Website Images: Are They Really That Important?

Humans are visual creatures, with 40% of people claiming they respond better to visual information than plain text*. For this reason, the design of your website and effective use of imagery is extremely important in engaging your customers and prompting them to make an enquiry or purchase.

With the rise of image central social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, we have learned to process information extremely quickly through visual cues, forming impressions within seconds. In order to make your message understood, it is therefore essential to accompany this with related imagery to ensure an almost instant understanding of what is being communicated.

We have identified some tips to ensure your images enhance – not hinder – your website:

Choose eye catching images

‘46% of consumers say a website’s design is the number one criteria for establishing the credibility of a company’ - Hubspot

It is essential to ensure the images used on your site reflect your company values, look professional and effectively frame your content.

Imagery should relate to your offering, but doesn’t have to be literal. For example, if you sell fire safety equipment, a static image of a fire extinguisher might not be as engaging as an image of a fire being extinguished. Consider how to best catch the eye of the consumer as soon as they land on your site.

Fire Image

Consistency is key – just as you should replicate your company’s tone of voice across all communication through the website and social media, the style of imagery you use should also be consistent to affirm your brand identity and build trust in your customers.

The Jaguar website is a great example of this – they only use high quality lifestyle shots of the cars on their homepage, enhanced in post-production to look as if they are moving, to infer the speed of the vehicles. They haven’t confused the message by including product shots of the cars on white backgrounds, or any imagery containing people – it’s all about the cars and it’s consistent.

Jaguar Photography

While you may not have the budget or resource to produce images of this high a quality, it is important to consider how all of the images on your site complement one another and represent your brand.

Use images to sell

‘67% of consumers said the quality of a product image is ‘very important’ in selecting and purchasing a product’ – Jeff Bullas

If you are selling products on your site, it is essential that you provide as much imagery as possible to give consumers the best possible sense of how the product looks. Mix lifestyle shots in with product shots where appropriate, i.e. if you’re selling a piece of furniture, show the product on it’s own but also include it in a decorated room to give an impression of how it can enhance this space, or if you are selling clothing show this on a model styled with other items to show how it fits a real person rather than just shots on mannequins. Victoria Plum offer a range of product images including shots of the furniture in use:

Victoria Plum Product Image
Victoria Plum Product Image

With the absence of the ability to touch and feel the product, give customers the opportunity to see the product from every angle where possible – 360 photography can enable you to let consumers rotate the product to see every angle.

People buy for emotional reasons, so consider how you can appeal to users’ emotions when selling your products – especially if they are high value purchases. For example, holiday companies often include smiling couples or families in their photographs, appealing to consumers’ emotional attachments to the loved ones they will be taking the holiday with.

Be selective with stock photography

Stock photography can be extremely hit or miss – it can be utilised by companies who do not have the budget or resource to take photos in-house, but it can often be misused when cliché or inconsistent imagery is used.

If you need to use stock images, take some time to browse the resources available – there are a wealth of websites offering free and paid images, of varying quality. Sites such as Stocksnap contain free images supplied by photographers, which are much more creative than some of the other platforms providing generic images. Shutterstock is a great resource for paid imagery, with packages available to save you money when buying in bulk.

Consider using iconography or illustrations instead of photography if you are struggling to find good images. Moz have produced an illustrated mascot, and use attractive iconography across the site which consistently communicates their brand values:

Moz Iconography

Add team and company photos

Including images of the team can give your brand a face and personality online. Browsing online is in the most part an impersonal experience, so help your customers to connect with you by showing images of the people who own and work at the company. People buy from people, so this is an effective way to convey your company’s culture. At Creare we feature colourful images of our staff to communicate our brand personality:

Creare Team

Images of the office can also help to attract customers and potential new employees, by giving a sense of the environment you work in. This enhances the legitimacy of the business, and can be much more engaging on your ‘Contact Us’ or ‘About Us’ page than a generic stock image of a call centre worker.

