People love images – on social media, they are some of the most shared forms of content. Not to mention that some of the most successful social networks are exclusively image-based.
So if you want your content to get shared, you have to use engaging images that will attract readers, clearly summarise your point, keep them interested in your written content and, most of all, that will make them want to share your content. Research has found that online articles with images actually get 94% more views than those that don’t use any images at all. On many of the most popular social networks images generally spark more engagement than simple text-only, or text and link, updates or text.
In addition, they make your blog posts much easier to read. Usually, the more images you use in your blog posts, the more pleasant the reading experience can be. They will help you break up your article so you are less likely to lose focus (and go do something else). No matter how interesting and valuable your article is, it’s usually the images that will make your article attract more attention, particularly from initial glances, and so become more engaging.
Often photos grab your attention when words don’t. Catchy headlines are also of great help, but many times people don’t even take a few seconds to read anything – and when words fail, an eye-catching photo might just do the trick. However, don’t just use any image, but one that actually relates to your article.
Using screenshots is a great way to provide more value to your content. This is especially the case with How To articles, where you use the help of screenshots to explain your point. Your audience will appreciate this visual clarification as screenshots will make it easier for them.
Don’t forget to add your logo for better branding – by adding your logo to images, you make sure that whenever someone shares your article on Facebook or Pinterest etc. their fans and followers will be able to see that your brand was behind it, which helps to increase awareness and could also drive more traffic to your site. Try to add your URL as well so that people can easily find your website.
However, it can be very hard to continuously find great images for each of your blog posts, for two very different reasons: it can get very expensive and/or very boring. Regular stock images are a thing of the past (or at least they should be!) when it comes to social media. If you want your blog / website to stand out and for people to share the images you use, then you have to think out of the box, get creative and use images that people will actually notice. Don’t be afraid to be a little controversial or impactful either.
Below are our some of our favorite places for getting cheap and free images as well as some tips that will help you find the best and cheapest solutions.
Creative Commons license & other free images
One trick is to look for images that are licensed under Creative Commons – this means that you can use the images, so long as you mention and link to the author and you are not making any profits off of them. Here are some of the best places where you can find Creative Commons images:
Flickr is probably the largest and most popular source of Creative Commons licensed images.
Pixabay is full of amazing free images that can be used for both personal and commercial use, with no need to attribute them to their authors.
The guys behind PhotoPin aim to help bloggers to find beautiful images that they can use on their blogs and articles. Although it is not associated with Flickr, it uses Flickr’s API to search for Creative Commons images that bloggers can use hassle-free.
Google Images can also be used to find free images that can be used commercially. Simply type in your search like you normally would, go to the advanced search menu and then choose the type of license that you are interested in from the “usage rights” menu:
The Open Clip Art Library has small, cartoon-like images that are all free to use. They are not as beautiful or compelling as regular pictures, but they are great at conveying certain messages. Unless it is stated otherwise, all clip arts are available for free.
Creativity103 focuses on more abstract, creative images. However there are lots of images that can be used on blogs, and they are all free to use so long as you link them back to the website.
At Pixel Perfect Digital you will be able to find an array of free stock photography with Creative Commons Licensing.
Memes are not just funny and / or cute, but they can also convey messages.They can help you get your message across more effectively, while keeping it light-hearted at the same time. There are lots of different websites with amazing memes to browse, and when you’re feeling inspired you can create your own meme in a matter of minutes. Below are the best websites where you can find and create memes:
Reddit is probably the meme paradise, where you will most probably be able to find something about anything!
9gag, Reddit’s public enemy number one, has its own impressive array of memes – many of them are taken from Reddit users, but they have their fair share of ‘original’ memes.
This incredibly popular website focuses a lot of attention on animal memes, especially so-called “lolcats”.
9. Meme Generator – iOS app
10. Meme Generator Free – Android app
Royalty-free, cheap & free Images
Another option is to look at royalty-free images – once purchased, you can re-use them as many times as you want. Below are some great sources of royalty-free websites and other websites with free and cheap images:
iStockphoto holds an impressive selection of quite beautiful stock photos – not just your regular, boring business men and women.
At Picdrome, you will be able to find a [wide?narrow?interesting?] variety of royalty-free stock photos and illustrations.
FreeDigitalPhotos have lots of free stock photos to choose from that you can use however you like, and you only have to pay if you want a bigger image.
OpenPhoto have a good selection of free, cheap and royalty-free images.
Unprofound offer images for free and you don’t even have to register to download them.
Stockvault may not have as many images as some of their competitors, but there are some really great finds and ,best of all, they are free!
Free Media Goo’s library is, well, tiny – you can literally browse it all in a few minutes. However they are still worth mentioning, as they have some lovely images that are completely free to use.
Where do you get images for your blog? Please let us know in your comments below 🙂
When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.
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