The Business Porn Crackdown

You may not even know it, but your website could be flooded with porn. No, not that kind (dirty mind). I’m talking about “business porn.”

What exactly is “business porn?” It’s all that irrelevant stock photography that is supposed to bring a corporate edge to your website.

So cover your eyes, because you see it all the time!

Now when is stock photography business porn? Brian Massey gives a basic tip to identify it, just add a caption to your stock photo. Take a look at the image below:

Here’s my caption: Oh look at us, we’re all so corporate looking, wearing fancy suites, and doing absolutely nothing!

Now would you put place a caption like that on your site? I sure hope not… Brian’s are way more clever though. Don’t believe me? Click HERE to read his post.

And just how important is eliminating “business porn?” It just might help better increase your conversions. In fact, it’s one of the 27 Ways To Reduce Shopping Fears On Your Ecommerce Website according to Visual Website Optimizer.

Case in point, use real photos to represent your company or brand. Go to a studio, use Photoshop, and make them look pretty! You’ll be glad you did.

For more on identifying “business porn” ready Brian’s post via Customer Creation Equation.

Your Conversion Web Team Needs a Draftsman

BlueprintWe’ve been talking about who you need on your web team. One person was story teller. Another is a draftsman. Draftsmen are designers who are all about function, not just looks. Not that an ugly webpage is good for conversion. Not at all. If a website is ugly, looks amateurish or dated, or is tricky to navigate, it will hurt conversion rather than help it.

But, sometimes web designers get a little too caught up in the design, the beauty and symmetry. It almost seems they forget that the point is to get people to convert rather than to take a screenshot of the home page and post it on the wall. Reminder, we want people to find answers, products, services and relationship on this site…not just cool graphics.

Conversion Scientists know they need designers. But they also know they need draftsmen. Draftsmen aren’t the ones who make the front of the building look like a swan’s wing. They’re the ones who make sure there’s plumbing and electricity and air vents and studs and other things that make the building actually work.

If I am helping a company to create a high-converting website and I say, “Make this element the most prominent item on the page,” a “draftsman” designer will hear, “Surround it with white space, make it stand out on the background, choose a color that is NOT part of the page’s color palette, and make sure it is above the ‘fold.’”

I don’t know what the creative designer will hear. I just know that they are reluctant to step outside of the site’s style guidelines, meaning that important elements look the same as every other element on the page.

You want a designer on staff that is designing the optimal routes for the human eye. They can guide the path of your visitors’ eyes like a conductor’s baton.

Once the logo and style guide is done, release the agency, but keep your draftsman close. Because once the website is pretty you’re still going to need somebody around who can pick the right “Contact” form and design those breathtaking conversion buttons.


On your web design team, you need somebody who can pick the right colors and the right style and feel for your company. But you also need a draftsman designer—the one who knows that the prettiest website in the world isn’t much good unless the hard working parts—like your conversion buttons—have the right to disrupt the design. Draftsmen—who are sometimes women—are designers with tool belts. They’re more concerned with bearing walls than graceful arches. And they put in the elements that make people convert. Read more in Customer Creation Equation.


Your Website Needs an Image Maker

Pictures are powerful. They can evoke emotion and action and tell a story. Sadly, many designers focus solely on how an image fits into the design rather than what the image conveys to the visitor. So, in addition to a designer, our website needs an image maker who understands the purpose of an image in storytelling and conversion. Our image maker will understand why the image will appeal to our audience and what it will say.

For example, think about all the consultative websites that seem to feature the same set of super-scrubbed, fit, shiny, smiley, possibly lobotomized and mostly Caucasian people wearing dark suits?

Here they are! Put on your designer’s hat and see if you can ferret out the reason they chose the picture.


Figure 1: What does this image say to the reader?

The designer’s caption for this image may be “If you buy from us, you can hang with happy, pretty people, like me!”

I call this Business Porn.

Next, put on your cynical hat. What does the image “say” now? I might say “Hi! I’m here to appeal to the base urges of our mostly male audience.”

This is what readers are thinking.

Getting Your Best Image Out There

Here’s a great test for your site. Go to your home page or other page frequented by visitors. Look at the images there and try to write a caption for them. I know that your images don’t have a caption. No one adds captions, which is just plain sad. Every image should have a caption

Captions are the most read part of a Web page. You should provide a caption for each image.

The caption does not have to explain the picture. In fact this is a great place to re-state any offers on the page. Get your ace copywriter involved.

Having a caption is one of the basic tenets of images. Here are others:

Show the product

This is obvious for an Online Store, but less so for the other signatures. Publishers can show the content.

How can a Consultative Site “show the product?” Get creative. Show screenshots of things you designed for clients. If you work in human relations, have a picture of a real team, working together, not the perfect team above. Show graphs of improved productivity or profits. Provide pictures of DVD’s complete with labels to highlight your online video or choose pictures of your authors or presenters for reports and webinars.

For the Site as a Service, screen shots are commonly used. But only use the whole screen if you must to tell the story. If the screen shot looks like a complex, overwhelming jumble, it will scare people off rather than attract them.

Make it clickable

People expect to be able click on images. If you doubt this assertion, try installing a service like CrazyEgg ( or ClickTale ( You will get a heat map of where visitors are clicking on your pages.

It’s very enlightening.

For product pages in your Online Store, take visitors to a larger version of the image. For Brochures, Publications, Consultative sites, and Service sites, take them to a page that includes the image, but offers more.

Yes, you should take them to a landing page.

More and bigger is better for conversion

On your Online Store, the more photos you can offer, the better. Show the product from all angles, in high resolution. Show it being used, worn or manipulated.

Successful online retailers can even show their apparel with a variety of outfits.

Remember, you have to get the user to touch, taste and smell your products through the Internet.

Your image maker can help that happen.


Designers look at how the whole website fits together. Image makers, on the other hand, make sure the images fit in the story and the overall conversion plan. Without an image maker, your website can wind up with images so sterile they communicate lack of imagination or so “arty” they forget you’re selling a product. Image makers make sure your products show to the best advantage, have captions and are clickable so that people who like what they see can be taken deeper down the ol’ conversion funnel. Find out more about what your site needs from an image maker in Customer Creation Equation Blog….