If you're looking to create quality content for your small business' website, you may find the answers outside of your company.

As a small business owner, you’ve likely started to develop a web presence. Even if it’s in its earliest stages, a business website should be constantly evolving. Adding new content to a website will keep prospects and existing customers returning to learn more. Similarly, as a website evolves, SMB social media marketing can be a good compliment to other inbound marketing efforts of a company.

For a while, it may be good enough to use links to website articles for social marketing and to use text-only posts to draw readers and prospects. However, the next logical step in creating a strong multichannel web presence is adding new kinds of content to your website marketing mix. Articles, blog posts and other kinds of information are great, but visual content should be the next step.

Whether it’s photographs to strengthen the ideas discussed in an article or blog post, a picture of employees posted to a social network or a well-developed, informative infographic, visual content provides prospects new insights on your industry and your company. It also makes pages more appealing overall.

ContentLEAD has frequently reported that visual content is one of the greatest additions a company can make to enhance online presence. Adding images to social content or a website will rounds out marketing efforts and diversifies content.

Let images help editorial content standout

A report from Curata suggests that dynamic website content is among the most important components of a web marketing strategy, and bringing visual components to website content is key to boosting engagement.

Businesses of all sizes have found that developing news articles or blog posts has a two-pronged impact on web marketing.

Prospects enjoy seeing material that is less overt in terms of selling, focusing instead on informing readers of industry development and trends.

SEO strategies, which are increasingly important given search’s status as a purchase research tool, benefit from frequent site updates.

Adding images to these pages results in 47 percent more clicks than those with text-only articles, ContentLEAD reported. In terms of website content, SMBs looking to add visuals to their website should think like publishing companies or news provides. Use images that illustrate a story or further convey the theme of articles.

Aside from the aesthetic appeal of pictures, it also gives an SMB’s website a more professional look. When a prospect lands on a page to read a news article, an accompanying image will add credibility to the content.

Furthermore, images have some SEO value. While the visual file itself means very little to search crawlers, the image’s name, photo caption and other metadata assigned to the picture all adds data that search crawlers can process to improve site rank. You can learn more about the search optimization in Google’s related Webmaster Central video.

Use visual content to tell a story

Another form of visual content that has helped web content marketing campaigns is the infographic, which involves the creation of a visual that contains a series of information aimed at telling a story. (Their name comes from the fact that they are informational graphics.)

Creating infographics can be great change of pace of SMBs using content marketing to drive leads on their websites. While articles and blog posts are a great way to draw traffic and inform prospects, the addition of an infographic further demonstrates a small business’ expertise in a field and their status as a publisher of original content.

Infographics have become increasingly popular for organizations relying on content marketing to differentiate their website from others. Moreover, they can prevent a site’s content from becoming too mundane or repetitive and give businesses the opportunity to repurpose the research that goes into other forms of content (like news articles or whitepapers).

They might also help prospects remember your business. A report from HP discussing the retention of information from consumers on the web suggests that presenting information in a multi-colored, well-designed infographic may help cement information in prospects’ heads. According to the study, the average person retains just 20 percent of what they read. However, people retain 80 percent of what they see and do. Infographics’ highly visual nature creates a different user experience than simply reading an article. Data is presented with a series of graphics and in different colors to provide an appealing format to learn.

HP conducted a series of simple tests for its study and found that the same pieces of information were received and responded to differently when presented in color or in black and white.

Boost social media with visual media

Small businesses have become some of the most aggressive adopters of social media marketing in recent years. Adding the channel to comprehensive web marketing campaigns provides a different avenue for consumers to interact with SMBs.

Using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks can help companies reach out to prospects accessing the different platforms. However, many SMBs fail to add visual content to their social platforms, which means they’re missing interaction opportunities. A study from WebLiquid found that engagement with social media content increases substantially when images are shared on business pages.

One way to do this is to add images to text content on your site, and include thumbnails with shared headlines. Any article that contains an image can be shared on Facebook or Google+ to also display the image of the photo on the SMB’s page. As far as Twitter goes, links to images will also compel followers to click. Whether they view the image on Twitter or click-through to the SMBs’ website, the content will help them engage.

Another option is to post images of the SMB employees as part of the strategy, literally giving a face to your company for fans and followers.

Social media marketing, like other forms of web marketing, is most successful when businesses share different kinds of content on a frequent, but not excessive basis. Adding images to the content shared regularly will appeal to prospects and encourage clicks. Additionally, the presence of images will help an SMB stand out among the rest of the profiles and pages on followers’ timelines.

With content marketing on any web channel, a diverse strategy that includes articles, visuals and other formats will help companies stand out from their competition. Moreover, it gives an SMB’s website a professional feel that will keep prospects engaged and guide them to conversions.