Studies have shown that on average, over half of users spend less than 15 seconds on a website*. This gives you an extremely short window through which to communicate your message; follow these tips to ensure your imagery helps you to convert visitors into customers.


Image sources:

The Journey of Building a Website

What happens after a website order form has been signed and money has exchanged hands is a mystery to many people who have bought from various digital agencies in the past, but it really shouldn’t be.

We thought it would be useful to tell you how it works at our end so you know what to expect if you decide to take the plunge. Welcome to our guide to journeying with Creare through a web project. Enjoy!


  1. So first things first, your dedicated Project Manager will call to introduce themselves. They will confirm with you the details of your website and talk you through how it’s all going to work.
  1. From the information collected by your Business Development Manager we shall then get to work designing your homepage.
  1. The homepage will take us anywhere between seven to ten days to complete and once it’s ready, we’ll call you to take you through it. The initial homepage that we design for you is normally un-coded so you will see it as a PDF.

It’s worth noting this is a really important part of the process to get right, as it will then form the structure of your site moving forward.

  1. Once you’ve been presented the homepage, we would need sign-off and/or feedback from you within 48-72 hours, at this point we will also need all the items mentioned in step one. Then the exciting bit – once all of this information is collected we can then schedule the development of your whole website!
  1. When you’re in the diary, our Project Manager will call you to confirm the schedule and arrange a presentation date for the final site. We love to invite our clients to the Creare office for the presentation, it gives us a chance to meet you and it gives you a chance to see where your project has been built.
  1. From the day we present the site, you’ll then have approximately five days in which to check everything and ensure all the information is captured correctly and the call to actions are clear.
  1. Happy? Once you’ve sent us your email/signed approval of the site, we start the process of putting it through our rigorous Creare standards check. This checking process makes sure your site works effectively and efficiently. Our standards are high, the best in the market in fact, so you can rest assured that your site will be top of the range.
  1. Once the checking process has been completed, the site will then be set live to allow time for Google to ‘cache’ the new website.

When Google caches a website, it basically saves a copy of it allowing visitors to access this copy if there was ever an issue with your server. Clever stuff!

  1. After your site has gone live, you will receive a call around 30 days later to see how you and the site are getting on and for us to offer any additional help, advice and support. This is the perfect opportunity to pick our brains about ongoing online marketing. Now that you have a brand new, shiny and effective website, you want people to find it so together with our in-house SEO team, we will be able to work with you to provide a tailored solution that will help your business grow through its online presence.

Maybe you want to see how your current website is performing or you want to get a better idea of words and phrases your prospects may be searching for online, why not try the Creare Digital Health Check? It’s a free tool that takes your URL and checks your whole site for everything from its technical ability to its strength of content and social links. Have a go.

Useful Planning Tips When Purchasing a New Website

If you are considering upgrading your website or commissioning an agency to design and develop a new site for you, stop! There’s some preparation work you can do first that will help your project run smoothly enabling you and your developers to ensure a timely launch date.

Before deciding to have a website designed, you need to decide on and set aside your ongoing marketing budget to promote your website. Why? Two reasons…

  1. Your website needs to be structured with the right pages in order to accommodate your online marketing. For businesses targeting a local area, this may mean a number of pages need to be created that showcase specific services or, for a business selling online, specific product and brand pages that attract the right sort of clientele may be crucial. It really does depend on your business goals.
  2. Secondly, there’s no point having a great looking website that never gets found. By setting aside a monthly budget for marketing, you are giving your site the best possible chance of generating maximum return on investment.

In advance of your meeting with your chosen agency, have a think about the following questions. They’ll save you some time and make the meeting more productive…

Your USP

What is it that makes you different, what are you promoting, why should I pick up the phone and call your company, why do people buy from you?

Website Structure

What you are trying to achieve, who’s your audience, how many pages do you need, do you want to be able to manage the content yourself or do you want your developer to look after that for you?


