An experiment that turned into an online shocker.

I sat down to write a blog about why you should use custom professional photography rather than stock photos. Now, don't get me wrong, I use stock photos when I have to, but I tend to stay away from iStock or Shutterstock because those images are overused and tired, not to mention expensive. I'm also a professional photographer, and I absolutely love shooting products, food, people in their environment and unique images that make you want to hang out for awhile.

So, I thought I would do a little experiment.

How does one feel when they encounter a website for the first time with stock photos versus how does one feel when they browse a website with personalized photography of staff, products, locations, office vibe, etc.

I anticipated it to be a big difference, but what I didn't anticipate was what I actually found out there...

I chose to experiment in a city that I didn't know (to avoid any bias) - and Googled 'business coach Atlanta'.

There were quite a bit of Google Ads at the top, but I decided to give it a whirl and click on the first result. The keyword search 'business coach Atlanta' must be a high priced CPC to compete on Google at #1.

My first impression of the site was positive, it did have stock imagery, but it didn't really bother me because it was well laid out with a clear call to action right there in the middle of the page. There is a video testimonial, so good stuff...I want to learn more about the coach.

Oh boy. Here's where it went downhill really fast.

I scrolled down to see more about the coach, and there it was. Lorem ipsum. I couldn't believe it.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, Lorem Ipsum is dummy text which has no meaning however looks very similar to real text. Lorem ipsum is latin, slightly jumbled, the remnants of a passage from Cicero's 'De finibus bonorum et malorum' 1.10.32. Source:

Meet the Coach. His name, then, garbled Latin. On the HOME PAGE. I immediately clicked on the 'Our Story' tab. I was hoping that the coach would redeem himself (or have to fire his webmaster). Ah, to no avail. I was SO hoping for his Google Ads budget's sake that was being sucked down the drain, that he at least had SOME information about himself.

No photo. No description. No Bio.

This is where it got a little more interesting...

He has some social media icons there. They work (fortunately...), but his phone number is a NC phone number. So, now I'm thinking...I DO live in NC, but I Googled Business Coach in Atlanta. This is turning into a 'bad' customer experience. Do I blame Google? A little actually. I shouldn't have been fed this ad unless he had an Atlanta office - and maybe he DOES, but I can't tell. He doesn't tell me where he services his clients or is headquartered.

I dive into the social links...

His Twitter link has protected tweets. A business coach with protected tweets? This is like pulling teeth! I need advice! VALUE! I want to know how you personally can help me. I am not feeling the vibe. Facebook had not been updated in a over a year.

I wanted to like him. He had a nice friendly photo, too!

But I went WAY further than anyone would have done to do business with him.

I forged ahead and kept looking for another 'Business Coach' that if I was ever in Atlanta I could wasn't looking much better as I scrolled through pages and websites that were so busy it made my head spin. Stock photo after tired 'let's shake hands' stock photo. Promise after promise, they were all...the same. zzzzzzzz.... Please not the arrow-going-up graphic.

I even found this utterly confusing coach - I'm still a little dizzy...A little girl on a bike who is probably in college by now...


Then, I found Kristy Dickerson.

It was like a breath of fresh air. I She had it all. I already knew, if I was going to get stuff DONE, it was with Kristy. Do you get that same vibe? Now, listen, if you are a guy reading this, you're not going to work with Kristy. I mean, yes, she is lovely, but she has a niche audience. She has a palette and color scheme that is 'blush'. However, her social proof is insanely apparent, she has logos of media she has appeared on, she has a free VALUABLE download, and she says WELCOME, FRIEND! Her branding and photography - out of this world - and NOT STOCK. She wrote a blog last week. She keeps up with her social media - she has a STORY to tell! I mean, she has dimension. I already feel like I know her. And, frankly, you need to LIKE your business coach/life coach/mentor, etc.

So, in conclusion.

I enjoyed this experiment. It sort of turned out the way I expected, but then sorta not.

I mean, the first coach could have changed my mind even with all that stock photography. He messed up his website, lost my attention, provided no value to me and even though he HAD social media, he didn't pay attention to it, so there was no conversation or social proof there for me.

Remember, your website and social media are usually the first contact you get with a potential client, especially if you are investing in Google Adwords.

Even if you meet them at an event, they WILL research you, and if it comes up short, boring, all stock photos, lacking detail, stale and basically abandoned, are you the one they will want to do business with?

Stay social,


Grab my FREE checklist here so that you can easily do all the steps I did here for YOUR business online and avoid potentially costly mistakes.