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<span class="lite_member_name">Banu Sekendur</span>
Banu Sekendur
Intuitive Coach: For Business and Personal
Seattle, Washington
Posted by Banu Sekendur, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

Subscribe to The Biznik Community Should you put your photo on your website?

I've thought about this before and have my own opinions but I wondered what you guys would say.

I decided to post this question after reading Mark Silver's wonderful article "The Bermuda Triangle That Eats Your Referrals".

Would love to hear opinions and experiences....


45 Bizniks have posted replies

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  • Business Tenderizer 
Portland, Oregon 
Mark Silver
    Posted by Mark Silver, Portland, Oregon | Feb 21, 2008

    I have a strong opinion: yes, you should. I can't think of a business, especially a small business, where I don't have the urge to click the 'about' page just to see who I'm talking to through their website.

    If I can't find a photo, it makes me pause and wonder if I really want to do business with them.

    Even for larger organizations, I love to see photos of staff.

    And thanks for your kind words about my article- that one definitely struck a nerve...

  • Intuitive Coach: For Business and Personal 
Seattle, Washington 
Banu Sekendur
    Posted by Banu Sekendur, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    Yes! Thanks for saying this Mark (I love it when people agree with me!). I ALWAYS look for a photo on someone's website and don't like it when I don't find one.

    I do this when I am reading a book too. At certain parts of the book, especially when I am getting really really into it, I turn to the back cover and look at the author's picture. Call me crazy... but it really feels good to do that. :)

    and.... I still look for the author's face when I am browsing through books at a bookstore.

    OK, that's my confession for the day! :)

  • Filmmaker 
Seattle, Washington 
Dan McComb
    Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    On a related subject, one of the things that drives me nuts about of online community sites and some social networks is that members don't upload real photos of themselves. For example, on the otherwise awesome site, it's rare to find a real photo or even a real name in the comments. There is something gratifying about the ability to be anonymous on the web, but if you're a freelancer, do you want to be anonymous when it comes to your business?

    That's why we require real names on Biznik (Facebook does too - LinkedIn, on the other hand only JUST began allowing members to upload photos a couple months ago). On Biznik we display members who have uploaded real photos above all the members who haven't in the member directories, to encourage this. To me, it makes the place seem so much more authentic. Thoughts?

  • Filmmaker 
Seattle, Washington 
Dan McComb
    Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    One more point - I think that requiring real names and strongly encouraging real photos also is partly why we rarely have any flame wars or snarky comments between members. Plus, of course, the fact that there's a good change that you might actually MEET the person you're talking with at an event.

  • Internet Sales Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Howard Howell
    Posted by Howard Howell, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    One of the reasons I promote biznik to everyone I run into is the requirement for real names and the liberal use of photos throughout the site. I think it is a large contributing factor to the effectiveness of trust building between referral partners.

    I make it a strong point to NOT do business with anyone that appears as a ghost on-line. I only do business with "real people" willing to show me who they are. Naturally I post my picture on my website also.

  • Professional Haberdasher 
Seattle, Washington 
Jeff Collins
    Posted by Jeff Collins, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    I think one way to test this theory here is to ask yourself how many profiles you've visited recently without photos compared to with a photo.

    Profiles without a photo are easily overlooked. When you do look at them they are usually unfinished in other ways as well. They are rarely worth your time.

  • Intuitive Coach: For Business and Personal 
Seattle, Washington 
Banu Sekendur
    Posted by Banu Sekendur, Seattle, Washington | Feb 21, 2008

    This is a warm and sincere photo of you Howard. :) I haven't met you in person yet but this pic already evokes a positive perception.

    Yeah, when you have your real name and photo posted next to your message, it's harder to act unprofessional. It gives us accountability I think.

    Personally I like the photo Dan had way back when, wearing some kind of a fur coat looking thingy.... :)

  • Web Site Marketing Coach 
Seattle, Washington 
Cathy Goodwin
    Posted by Cathy Goodwin, Seattle, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    I repeat the Internet mantra: You have to test! Most of the time photos help build credibility. However, I met someone who sold information products online. He tested with and without his photo. Without the photo, he actually sold more.

    Sales pages work the same way. I've been testing mine with and without images of products. The answer: it varies.

  • Professional Organizer 
Seattle, Washington 
Elizabeth Lee
    Posted by Elizabeth Lee, Seattle, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    I do not have my photo on my company web site or on my business card, and do not have plans to do so in the future. I do TYPICALLY have my real photo here on Biznik unless I feel like testing the waters and then I throw up an odd ball photo.