A fact that often gets missed relates to content. What content do you have available, can it easily be uplifted to put onto the pages of your website, do you want any animation or video to create interest, do you have written content is it ready or will you require content to be written and do you have a need for updated photography?

Shopping Online

If your site allows customers to buy online, how many products do you have, how are you uploading them and what shipping methods and rates do you want to offer?


How would you like your customers to contact you? What vital information needs to be captured on the initial enquiry?

Once you have got to grips with the information for these questions, remember that you need to get some information back from the agency too…

  • What you are getting for your money?
  • What’s the timeline in which you need to collate the above information to ensure a smooth process?
  • When will you need to be available to sign off designs?

By being fully prepared for this new business venture, you will not only make sure your site is delivered in a timely fashion, you will also be making sure that the site is fit for purpose and meets your businesses needs.

Work with your Agency/Developer and you assigned project manager. Together you both want the best looking and the best performing website. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not technical savvy, that’s why you have appointed a professional. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable and confident with the process and most importantly enjoy it! This is a really exciting moment for your business and its future.

Happy creating!

Creare Launches Digital Health Check Tool

Creare launches digital health check tool, helping SMEs to understand their digital presence and take action.

Today, Creare, one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies for small and medium businesses launched a brand new online tool for small and medium business at their Digital Demystified event in London; Creare’s Digital Health Check.

Creare believes that in order to flourish, our industry must remove the mystique of digital marketing and provide small and medium businesses with solutions that are simple to embrace and delivered with complete transparency.

For the first time, a tool of this kind has been designed specifically for the business owner or manager to use and take action on. Non techie, no jargon, simple yet comprehensive results detailing the performance of a business’ existing digital presence, with tips and advice on where to focus and how to improve, such as testing whether a business’ website is mobile friendly.

Creare’s Digital Health Check tool also features an innovative search marketing planning tool, helping the user discover the opportunity to embrace digital marketing. By simply inputting an industry type, location and market reach, the user is presented with the volume of searches, seasonal trends and an assessment of how competitive their market is. Creare’s Digital Health Check puts the power into the hands of the business owner.

Creare provides the Digital Health Check free for all to use, whether you are a Creare client, or any business looking to improve your online presence. The user will receive a free report detailing any recommendations on how to improve, plus information on how Creare can support them in achieving their ambitions online through our range of digital marketing solutions.

Tom Darnell, Creare’s Chief Commercial Officer said: “At Creare we have identified a clear need; demystifying the unnecessary complexity of digital marketing for the thousands of small and medium size businesses looking to build a fantastic online presence. Today we are excited to launch Creare’s new Digital Health Check and believe it is a game changer for SMEs, for the first time a tool of this kind has been specifically designed for the business owner, no jargon, clear recommendations, and what’s more, Creare’s Digital Health Check is available for any business to use for free, whether or not you are a Creare client.”

A media briefing pack on the Digital Health Check can be downloaded at complete with further information, images and quotes.



Notes to Editor

About Creare

Creare provide a holistic digital marketing solution for small and medium sized businesses in the UK, including websites, ecommerce stores, search engine optimisation and pay per click search marketing, social media and video. Established in 2007, Creare has provided websites, ecommerce solutions, search marketing, social media and video solutions to over 4,000 businesses.


For further information, please contact:

Tom Darnell, Chief Commercial Officer, Creare

Tel:                           +44 7595 075724


Tips for Improving Your Online Shop

Maintaining an online presence and an online shop is no longer a quirk of business or a tech-trend; it is a necessity for survival.

Between 2011 and 2013, UK shoppers spent an extra £23bn online, and forecasts predict that the share of online retail sales will rise from 2012’s figure of 12.7 per cent to 21.5 per cent or even higher by 2018.

The figures underline the reality that the way we shop is, if not going through a revolution, certainly experiencing a large-scale overhaul as digital business takes hold. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fifteen years, you’ll know that retail success no longer depends on physical stores.

