Illustrations vs Stock Photography: What’s Better for Your Website
When you launch a website for your business, your first challenge is to find a way to make your site stand out and allow your voice to be heard, because currently there are so many websites that look the same.
You should put a lot of attention in making visually appealing content for your website to bring user’s attention. There are several ways to do so, but the most common are stock photography and vector graphics. Stock photography is a very popular option and the most frequently used because even someone with little or no experience can find and use it. Vector graphics are not used as often and are usually more expensive, unless you happen to be a professional artist yourself, but it is a choice that should be considered for several key reasons.
1. Make Your Brand Stand Out
The images and look of your website say something about your brand. In a world that is dominated by cheap stock photography, having a personalized illustration style can make your web illustrations stand out from the crowd. You can easily make your website have a unique look and feel.
Aside from your logo and what you do for your business, you can give your business and its website a distinctive personality. For instance, would you like your website to have a retro feel, futuristic feel, artistic feel, or create some other mood? It is easier to do this with illustrations than with photography.
Your website says more about you than words on a page. It conveys unspoken messages such as whether you can be trusted, how much you care about your products and services, and a little bit about your personality. In short, a generic website with generic photos says that your products and services are also generic. This is why it is important to have illustrations that are original and show how much you care about your business, which translates into a message about how much you care about your customers.
2. Connect with Your Audience
There is more to creating a personalized brand than simply getting noticed. The personality that you create for your website and business helps you to connect with your audience. It makes them feel like they know something a little more about your business than stock photography conveys.
You have a unique brand and you deserve a website that highlights your uniqueness. Illustrations are more versatile than stock photography because they can be used to convey a very specific message in a way that is memorable. Humans are visually oriented and customers will remember unique illustrations much more than the words that are spoken.
Illustration sets the mood on your website and your customers will tap into that mood. This allows them to develop a deeper and more personalized connection with you and what you have to offer. In the end, it is not about simply getting eyeballs to your page, you want them to connect with you, develop a sense of trust, and eventually purchase your products or services.
When searching the web, customers are looking for something that they connect with on a personal level. Hand-drawn illustrations bump this concept up a notch and give your audience something truly unique and different from other sites that are out there. When they connect with you and/or brand, they are more likely to make a purchase either now or in the future. They will remember you and your website because you have something different to offer them.
Using stock photography tells them nothing about you, but illustrations can say much more about you and your products and services. Illustrations can help you hone in on your target market and their particular likes and preferences. This is more effective use of your advertising money than trying to appeal to a general audience and hoping that at least a few of them are in the right demographic group.
3. Small File Sizes = Faster Loading Speed
Another reason for considering illustrations instead of photographs is that illustrations have smaller file size. They are not as detailed as photographs and do not contain as much information. This means that they load faster.
The speed with which the page loads influence search ranking. Factors such as content and relevance are also important, but loading speed has a higher importance. One of the most efficient ways to increase the speed of your site is to reduce the file size of your pictures. Vector graphics (SVG files) is lightweight and also can be scaled up and down by browsers to fit any device screen size.
4. Easy to Change and Edit
A fourth reason to consider using web illustrations instead of photographs is that they are easy to change and edit.
If you decide to do rebranding at one point, you’re able do edit your already existing vector graphics to fit the new brand guidelines which is much cheaper than creating from scratch. So even though vector graphics might be expensive for you in the beginning, it’s a good investment for the future.
Hiring a full-time illustration artist makes it quick and easy to develop the content and edit it in the future.
5. Cost Effective in the Long Term
Connecting with your customers means more sales and followers long term, which can offset the costs of the illustration. The main reason why people choose free or low-cost stock photos is because of the initial cost. This seems attractive, particularly to personal bloggers, or those who do not have a large advertising budget.
If the purpose of your blog is not to make sales, then using cheap stock photography is okay, but if you are a business and have a brand to promote, then using stock photography can be a serious mistake. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, if you fail to attract customers, gain their trust, and entice them with your website you will not be likely to make sales. In this case, even the little amount that you spent is wasted money. It is wiser to spend your advertising dollars on methods that convert visitors to sales.
One of the worst scenarios if you use stock photography is going to another site, potentially even a competitor site, and seeing the same images that you use. If this happens, your audience will know it, and you may lose credibility in their eyes. If you use original illustrations, they know that you have put the time and effort into your site to make it unique. This also speaks well about the effort and care that you put into your products.
In the end you get what you pay for. This is perhaps even more true for the money that you spend advertising. Stock photography may be cheap or free, but in the long run it may not be the most cost-effective choice. It makes your website look cheap and just like all of the other 1.8 billion websites out there.
Having illustrations shows that you care about your audience and want to give them something a little more. In the long run, this can be more cost-effective than generic advertising. As you can see, there are many reasons why you should hire a professional illustrator to create a personalized brand for your website and your business if you want to stand out from the crowd and gain long standing loyal customers.