    I don't believe the lack of photo on my company "marketing materials" takes away from my credibility as a professional organizer. I want people to hire me based on my background and education. If I looked like a Victoria Secret model I am quite certain my opinion would be completely different but I don't so it isn't.

    On a social and business networking site such as Biznik the presence of a photo is key. It says "HI" this is a snapshot of me from last week or when I was riding the roller coaster at Coney Island or when I got my new dog and I wanted to share the photo.

    It is a handshake in a 3 x 3 box.

  • Shea Butter Spa Products 
Lynnwood, Washington 
Rebecca Wood
    Posted by Rebecca Wood, Lynnwood, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    This touches a nerve for me.... I hate my picture taken and we (my family) does not to my knowledge have any pics of me...sad I know but its the way it is....

    I do think its important to have an about me page and photos up on your website. I personally love to know who Im dealing it makes it more there really is an actual person behind the business.

    With that being said Im considering trying to get a decent photo of myself and put it up on our about me page.

  • Custom web designer, web site & eCommerce development, SEO 
Rogue River, Oregon 
Susan Tilley
    Posted by Susan Tilley, Rogue River, Oregon | Feb 22, 2008

    I asked this question a couple of weeks ago. It didn't get much public response. However, someone mentioned that there is a possibility of danger especially for women who, in their professional duties, might have occasion to meet strangers in non-public places, e.g. real estate agents.

    There are sickos who target by how someone looks so this is something that should be considered. (of course, after consideration, one may decide the advantages outweigh a remote possibility of danger)

    If asked, I advise people to not post photos of their children on the web for this reason. Many school districts will not allow photos of students to be displayed on their sites.

    For adult clients, I mention the possible danger and let them decide. I think of it as informed decision making.

    Sorry to throw water on the parade.

    Personally, I, too, like seeing photos of people. But I don't hold it against them if they don't have one. They may just be being cautious.

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    An interesting question you posed, Banu. I understand what Rebecca is saying because I am an introvert and avoid the spotlight if at all possible.

    However, small businesses greatly benefit from personal branding, and the old adage applies: people do business with people, not companies.

    So I have my photo on my business's website. And in local print advertising we include a photo because people know us as much if not more by our faces and names than our business name. It just helps reinforce our brand.

  • Geriatric Care Manager 
Olympia, Washington 
Daniel Smerken
    Posted by Daniel Smerken, Olympia, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    I recently participated in a marketing forum at my local chamber of commerce where they critiqued my marketing plan. They were of two minds regarding posting personal photos on websites.

    Context seemed to be the critical factor. While posting ones picture on a site suggests credibility and that you stand behind your product, it shouldn't be misinterpreted as the product itself.

    They suggested, for example, if your product is running shoes and you post a picture of yourself on the home page, it creates a confusing message about the product.

    They seemed to suggest that posting your picture on a separate page about the company or you its owner, (as opposed to the product page) reduced this confusion.

  • Internet Sales Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Howard Howell
    Posted by Howard Howell, Seattle, Washington | Feb 22, 2008

    Daniel... I agree with the idea of "context". If you are promoting a business selling products, you should highlight what you sell as a focal point. Biznik, as a business networking site is primarily made up service providers and developing "trust" between people seems paramount in this setting.

    In a consult of mine, I set up a website for a local Fleet Leasing Company that we felt was important to feature photos of the product (cars and trucks) and the people (that you would be dealing with) to establish trust in both. I think this is a good example for a local independent business that uses personal photos, but of course, I'm prejudiced.

    I'm open to critique if anyone wants to venture it. ...Howard

  • Intuitive Coach: For Business and Personal 
Seattle, Washington 
Banu Sekendur
    Posted by Banu Sekendur, Seattle, Washington | Feb 23, 2008

    Well, for those of you who feel that it's time for a new profile photo, photographer Andrew Sengul is hosting a Biznik event (on 2/27 at BiziBee Floral) with a free mugshot bonus.