Below are a few guidelines to take into consideration to maximise the impact of your online store.

  1. Images for substance and sparkle

More than a visual of your product, images offset text to bring balance and a more professional look to your page. Graphics allow you to present product stats in a more engaging and animated way than prose permits. Analysing sales each time you upload product images can give you a good idea of which pictures work best for your webpage.

  1. Develop customer trust

Your online shop showcases your company’s image; so present your best side. Include customer testimonials to establish yourself as a reliable firm. Use genuine correspondence that outlines how your service has helped the buyer; a comment stating how your product has promoted or helped a client will go further than a message describing your product as “amazing”.

  1. Qualify yourself

Let readers know that you are the best company for them by outlining your credentials clearly. Highlight key skills and background information in bullet point form, or integrated into a stylish paragraph that introduces your company as a solution-holder for clients.

  1. Flag up special offers

Most people know the online domain holds the cheapest deals, so special promotions should be clearly displayed. Make customers know they’re getting a good deal, so incentivise with lower rates made available when a certain amount is spent. Keep the shopping cart near the top of your page, as users tend not to scroll down the page too far – make sure the checkout remains clear and easy to identify. Rewards points and loyalty schemes are great ways of giving customers a tangible reason to bring repeat business and spread the word about the benefits of spending money at your store.

  1. Customer segmentation, targeted promotions & merchandising

From gender and age to interests and spending habits, the behaviours that make your customers unique should be factored into your marketing. Consider what data you want to collect, how it will be gathered and develop methods of data analysis for segmentation. You should also establish effective communication among relevant departments in your business to use this segmentation to best effect. The process should enable you to target smaller preference-specific consumer groups with relevant information and merchandising so that individuals find what they are looking for quicker and more easily.

  1. Be open and honest

Without a human to speak to, measures need to be taken by your online store to make processes clear, thereby promoting customer confidence. Ensure charges are not hidden but remain highlighted throughout a transaction. The checkout path must be completely linear – without sub-steps going to a previously shown page – so that customers are not confused or left thinking that there has been an error on the site. Give priority to delivery/returns policy and procedure to make sure people know where they stand at all stages of the purchase.

  1. Log customer behaviour

Harness the Internet’s forensic potential for tracking. CRM applications is an example of customer service software that will let you see how much time has passed since a customer last visited your online shop, and what they bought. You will be able to use this knowledge to suggest other items or services, giving your customers a streamlined experience and a personalised feel.

  1. Build a subscription base

Forge and reward customer loyalty by establishing a subscription list through which you can launch your company’s latest news and float special offers. Simply cataloguing client emails will allow you to send notes of thanks in the follow up to purchases to enquire about customer satisfaction. Many companies now use text messages to convey this extra token of customer service that will make the buyer feel more involved, cared for and ultimately more likely to return for business in the future.

People are busier than ever and today’s customers know that if a service doesn’t meet their expectations they have multiple platforms for broadcasting it to the world before they go elsewhere for what they need. This concept is magnified online where your clients can disappear with a click of the mouse. Ensure that maximising the customer experience is top of your agenda to build a solid client base and stay ahead of the online competition.



Where Can I Find Images For My Website?

In recent years images have become a vital content tool when it comes to creating a website.

However, finding images that you can use on your website can be a daunting task. The first stumbling block for many website owners is the uncertainty over whether or not an image can be used. This is a totally understandable reservation to have, as nobody wants to be on the bad end of a copyright claim.

So before we start, lets take a quick look at the most common licenses that you will come across when it comes to sourcing images:

Public Domain 

These are images in which the intellectual property rights attributed to the image have expired, or the owner of the image has released them into the public domain free of charge. Put simply, these images can be used any way you see fit.

Creative Commons

These images could be attributed to several available Creative Commons licenses. Some licenses require a credit to be given, whereas some allow the image to be used as long as it is unchanged. You need to ensure that you read the license attributed to an image before you use it, and follow the correct procedures where appropriate.

