Personal Photos on a Business Website

I recommended to the real estate agent that she put a photo of herself on the home page of her website. Two days later, someone on a forum we both participated in posted a long article about how putting photos on a home page was tacky, and how no real business did that. The woman I recommended it to gave me the email equivalent of the pitying look, and went elsewhere.

I still recommend a home page photo to real estate agents, and to a few other select business professionals. I do not recommend it as a success tactic for most businesses, though I do recommend that they use photos of themselves on the site where appropriate. Yes… it makes you look like a Mom and Pop business. But guess what? People LIKE Mom and Pop businesses! The key point is, to use the photo in the right way for your business.

You see, a photo on the home page for a product sales business, or even most services, makes you look overeager, and self-promoting. But for some businesses, and some purposes, photos of the business owner or personnel are highly effective.

  • For microbusinesses, the only advantage you have over a corporation is personal attention. They can outgun you on just about every other front, but you can be more personal than they can ever be. So placing a photo of yourself on the about page, (not on the home page!) or photos of your employees, gives the business a face and conveys that message of personal touch. That’s something large corporations cannot really do, though they really try to imply that they can.
  • For personal service businesses like real estate, or insurance, where the agent IS the difference, a photo actually belongs on the home page. If they want impersonal service, they go to When they want a real person, they look for a real estate agent’s own website. Putting a face on it right up front helps to reinforce the message that they found what they were looking for. The agent’s personality is HUGE with that kind of website, and a photo, if done well, helps to appeal to the kind of people the agent wants to be working with. Without the photo, the site loses that moment of instant message of a real person being behind the agency. In this instance, the agent IS the purpose of the website, so the photo is an integral part of the purpose of the website, which is, to introduce the agent.

Unless you are emphasizing that you are a family business, leave off the kids and the dog. But get the human touch in there. It helps you to compete with big business in a way they just can’t touch!

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