Website designers make it look so easy…
By the time you’re looking at a live website, all the decisions have been made. Colours, fonts, logos, photos.
But if you’ve ever been on the other side of the creative process, you know just how time consuming it can be to piece together a vision.
So, how can you both find great photos for your website, and yet not spend all your time and energy on it?
You know what photos you like, but you don’t know what the perfect photo for your new website looks like until you see it… and then suddenly hours have slipped away.
Before you know it, you’ve got over a dozen new tabs open in your web browser, and you’re still looking for “the one” photo amidst all the stock photo websites that Google offers up.
Start small and work your way up.
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Your first and foremost goal is to create a simple and professional website that you can get up and running immediately. You can get fancy, spend more money, and take more time and energy on it later.
I know this is some of the best advice I can give you. Over 90% of Realtors who’ve done this have got a professional real estate website up and running quickly. Once done, the urgency to make it more than it needed to be... passed.
They were satisfied without the flashing lights, bells or whistles. They realised simply having a website was the most important part of the process, that clients weren’t gained or lost by fancy effects or imagery.
It’s the “eyes are larger than stomach” syndrome. Don’t go to a buffet when you’re starving. Don’t grocery shop while you’re hungry.
Now let’s apply that to the project of selecting photos.
Remember that a single image isn’t going to make or break your website (you know, as long as it’s professional and relevant).
Essentially, my advice is to just pick something.
I know you still want to look around, so here’s how to stay focused and efficient:
- Set a timer and/or put on some upbeat music. You’re looking to stay focused, and not have time suddenly disappear. Let’s aim to do this in 20-minute sprints.
- Open up no more than 4 stock photo websites. Just Google “stock real estate photos” and you’ll find several options.
I’ll just take a moment and mention that I assume that we all know that you should be purchasing stock photos, not downloading anything from Google Image Search. Right? Right. Plan on paying for the images you use for your website.
- Use the search feature within the stock photo website. You can name your city + the word “views” or “condos” or “houses”, or you can look for nicely styled interiors. “Modern condo kitchen” or “character house living room” can be a great place to start. Don’t hesitate to follow suggested searches.
- First, for every photo you like, open it in a new tab. Limit your selections to about 30-40 photos, but you’re looking to cast a wide net over any photos that look alright to you at first glance.
- Next, be ruthless in trimming of your least favourite images, so that you’re narrowing it down quickly. Close the tabs of the ones you are trimming. Get it down to no more than 10 photos, and just keep chopping away.
Still undecided? Look at the prices of the photos! You can certainly find a good photo for under $20 if that helps you decide.
Finally, buy one image! You want a photo that is at least 2000 pixels wide (the pixel width is the first # that is listed). If you’re really torn, pick one, and bookmark other favourites so that you can come back to them if you’re still not happy once the website is all set up.
At least you'll be moving forward, even if you come back and tweak it later.
Thinking of using some photos from properties you’ve sold? Check with your photographer that you have their permission to use their photos on your website. Photographers typically retain the license to the photos, so you wouldn’t want to assume you’ve got a perpetual right without checking. Your photographer will appreciate your vigilance and consideration.
That’s it! It might seem like obvious advice, but for anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole of perusing pretty pictures, setting yourself up for efficiency and success is key!