on the left may be informative because they display exactly what the store sells, but the colorful, unique images on the right have more visual and emotional appeal.

The images you use for your digital marketing strategies need to have a combination of these three elements to create a positive, significant impact on people who see them. Our team of web designers and developers can help you make the right choices when it comes to the images that represent your brand.

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