Images can be one of the most important and powerful aspects of your church or nonprofit’s website. They can catch the eyes of your website visitors and show them the heart behind your organization.

So, when it comes time to choose images for your website, we recommend keeping 4 things in mind to make sure your organization’s site is picture perfect.

1. Avoid Stock Photos

When it comes to having personal, relatable images on your website that draw visitors into your organization, stock photos are never the answer. Stock photos are overdone, generic, and they don’t give users a good sense of who your organization is or what you do.

Rather, your site should use images of real people that attend your church on Sunday mornings or volunteer at your nonprofit weekly. Photos like these are more authentic, and trust us—your website visitors will feel it through the screen.

2. Optimize all images for SEO (naming, size, file type)

Something many people don’t consider is the impact images can make on your site’s SEO. In actuality, the size, file type, and name of your site’s images can all have a negative or positive impact on your site’s SEO.

Image Size

The larger an image on your website is, the longer it will take the website page to load. This not only annoys website visitors, but it can also tank your SEO. The key is to compress your images to a smaller size. You want to maintain the quality of the image while keeping the size of the photo as small as you can.

The general rule of thumb is to make sure all your images are 70 KB or less. You can compress your images using Photoshop, WordPress plugins, or other compression tools online.

Image Name

Never upload images to your site with the name ‘IMG_054.jpg’ or ‘Screenshot2-8-24.png.’ The name of your image can matter just as much as the photo itself. Instead, name the photo with regards to what is actually in the image. This will help Google and other search engines index your photos and website pages.

For example, if your church posts a photo of a Sunday School group, name the photo ‘sunday-school.jpg.’ Or, if your nonprofit includes a photo of volunteers at a dog shelter, name the photo ‘dog-shelter-volunteers.jpg.’

When naming, avoid periods, underscores, and uppercase letters. Use hyphens if you want to separate words in the title. Also, try to keep the names short. In addition to optimizing the name of an image, you can also add alt text for SEO purposes.

Image Name

Before you upload a photo to your website, make sure it’s the right file type.

  • JPGs – This file type is best for photos. It keeps your photos crisp and clear while still compressing into a smaller file size. This helps your website pages load quicker which will help your SEO.
  • PNGs – These files, on the other hand, should be used for graphics (like your church or nonprofit’s logo.) This file type is especially good for any image with a transparent background.

3. Choose photos that express emotion or evoke action

If you’re running a church or nonprofit, chances are that you want to connect with the community around you. Images can help you make this connection with users even through a computer or phone screen.

When choosing your images, consider the emotion behind them. What story do they tell? If you’re a church, your images should showcase the community within your congregation. Your images should feel welcoming and give a sense of what your church is like. If you’re a nonprofit, your images should evoke action within your audience. Your images should encourage them to adopt a shelter dog, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or assist in whatever your organization’s mission is.

4. Make sure you have permission

Never assume that someone is okay with having their picture taken and posted online. You should always ask permission before choosing images with people in them. 

This is especially important if your church or nonprofit uses images of minors. If you already have some currently on your website, we recommend taking them down until you can ask for a parent or guardian’s permission. In the future, always make sure to ask beforehand.

Need Help?

While images may seem like an easier aspect of your website, they’re actually incredibly important. If your church or nonprofit needs help choosing or modifying images for your site, feel free to reach out to our team. We would love the opportunity to serve you.

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