  • QuickBooks Training & Help, Quicken Classes (PC/Mac), POS, Problems Solved, Training, Set up, Consulting, 1on1, In-Person, Tutoring, Instruction, Private Lessons, Seminars, Classes & Financial Records Check Up & Bookkeeping & Accounting Consultation 
Seattle, Washington 
Keith  Gormezano
    Posted by Keith Gormezano, Seattle, Washington | Feb 23, 2008

    I have a photo on my web site. When people buy my software training services, they aren't only just hiring my expertise, they are hiring me in a personal way as I see all their business and personal finances. It is all about trust. And the photo I have is a nice conservative photo which fits into the image I also want to project.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Feb 23, 2008

    YES me too. For a small business I think it is essential and the next step will be videos. Soon everyone will have a video on their site and it will be more powerful than just words or a static photo; seeing and hearing you speak about what you are offering of value. The more personal contact the better. The more ways people can relate to you the better.

  • Bookkeeping, Payroll & Benefits Administration 
Seattle, Washington 
Angela Halsey
    Posted by Angela Halsey, Seattle, Washington | Feb 24, 2008

    As I was designing my website I struggled with the thought of putting up my photo (I steer clear of the video camera when my husband brings it out). But because my profession is related to employee relations and confidential financial information I felt that it was important for clients to see who they were working with. Especially working remotely. Most of my client's employees don't see me face to face, but I want them to feel as if I'm in the office next door.

  • PHP/AJAX Freelance Programmer 
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India 
Anita CM
    Posted by Anita CM, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India | Feb 24, 2008

    Till the time i joined Biznik i wasn't sure of posting my photo anywhere on net. I guess it was a wise decision. Having a photograph on your profile provides you that extra credibility...

    I would say a portfolio without a photo is akin to a foggy mirror where your reflection/image is blurred!

    -Anita CM



  • Business Tenderizer 
Portland, Oregon 
Mark Silver
    Posted by Mark Silver, Portland, Oregon | Feb 24, 2008

    Sure touches a nerve, eh? We're in the process of redoing our website- I'm going to be taking my photo off the banner, which I've been wanting to do for about two years- but leaving the photo on the about page.

    I think when someone first lands on your website- whether or not it's the home page, the focus needs to be on them. But, I believe you do need to be accessible when they are ready to see you.

    And yes, Dan, I agree- one of the reasons I like Biznik is the required use of real names and the proliferation of photos.

    Rebecca- I understand shyness in front of the camera- and I'm glad you're working on getting a photo anyway. It's just a reality- when we meet people at a live event, we expect to be able to see people's faces, and not have them hidden away behind a veil. Online is not much different- the human needs are the same- a need for connection.

  • Self Employment Coach 
Suquamish, Washington 
Molly Gordon
    Posted by Molly Gordon, Suquamish, Washington | Feb 24, 2008

    A photo that communicates who you are - whether or not you are a Victoria's Secret model - gives the people who are likely to resonate with that a chance to do so.

    I love photos of real people - photos that have not been reduced to a least-common-denominator head shot. (There's a place for those, too.)

    Long story short, if you think you take a crummy photo, you could be mistaken. Your real life mug may be exactly what we want to see.

  • Senior Project Manager 
Seattle, Washington 
Catherine Gronlund
    Posted by Catherine Gronlund, Seattle, Washington | Feb 25, 2008

    As I read through this thread, I realized that I don't bother looking at profiles that do not have a photo. There is something about communicating face to face that is important to me, even if my only reference is a photo.

    And I love photos that reveal your personality, it is a refreshing glimpse into the real human being that is behind the indie business owner.

  • Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, Teacher and Performer of Improv 
Santa Cruz, California 
Carol Skolnick
    Posted by Carol Skolnick, Santa Cruz, California | Feb 26, 2008

    Before we all had websites, I always did business with people I'd never met and whose photo I had never seen. Seems unbelievable now.

  • Business Tenderizer 
Portland, Oregon 
Mark Silver
    Posted by Mark Silver, Portland, Oregon | Feb 26, 2008

    Really, Carol? Even back in the 80's, I seem to remember fliers and brochures usually having photos of the people involved. Or I met them in person at an event before hiring them.

  • Engineer of Creative Identity • Author of "Identity Crisis!" 
Portland, Oregon 
Jeff Fisher
    Posted by Jeff Fisher, Portland, Oregon | Feb 26, 2008

    Carol -

    Me too. I spent much of the 80's and 90's working with people I never met or saw in a photo. Even after my own website went live in 1998, I continued working with many people (including a large number who did not have photos on their own sites) who I didn't know visually. I seldom meet many of my clients in person.

    I've always had a photo on my website and in my marketing materials. The trick has always been to find a photo image - that I personally like - that conveys my personality.

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