How to Use Images on Your Veterinary Website
Add Pictures to all of Your Posts
Typically, when reading articles and pages online, people will skim the content for interesting details, rather than read it deeply. Large blocks of text look daunting and often aren’t read at all. Breaking up larger posts with images, subheadings, pull quotes, and bullet points can help make your content “skimmable,” meaning it’s more appealing for readers.
In addition to the benefits to your user experience and content consumption, adding images can also be good for your search engine rankings. Optimizing your images with related keywords lets you showcase your content’s relevance to search engines.
Use Your Own Images
In the animal health industry in particular, there are really only so many quality stock photos out there. You see the same images used on all kinds of things: product packages, brochures, websites, billboards, the list goes on. They’re tired, they are no longer interesting, and they’re not original content.
Whenever possible, use your own original images. Post pictures of your patients, and your staff (but make sure you have permission first!), and avoid photos of pets from Google Images, or the obviously-a-model stock photo veterinarian.
Adding your own images helps your content appear original, fresh, more engaging, and trustworthy. A potential client seeing your own faces is a good thing; that same client recognizing the stock photo models as the staff from the clinic in the next town over isn’t a good thing.
Add Alt Text and Title Tags
The thing about images is that not everybody can see them—and this is where alternative (alt) text and title tags come in handy.
The alt text is what a human reader will see if the image itself isn’t visible. For example, let’s say a user has a visual impairment and is using a screen reader. The reader will use the alt text to narrate what the image would be.
It’s also useful if the image is broken, or if users have chosen not to load images in their web browsers.
Alt text also provides context for search engine crawlers, which can’t actually see images. It’s important to write alt text that accurately describes the image, and that tries to incorporate the keyword you wish to target with your page.
Most web browsers use image title tags as the text that appears beside your cursor when you hover over an image. This is known as a tooltip. Some older browsers use the image alt-tag for this purpose.
Match Your File Names and Your Content Title
Believe it or not, your image’s file name plays an important role in how a search engine interprets your photo, as well as how it ranks in Google’s image search. Make sure that you name your file something that describes the image content before uploading.
For example, instead of going with “IMG200007.jpg,” you could try “dog-getting-dental-cleaning.jpg” to help your images rank better. If the image is your own (i.e., one you took in your practice), you can also include the practice name or an abbreviation into the image name.
Size Your Images Properly
If you don’t resize the image using image editing software before adding them to your website, you’re relying on your website’s content editor to do the work. It will resize the images for you, but it may load the entire full-size image in the background. This causes your page to load more slowly than it should, which is both frustrating to a visitor and potentially damaging for search engine results.
You don’t need to have a heavy-duty image editor like Photoshop to resize images. For example, Windows comes with the Photos app. To resize an image, open it in Photos, click “Edit” in the toolbar and then “Resize.” For Mac users, the Preview app will do the trick. Open the image, click “Tools” in the toolbar and “Adjust Size.”
Save your photo as a JPEG file, and choose a quality setting in the medium- to high-quality range. This will give you a quality image with a more reasonably sized file. Avoid using the highest-quality setting (the image won’t be compressed for good web viewing) and the lowest-quality setting (image quality will suffer).These are the basics of images to get you started. With just a few quick tips, you’ll be seeing the big picture of multi-functional images on your website in no time—and helping pet owners see it, too!
10 Top Free Photo Sites for Veterinary Websites
Pictures do far more for veterinary practices than fill up empty space in blogs and social posts. Pictures help drive traffic to veterinary websites.
While using images taken at your own clinic is ideal for personalizing and distinguishing your practice website, blog, and social posts, you may not always have time to take photos. Or you may not have a photo on hand that suits your needs. For such occasions, you can easily find what you need without breaking your budget (or copyright law) from the free image sources below.
Many of the photographs from the listed resources are free of copyright restrictions or licensed under Creative Commons (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication (CC0 for short). This means you can copy, modify, and distribute an image without asking permission. Some photos may require attribution. We’ve done our best to identify the licenses under which the below resources fall, but we advise you to do your own research to determine how the images from any resource may be used.
With that out of the way, here are 10 top free photo sites for veterinary websites.
1. Free Digital Photos
Offering stock photos and illustrations, Free Digital Photos offers the smallest sizes of their images for free—provided you attribute both the website and image creator. You can also purchase larger versions of images, which do not require attribution. To download a free image, you’ll need to provide your email address and accept their terms and conditions.
2. Free Images
Searchable by keyword or collections, Free Images offers thousands of stock images and illustrations according to their content licensing agreement. When used for editorial purposes or within an audio/visual production, images must be attributed to both the website and image creator. When used for commercial purposes, no attribution is required. To download images, you’ll need to create a free account.
3. ISO Republic
Searchable by keyword, category, and popular tags, ISO Republic offers thousands of free-use photos and video clips, and while no attribution is required for any downloads per the ISO Republic license, attribution is appreciated.
Magdeleine photos fall under two licenses: CC0 – Public Domain and Attribution Required. You can filter photos according to license group by clicking on the license filter choice on the menu on the right-hand side of the page. For design purposes, you can also filter photos by dominant colors.
“Stunning” describes the overall collection of photos found at Pexels. Searchable by keyword, as well as general categories found under the Explore tab, Pexels includes a large library of high-quality stock video clips. No attribution is required. To grab a free photo or video, just click on it, then click Free Download.
Picography’s collection of photos are free to use under CC0. Searchable by keyword or category, Picography’s library of high-resolution images simply involves finding the photo you want and clicking Download the Free Photo.
With thousands of rights-free and CC0 photos and videos, Pikwizard includes hundreds of high-quality pictures of people, which tends to be rare in free stock photo sites. You can search the entire Pikwizard library by keyword or thematic groups of photos.
Pixabay features over 1.7 million high-quality photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos, offered royalty-free under Pixabay’s usage license, which does not require attribution. Pixabay doesn’t require registration to use their free images. If you choose not to register, you must click a CAPTCHA box each time you download something. As a registered Pixabay user, you are not required to click a CAPTCHA box for downloads.
SkitterPhoto is a collection of CC0 photos, all submitted directly to the website by contributors rather than collected from other sources. Searchable by keyword or category, Skitterphoto is a great source for photos you might not have seen on other free stock photo sites, and there’s no sign-up to the service. Just find the photo you want and click the Download button.
Unsplash features thousands of high-resolution images by contributing photographers, searchable by keyword and collections. According to the Unsplash usage license, you do not need to credit photographers, although credit as always appreciated.
Tip: How you use images on your practice website is just as important as the images you choose. Where you place an image on a web page, for example, and how you treat that image can affect website appeal and the impression of your practice by pet owners.
WebDVM custom veterinary websites simplify both attractive image selection and optimal design use for busy practices. Each WebDVM designer carefully selects high-quality, beautiful images to help tell your practice story and encourage pet owners to complete desired calls to action. Since each WebDVM is custom designed, images are strategically used through different treatments, placement, and slideshows to enhance website appeal and compel people to choose your practice.
Discover why more veterinarians choose WebDVM.