A Quiz for Your Website’s Hero Image


I just presented a session at WordCamp called, Make an Impact: Design Tips for Your Homepage. One of my most crucial tips: Have a compelling hero image on your home page.

What’s a hero image, you ask?

It’s the large banner image placed on a web page—and it’s usually the first visual a visitor encounters on your site. Your home page hero image is super important because your home page is the most visited on your website.

You have only 5-7 seconds to make a great first impression, so you’re wasting a valuable opportunity if you don’t choose your hero image wisely. Fear not…the info you need is right here.

To choose the best hero image, say YES to these 6 questions:

  1. Does it make an emotional connection? We want your image to make visitors chuckle, smile or imagine a better life because of what you’re offering. Help clarify by asking: Is this image emotive and magnetic? Does it provide an experience? Does it provoke an emotional response that’s relative to your brand and what you provide? This example from Connect with Copy demonstrates this point.
  2. Does it feel authentic? Use images that are genuine, happy or joyful in a way that’s related to the transformative nature of your business. In this example, the business owner looks genuinely happy, relaxed and relieved—it doesn’t look fake or like a cheesy corporate stock photo from the 1990’s.
  3. Does it honor your audience? Use your images to show that you know exactly who your audience is. Is this an image they will respond to? Understand? What are their desires, sensitivities and hopes? Simply put, people like to feel understood. When I develop a brand story for a client, I consider what positive outcomes your audience is hoping for, and then use images to honor them. In my recent project for K9 Fitness, this image honors the fact that the ideal client deeply wants their dog to be having safe adventures with other dogs.
  4. Does it support your brand personality? You want your image to use your brand’s own unique voice to separate itself from the competition. So if your brand personality is healthy, bold and whimsical—does your image support it? This example feels very Chobani—don’t you think?
  5. Does it have room to breathe? Your image will be more powerful when it’s not cluttered and bumping into the other elements on the page. In this example from Checkout, you can see that the image leaves plenty of negative space. The relationship between the image and the surrounding text mean each element has lots of room to breathe, making the entire layout easier to digest.
  6. Does it work on all devices? Be aware. Your images will be showing up on all different devices, big and small, from computers to iPhones and more—so they have to be tech savvy. This example from MailChimp provides my point perfectly.

What about stock photos?

At the end of my talk, someone asked: “What do you think about stock photos? Are they bad?”

No, not all stock photos are bad. They can be great if they align with these tips listed above.

Not sure if your images are up to par?

If your images have been chosen on a whim, or you’re simply not sure if they’re as good as they could be, send me a link to your website. I’ll be doing image-assessments for the first 5 people who respond.


  1. Angie on at

    I would love an image assessment.

    • Alison on at

      That’s great to hear. I will contact you shortly with details.

  2. Maria Vigil on at

    Alison, this is a really great article and you do a great job clearly explaining your points. I would love an image assessment. Thanks.

    • Alison Chandler on at

      Thank you Maria, I will contact you soon for more details.

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