Great design can really enahance your site, and pictures will really help to engage your visitors. If they just see a load of text they will soon be turned off. On the other hand good uses of images can draw people into the site and make them want to stay.
Pictures can either take the form of graphics or photos or in the form of embedded video. Youtube is an easy to access source of multimedia to embed in your site. Graphics and photos can be static or moving, usually using Flash. As a general rule it’s best to only use one moving image and to make that as unobtrusive as possible. Websites with loads of flashing images turn people off in no time.
For static images you will need some form of image editing software. The daddy of them all is Adobe Photoshop – however, a cut down (and chepaer) version called Photoshop Elements can provide you with all you need. A word of warning – don’t use youer web design software to manipulate the size that pictures are displayed – the image will be distorted and fuzzy – so use software that is designed for the purpose.
Try to ensure that the images that you use fit in well with the look and feel of your site. If your site uses predominantly conservative blue tones, a predominatly red image will probably look out of place. make sure that your pictures are an appropriate size – not too dominating, but not so small that your visitors have to peer at the screen to make out what it is.
A supply of free images is available from Stock Xchange and Dreamstime.