Before we talk about where to find free stock photos, did you know that the human brain processes images at an alarming speed? When we see a picture, we analyse it within a very short snippet of time. We are visual creatures!
Think about this blog, for example: did you look at the words first, or the image? Images grab our attention at first glance, whereas text and words require a deeper interaction.
When I started blogging in 2009* I tried to made it a habit to use at least one image with every blog post. Why?
Because a great image will speak a thousand words. Now as we are bombarded daily with a tonne of new content, images help to leave an impression.
So why am I writing about images now? Because a few months ago, an image got me into a little bit of trouble….. more on that later.
The truth is, we are in the age of a visual culture. Did you know, for example, that:
- Articles featuring images get 94% more total views than those without images
- Photos and videos in press releases are shown to increase views by 45%
- Over half of customers are inclined to contact businesses which display an image when their content comes up in search results
- 67% of consumers think that the quality of an image depicting a product plays an important role for them when following through with a purchase
- 37% more engagement on Facebook occurs with posts with photos than posts without.
Images quite often do a better job in conveying the essence of an article than the post’s opening sentences. Like a catchy headline, the image is a coloured lure for readers.
Did you also know that images help with your SEO ranking? You can attract traffic from image search engines. For this to work, you need to optimize a few things like the Alt text and image description.
When I used to add free stock photos, I never cared about image names. It was always something like “screenshot.jpeg” or “DSC023.jpeg”.
After learning that images help in driving traffic from search engines, I started using keywords in my image’s Alt text and description.
So if you aren’t already doing this, I suggest you start doing it now!
When you use images, there are a couple of golden rules:
☑ Images and stock photos MUST be high quality
Quality means the image is appropriately sized for your article and your chosen platform, free of pixilation, and just plain makes sense in the context of whatever content you’re adding it to. Tasteful and engaging.
☑ Images MUST be relevant to your content
If I was to include an image of a cute cat as my title image for this article, it just wouldn’t make sense or add any real value (no matter how cute the cat is. And you know I LOVE cats!)
☑And here is my 3rd and MOST IMPORTANT rule.
This is the rule that I broke.
Images must be used legally. Make sure you have permission to post any image you use on your blog. Either purchase photos or use images from free sites.
Taking images from a Google search can result in copyright issues. This is where I am now speaking from personal experience – I was wrapped over the knuckles for an image of a polar bear that I used in a blog over a year ago….. the legal eagles can, and sometimes do, track you down using clever search software. Its all sorted now, and I learned a big lesson.
So hence this blog – you can also learn from my mistake.
And to help point you in the right direction, here are some of my favourite royalty free stock photo image sites, and a couple of other great tips, that will help you to avoid my painful experience. Naturally, I always recommend you check the individual site/image for any attribution instructions.
Make a Quote…
Create a Collage…
Need to re-size an image…
Make a gif…
Or a Meme…
Need to match Colours?
Need an Icon?
Try this site I discovered last week! It’s pretty cool! https://thenounproject.com/
That’s it! Feel free to save these links to your ‘favourites’ if you think they might be helpful down the track.
Text and graphics have never been interrelated so much as they are today. You can use these sites to practice some simple design and if you feel creative, develop customised illustrations for your posts.
Mastering basic design skills is something I still really need to do. I have dabbled a bit in Canva https://www.canva.com/ which is an awesome free graphic design site using an easy drag and drop interface.
What’s more, Canva was founded in 2012 by a couple of genius Aussies. There are plenty of lessons for Canva on Youtube – go check it out.
Finally, I hope you have found these tools and tips helpful – and practical. I know that as Startups and small business owners, we so often have to be the ‘Jack and Jill’ of all trades. And sometimes from little things, big things grow.
Good luck with your images and have a great week with your clients and customers !
There has never been a better time to start a business; to be in business.
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