Last week I posted a list of 63 types of content to create for your blog. I started this creating compelling content kick because, well, because we want to provide great content for our readers plus we want our sites to rank well, right? Since Google has made the whole ranking thing very clear – either provide great relevant content or else – I’m going to stay on the content creation theme.
And that’s a good thing, in my opinion. There are too many cheesy corner-cutting websites out there. With the content-focused ranking algorithm, higher quality sites will rise to the top of the search engine results pages. Hopefully one of those rising star sites will be yours! Besides, good content is just good for blogging.
The first item on the list of 63 was images. I’ve already covered the topic of using pictures on your blog a couple of years ago, but I didn’t go into much detail on that post – it was pretty much just a list of 18 free online image sources. Today I’ll go into a bit more detail about some of the best free online image sources, and I’ll share (and even revisit from that earlier image post I mentioned) some sources.
Why use images on your blog?
Images are a type of content that instantly gets your reader’s attention. The old saying, “a picture’s worth a thousand words” is true. But where can you find great images for your blog?
One of the sites I had on the list I mentioned earlier was Morgue File. It’s a great free stock image source because the files can pretty much be used for any purpose – alter them, reproduce them, use only a part of an image – just be sure to check the license of whichever image you wish to use before doing anything, but for the most part, the images here can be used without attribution.
Like Morge File, Stock.xchng has flexible image licenses. But do note that you can’t give away redistribution rights and you have to get permission to use the photos in print media. Check each image’s license for details.
This is my favorite stock photo site, although the images are a bit pricey. The site does feature free images every week, so you can build your image library if you take advantage of their free weekly download. The higher the resolution you choose, the more expensive the image will be, but this site has a lot of images to choose from and they are typically excellent quality.
iStockPhoto uses a pre-paid credit system, although you can purchase images individually without buying credits. (They cost more that way.)
Dreamstime allows you to choose which type of license you need. If you plan to use an image on promotional materials for anything from T-shirts to web templates, then you’ll need the extended license. However, if you’re simply posting an image to your blog, the Royalty Free license will work.
Like iStockPhoto, this site uses a credit system, but the images are typically cheaper than iStockPhoto’s are.
Clipart is different from photography because it’s created, often through vector drawings. Open Clipart is one of the largest clipart collections on the Internet. The site is open source (community based), so the files are free to use – with no restrictions!
Many members of the Flickr community choose to license their images for others to use. Flickr makes it easy for you to sort by the type of license you need, but be sure to read the agreement for the particular image you want to use before using it online or in print.
Google Advanced Image Search
A lot of bloggers do a Google image search and download images without checking the licensing agreement. That isn’t a professional way to manage the images on your blog. You can do an advanced search based on image licenses. Click the “Settings” button on the right hand side of Google Image Search.
Scroll down to the bottom to choose the license type you need:
Next, type in the keywords to describe what you’re looking for and click “Advanced Search.”
Another way to find great images for your blog is by using the WordPress plugin, Photo Dropper. This plugin searches licensable images directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’ve downloaded and activated the plugin, you’ll see the Photo Dropper button appear in your page and post edit screens.
Enter your search term and you’ll see a number of search results displayed. Click the one you like. Be sure to double check the license because the plugin isn’t 100 percent accurate. Next, click “insert into post” and Photo Dropper will “drop” the photo into your post.
Now all you have to do is edit the size if you want, add alt text, links if needed, and add any other style edits you choose.
Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to use Photo Dropper:
Hopefully these eight resources will help you find some great free images to use on your blog.
Until next time,