This may sound strange coming from a website designer, but what really makes a good website is a graphics designer. 
 
Having those great looking photos, logos, and image designs can really make or break the whole website, and in actual fact some of the most effective and professional looking websites nowadays tend to have a very simple layout and design, which then allows the images to add that wow-factor.
 
There can also be added benefits to good photos and images, for example through enhanced SEO performance, the speed and usability of the website improving, and being able to communicate important points beyond just words. 
 
Therefore here are 5 top tips in order to make the most of images and pictures on your website:

1. Get the Right Shots

The most important part of course, to have the right actual images.
 
For a logo and regular graphics permanently on the website or just advertising a particular event, this is the part to involve a good graphic designer in. If you do need them on a regular basis, then once you agree the general style and feel the designs it will become easier to issue updated ones along the same lines.
 
For photographs, the text-book answer is to have a professional photographer to provide these at a cost. 
 
Two other options though are taking them yourself, which although may not be as good a quality can help provide authenticity; over the years people have become more immune to standard ‘stock’ photos of smiley people in say offices, and actually preferring a more raw and real-life shot, even though more unpolished.
 
The second option is to use standard photos already taken by professionals, with websites like iStockImages you can purchase these straight away. However, you will need to be careful that whatever photos you do use, that you have full permissions and copyright to use these for whatever personal or commercial purposes.

2. Get the Right Presentation

When it comes to placing images on your website, knowing where and how to add these is important in order to ensure the best first impression. 
 
You don’t want to go overboard with them dotted around everywhere, or trying to be too clever and making one big background image, but rather scattering them as and when needed. 
 
Often these are in obvious locations that people naturally see on a website, for example the logo in the top left corner, images within a written piece to the left or right, and any home-page specials right at the top of the page 
 
Taking it a step further, you could use them in special features like a slide show that fades or scrolls in and out, or something that has been fashionable the last few years is having different images appear behind different pages and which changes to different images everytime you flick through them. 
 
You can then add a few special touches if needs be, either through your graphic designer or by yourself through online website like PicMonkey, for example black-and-white colours, or making the shape a circle rather than a standard square shape.
 
Here's one example at Easy Cleaners where we advised to get some great-looking front images matching the main brand colours at the top of the home page.

3.  Get the Right Words

Although pictures in themselves do say a thousand words, adding a few extra words can help. 
 
Popular forms of adding these are small captions or quotes either directly below or even as part of the image itself. These can help immediately focus the reader into what they need to understand from the picture or take action to accomplish.
 
These could be added at the design stage as part of the image, or added as manual words afterwards directly or through any special extension like a slide show, with the added benefit of additional words for your SEO efforts as well.

4.  Get the Right Size

A typical problem is having too good quality and larger-sized images, particularly with the technology of today’s mobile phone cameras. They tend to be larger for non-website purposes such as printed flyers, or even social media images which tend to be larger, but when it comes to a website they need to be smaller.
 
So an image can be a whopping 2000 pixels wide for example, whereas this could be reduced by over a half in size and quality for the purpose of website. The advantage of reducing for your website is to improve the speed and loading of the website on people’s browsers, rather than people waiting for large-sized images to be downloaded from the web.
 
The size change takes place in two phases. The first is the actual file size before it even goes on your website, with online applications helping you re-size and download a smaller version before you then upload to your website. 
 
The second is to change the size of what actually shows on the web page, which although can change what you see does not alter the fact that the original larger-size is still loading in the background. 

5.  Get the Right Name

A final tip is to make sure the actual name of the image file is related to your website and purpose, not only to help easily identify them when you’re adding to the website, but to improve your SEO by having a related image. 
 
So instead of just, say, IMG00567.jog when you download from your camera, renaming the file on your computer to say ‘best-plumbers-in-Birmingham’ can help make it more related.
 
Also, make sure the ‘alt tag’ description is also the same or related is important, which is a hidden description of the image that helps people see what it was trying to show if the image for some reason does not show on their internet browser.
 
Graphics and Images Will Make or Break Your Website 
 
Therefore right at the very beginning of any new or improved website, begin looking at what images and photos you need in order to add that special touch. 
 
Some will require external help from, say, a graphics designer, for example a logo or graphics, whilst others could be ones taken on your own phone and simply adapted for web use.
 
After you have these ready to roll, and remember to ask for another perspective on the finished look, whether a colleague or external aid. This will help you spot the wood from the trees, and those often blatantly obvious tweaks and changes that you may need to polish things off.
 
You’re then ready to go with that special wow-factor to your website.