Royalty Free

Now, the name of this one can sometimes be deceiving. Just because it says ‘Royalty Free’, doesn’t mean that the image can be used for free. Simply put, it means that once you have purchased the image you can use it as many times as you want.

Rights Managed

With this license, the image can be used a limited amount of times. If you want to use the image more than the amount defined within the license, you will have to pay for the privilege.


There are numerous other licenses available online and ultimately it is down to the individual to ensure that they follow the correct procedure. However, if you are ever unsure, hold off using the image and email the owner or service to clarify – it is better to be safe than sorry.

It is also worth pointing out the importance of ensuring that you have the right account for the service that you are using. Some image services offer accounts for organisations whereas others don’t, so make sure that you have signed up for the type of account that is in keeping with your project and the work that you are going to be undertaking.

So, now that we have briefly covered the legal side of things, lets take a look at our top picks for sourcing images.



Shutterstock lets subscribers download a certain number of photos per day during the length of a subscription, for which you sign up for and will have to pay a fee. For example, as a one-month subscriber you can download 25 images per day.


iStock is another paid service that offers millions of royalty-free images. There are two different types of subscription services, the ‘essentials subscription’ and the ‘signature subscription’, that can be paid for either monthly or yearly. iStock also offers a pay per download service that offers credits for downloads.


Flickr is a site that continues to grow in popularity everyday. It is relatively simple to use; simply search using the creative commons license for free images and ensure that you provide attribution and a link back to the source.


Unsplash is a simple site to look at. However, they have a really great collection of fantastic high-res images that are updated every 10 days and can be downloaded for free.


Pixabay offers users use of a rapidly growing database of public domain images. These images can be included on your website without any attribution to the source.


Pexels is another great source for free images. The website is updated daily with 10 new, high quality images and the license for each image is also conveniently located to the right.

Bonus source – Your own images

An option for image sourcing that is often overlooked is to create them in-house. Whether you have a photographer on the team or you create the images personally; they are free and you own the rights, so it is well worth giving it a try.

And there you have it. Happy sourcing!

Your buddy building your website could be your first step towards business disaster

Don’t mix business and pleasure.

I am always intrigued by the answer to this question “Who built your website?” and the all too common answer “Oh, this guy I know built it for me…”

The follow up question – “how’s your website working for you?” (cue sharp intake of breath from small business owner and a look of embarrassment at their current online offering). Why is this? Why not fix it? The answer is simple; it’s always difficult to properly critique the efforts of a friend, relative, or the friendly web developer down the road you met down the pub.

You probably choose them because they were doing you a favour, saving you some money, getting your website knocked up quickly and now you’re stuck with an online shop front that doesn’t look very good and worse still, doesn’t work hard for you in driving traffic that could convert into valuable new customers.

The proliferation of what I call ‘web-co’; thousands of independent, one man band web designers who in the mid to late 2000’s created a huge graveyard of poorly built, horrifically designed websites which fester like relics in time. What’s more, the huge variations in service level, price and quality has left thousands of small business owners skeptical over whether they should ever trust a web designer again.

Does this sound like you?

Unfortunately in this increasingly digital world, your online presence is not something you should leave to chance. You need to work closely with a reputable web design company which has the expertise to help you build and manage your online brand, ensuring potential customers can quickly identify with your business and reach out to contact with an intention of making a purchase.

Here are my top tips to make sure you aren’t left with a new relic for the online graveyard:

  1. Check out some of their recent work, do you like the style of website they build?
  2. Does the web developers own website look any good?
  3. How do they rate on Google reviews?
  4. Do they use open source platforms for development such as WordPress? Important if you do ever want to move to another web development agency.

Don’t fall foul of the ‘guy down the road’ trap. Obey the good old rule to never mix business and pleasure.

Creares Advice Centre is full of helpful tips, tricks and advice to help your business succeed online. Take a read here.