As it happens, we tend to judge by our first impressions. First impressions can be wrong and misguided, but I’ve often made important decisions off of them anyway. From deciding where to eat using pictures on a restaurant’s menu, to picking out what book to read, to buying a present online, we make decisions all the time from visual first impressions. This also applies to websites.

A Website’s First Impression

If I don’t know a company, I look them up online. This is a part of our daily routine. Don’t know something, then Google it! Well, searching usually leads me to a company’s website that has detailed ‘About Us’ or ‘What We Do’, but that is not the first thing I look at. I look at the pictures and the design and try to figure out whether this company keeps their website up-to-date. Overall, I’m trying to figure out whether I should trust them with my business and personal information off of visuals alone. Once I decide that I can trust the company, only then do I read the content and browse through the website.

This might seem backwards, since first impressions of companies through websites are neither reliable nor accurate, especially if we base our decisions on visuals. However, as a society we like and trust organized, clean, simple things and the digital realm is no different.

With that in mind, one of the easiest and underestimated ‘good first impression’ fixes for websites is having good quality pictures.

Good Quality Pictures

First things first, make sure that the pictures on your website have something to do with your business. Nothing is worse than seeing a picture of people in suits shaking hands as a header. No one can tell what it means, how it applies to them as visitors and how it applies to you as a business.

Stock pictures are fine to use, they just have to be relevant to what you do. Just ask if the picture makes sense to have as a focal point of your website? If you sell cars, would you want a picture of a plane to be the first thing people see? No. So make your picture mean something about what you do.

Authentic pictures are the best. Authentic pictures are pictures that you take yourself, and while it might be hard to take a nice quality picture, the effort is worth it. People value authenticity and want to see that on your website.

Now, if a picture is relevant but small, blurry or pixelated, do not use it. It might be tempting, but it is not worth it. Low-quality pictures have a habit of taking away from the content you have. People are trying to figure out what the picture is, rather than looking at your content. High-quality pictures are worth having and give your website even more reliability.

Placement is the final key. Be sure the images on your website assist your content and don’t overshadow it. A good picture will help your content shine, and allow the reader to understand what you do. Even just one well placed photo can make a huge difference.


To make a good first impression, photos and graphics need to be clear, relevant and high-quality.

Go through your website and look at your pictures. Make sure the following is true:

  • They relate in some aspect to your business. From stock pictures to pictures you take yourself, all images should relate to your business.
  • Quality is key. Make sure that your photos are not pixelated or blurry. This takes away from the great content you already have.
  • Use images to boost your content without overshadowing it. (Unless you are a photographer, then by all means have it be the center of attention.)

You never get another chance to make a good first impression. If people are going to judge a book by its cover, at least make your cover stunning.

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Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.