When you are searching the Internet, the first thing you are likely to notice when you visit a website is the imagery. If the website isn’t visually appealing, you may navigate away to another resource that is more engaging and seems more credible.

Featured partner: Big Walnut Youth Sports
Website design: Chronos II
Main take-away: Effective use of the image rotator

Part of creating an engaging website is having great images. Big Walnut Youth Sports, a multi-sport youth program and DICK’S Team Sports HQ partner, is a great example of this in practice. In addition to setting their program apart from others in the area, the imagery on Big Walnut’s website also helps to:

  1. Establish their brand and leave a lasting first impression
  2. Rank their page higher in search engine results (read our blog post about SEO for youth sports)
  3. Keep the site fresh and interesting, encouraging parents to revisit it frequently
  4. Promote visitors to share the site to their social pages, increasing Big Walnut’s visibility is the community

Capturing the perfect pictures

It doesn’t take a professional photographer to capture a great photo, but it doesn’t hurt to have a nice camera. While some smartphone cameras take photos that are a high enough resolution for your website, using a DSLR camera will significantly improve the quality. Ask parents and volunteers to take pictures at practices, games, and events and share them through email. Downloading pictures from Facebook and re-uploading to your website can significantly decrease the quality of the image, so it’s best to have the original file.

If you are looking for specific image to communicate an upcoming event or update, there are plenty of stock image resources online. When searching for the perfect picture, don’t forget about copyright. Using a random image from a Google search can potentially violate copyright law. To avoid this, use pictures from websites that provide photos free of copyright restrictions, such as StockSnap.io, Pexels and Unsplash.

Effectively utilize your DICK’S Team Sports HQ image rotator

Each DICK’S Team Sports HQ theme includes an image rotator on the homepage. The rotator is a great place to share recent photos with your visitors and keep your website fresh. To get the most use out of this feature, our design team put together a few best practices for you to try. You can see how Big Walnut is incorporating these tips on their website.

  1. Make adjustments. Use free online tools such as Canva to adjust photo lighting, coloration, etc. You can also use this user-friendly tool to make graphics, collages, and add text to photos. It is important to be aware of where the photo’s caption displays on your theme’s rotator to ensure it doesn’t overlap with any text added to photos.
  2. Size matters. When you reach the Add/Edit Content screen within the rotator, check the optimal image size in the notes at the bottom. File size requirements vary by theme and a crop tool allows you to make necessary adjustments to the photo dimensions directly inside your website. You can find the size of your picture by checking in the “properties” file of the image.
  3. Don’t forget the title and description. The title you give each image will appear as a caption on your image rotator. Including a descriptive title (such as Blue Sombrero Youth Baseball Game vs. baseball1) and description will also help your website to show up on Google searches.
  4. Stay organized. Keep a file on your computer of all rotator images. If you choose to switch website themes later, you may need to re-upload your images to the rotator if the size requirements differ. Having easy access to your rotator images will make for a more seamless switch.

For more tips on how to make your website stand out, be sure to follow our blog and sign up for the DICK’S Team Sports HQ monthly newsletter, The Support Playbook.