Yesterday we talked abouthow a bad contact form could be costing you communications and customers. It’s a rookie mistake, but today’s might be even rookier.
Mistake #2: Use Bad Photography
Bad photography has infiltrated the internet like… well, like a virus. You see one crummy photo of a kitchen towel and next thing you know every housewares retailer is using the same crummy photo of that kitchen towel.
It makes you wonder if somewhere there is a style guide that says, “When in doubt, use omnipresent crummy photo that you’ve pilfered from a competitor.” Poor photography can manifest in a couple of ways but each of them can negatively affect your reputation, credibility and sales.
Photos That Are Pixelated, Blurry Or Distorted
Not every business can afford high-end professional photography, but we’ve snapped better candids with our iPhones than we’ve seen on some websites.
If you’re an ecommerce retailer, we can’t overstate the importance of good photography. In a shopping environment where the customer can’t touch and feel your products, it’s vital that you provide them with a visual experience.
No amount of persuading and no number of bulleted benefits will get a customer to buy a product that looks like a big blurry mess.
This is especially true if you’re selling a unique product. Big retailers may be able to get away with a less-than-stellar photo of a common commodity product, but chances are you can’t.
Even if you can’t afford the best photographer in town, you’d do yourself a favor to invest in a decent digital camera and take some worthwhile photography.
Blurry and bad photography can affect more than just retailers. Even if your photos are only visual elements within your design, they should still be clean. Let’s say you’re a financial advisor and the extent of your photography is a stock photo of a shiny white egg in a bird’s nest (nest egg, get it?) Now let’s say your competitor is using a similar photo, but his is clean and crisp and yours is blurry and ugly. Which of you do you think leaves a better impression with potential customers?
The simple fact is that if you’re going to use photography, it should look professional. Otherwise you could be compromising your customers’ experience on your site and sacrificing your credibility.
Photos That Still Have The Stock Watermark
Nothing says “I’m too cheap to build a good web site” like stock photography that still has the watermark embedded in it. But before we berate you for that, let’s step back and talk about stock photography in general.
Stock photography can be a good option for people with limited budgets. For a few dollars you can turn an otherwise uninteresting site into something more visual. But before you buy, you should take a little time to visit other web sites – especially competitors – to be sure they aren’t (over)using the same photography.
If we had a nickel for every woman-on-phone photo we’ve seen on a web site… well, you get the point.
But more egregious than ubiquitous and cliché photography is ubiquitous and cliché photography with watermarks. The watermark means one of two things: either your developer forgot to get rid of the placeholder or you were too cheap to purchase the photo in the first place and you’re using the free comp.
Either way it makes you look like an amateur. Or a cheap amateur. Neither of which is particularly conducive to winning the confidence or appreciation of customers.
Photos That Fail To Represent The Product
If this one has bugged us as consumers, then chances are it’s bugged you – and will bug your customers.
Imagine you’re shopping for a bag to take on your next beach trip. You find a couple of nice looking ones, reasonably priced, and you’re almost ready to buy. But is there a pouch inside for your phone and a paperback? Is it one compartment or two? Will it stand up when it’s opened or collapse into a heap of floppy fabric? You can’t tell from the photo because it’s only one perfectly staged 100 x 100 pixel photo that you can’t enlarge for detail… can’t spin for more angles… and there are no photos of the inside or bottom. (At this point you might contact the web site owner but hey, maybe those forms aren’t even getting delivered.)
If you’re selling laundry detergent then you probably don’t need close-ups and multiple angle shots because your customers get laundry detergent. But if your products are original then good photography can make or break the sale.
It’s incredibly annoying to be unable to get that “touch and feel” experience we talked about earlier. Good photography will make you feel like you’ve got the product in your hand already. Bad photography will just send your customer to another web site.
Don’t be too lazy or too cheap to let such a simple rookie mistake cost you business. Clean up your photography right now.
Have you ever given up on a website and gone to a competitor because you couldn’t see a good photo of the product?
Read More In The “Rookie Mistakes” Series
- Rookie Mistake 1: Annoy Customers With Your Contact Form
- Rookie Mistake 2: Use Bad Photography
- Rookie Mistake 3: Bad Links
- Rookie Mistake 4: Dead Links Pointing To Your Site
- Rookie Mistake 5: Forgetting You’re Not A Rock Star
- Rookie Mistake 6: Too Much (Useless) Information
- Rookie Mistake 7: Dizzy Background
- Rookie Mistake 8: Misusing Technology
- Rookie Mistake 9: Mangling Your META Data
- Rookie Mistake 10: No Call To Action