When you consider your own website for your business, what photos do you have available on the home page? Are there any of you? Or are you hidden on the About Us page?
The availability of stock images means that those people who want to have photos of anything in particular on their business website can, without necessarily having to pose for the photo themself, or without needing to necessarily pay for the photos.
Pros for your own images
One benefit of using your own photo on your homepage is that you can help with people connecting with you, with your company. A lot of the reasons why people purchase from you is because of them connecting to your story, your humanity.
Another reason why using your own photo on your homepage is that you help to ensure that people remain on your site straight away. People judge a website from the first second it loads meaning they might not get to your about page before they’ve decided it’s not worth their time. Being front and centre means that you have more chance at capturing the audience who will then go and look further into your story.
And the best reason to use your own photo on your homepage. No one else will have used it!
Cons for stock images
The biggest downfall to just using a stock image, especially free stock images, is that you have no control over how many websites that image may appear on.
Which leads to the second downfall, the more times that the image appears on other websites, the harder it is to gain beneficial SEO from the image even if you do use all the other means of gaining SEO off an image. It dilutes the impact of the image when it’s having to compete against multiple websites (think of all the times you’ve seen the same images coming up in an image search in Google).
Why does it matter?
I’m not saying stock photos have no place on the homepage nor your website. Sometimes it can help your business portray what it is that you do without having to find someone who can capture it in a budget you can afford. But when you keep seeing the same image on various sites for the same industry, it can affect the way a potential client sees your relevance and value.