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Comms Axis

How to find free and cheap #images for your blog

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.

How-to-find-free-and-cheap-images-for-your-blog

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 brandingby 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.

 top tipsCreative 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:

1. Flickr

Flickr is probably the largest and most popular source of Creative Commons licensed images.

2. Pixabay

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.

3. PhotoPin

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.

4. Google Images

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:

Google

 

5. Open Clip Art Library

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.

6. Creativity103

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.

7. PixelPerfectDigital

At Pixel Perfect Digital you will be able to find an array of free stock photography with Creative Commons Licensing.

strategy memesMemes

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:

1. Reddit

Reddit is probably the meme paradise, where you will most probably be able to find something about anything!

2. 9gag

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.

3. I Can Has Cheezburger

This incredibly popular website focuses a lot of attention on animal memes, especially so-called “lolcats”.

Create memes 

1. Memegenerator

2. QuickMeme

3. MemeMaker

4. WhatDoUMeme

5. MemeCenter

6. GeneratorMeme

7. WeKnowMemes

8. MemeCreator

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:

1. iStockphoto

iStockphoto holds an impressive selection of quite beautiful stock photos – not just your regular, boring business men and women.

2. Picdrome

At Picdrome, you will be able to find a [wide?narrow?interesting?] variety of royalty-free stock photos and illustrations.

3. FreeDigitalPhotos

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.

4. OpenPhoto

OpenPhoto have a good selection of free, cheap and royalty-free images.

5. Unprofound

Unprofound offer images for free and you don’t even have to register to download them.

6. Stockvault

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!

7. Free Media Goo

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 🙂

Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock

Business owner, social media consultant, internet mentor and trainer, and digital freelancer.

When Lilach isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of Zumba.
Lilach Bullock

14 Comments

  1. I’d like to suggest Dollar Photo Club to the list at http://www.dollarphotoclub.com. They’re new like Canva and provide a low cost membership with access to lots of images.

    Membership is only $10 a month which includes 10 image downloads and then other images are only $1 an image. The 10 credits included per month also roll over so you’re not wasting your money in quieter months which is a very good customer loyalty bonus.

    Dollar Photo Club to me is like istock used to be in 2006 when they first started and before Getty spoiled everything. I’ve previously bought over 2,000 images from istock but now I can get all I need at DPC.
    Twitter:

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Colin, appreciate your comment. We hadn’t heard of the Dollar Photo Club before so thanks for letting us know about it. Sounds like a great and cost effective site 🙂

  2. Hi Lilach,

    This is an excellent resource for bloggers hungry to find solid eye candy sources on the cheap. I always use travel photos for my blog, so that’s easy, but will keep this list in mind for my client’s articles.

    Always good to have some quality Go To resources to find inspired images.

    Thanks Lilach!

    Tweeting from Fiji.

    Ryan
    Twitter:

  3. Lilach Says:

    Thanks Ryan 🙂 Yes it can be hard to find images all the time. Although pictures of Fiji never get boring 😀

  4. Viv Says:

    Hi Lilach

    Many thanks for the really useful post – I also came across these free resources to add to your list: http://www.morguefile.com, http://www.unsplash.com

    Continued success

    Viv
    Twitter:

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Viv 🙂 Haven’t heard of them so appreciate the heads up and will check them out now 🙂

  5. OOh super post Lilach, thanks so much! Many resources I’ve never thought of and oh I love my images I love Canva a LOT and use it daily x
    Twitter:

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Emily 🙂 Canva is fantastic, we love it too! Appreciate your great feedback and great to connect with you here too 🙂

  6. Helene Says:

    Here’s why you should NOT even consider using free, cheap images for your blog: While its proven that Blogs that post with images get 94% more total views than articles without using images, it is also proven that when everyone markets the same- it all becomes just noise.

    Right now there are about 160 million blogs online so you need to find a way to Stand Out. Nobody will be able to tell your apart from your competitors if you use the same images as everyone else .

    Bottom Line: If you are taking the time to write original content (which is that I hope you are doing), why would you even consider using cookie-cutter images to differentiate it? Just slapping a logo on a image is not branding.

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Helene for your comment. Completely agree that that it is important to stand out and differentiate yourself, particularly from your competitors. That said, there is a demand for many bloggers to be able to source free or create cost effective images, the post was aimed at those that don’t have a big budget and is a good starting point. For Comms Axis we use a combination of Canva and our graphic designer to create our images.

  7. Erik Says:

    Hi Lilach,
    great post and useful list of resources!

    My favorite places to get free images for my blogs are Stockvault, MorgueFile, Pixabay and Photopin.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge,
    have a great week!
    Twitter:

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Erik, appreciate your comment and also sharing those sites. I must admit we are starting to use images from when we’re in sites like MavSocial and Canva for ease!

  8. Freeikon Says:

    Please also check out
    Free icons , Free illustrations , Free Clipart , Free Photos , for Personal and Commercial Use and Modify it
    Twitter:

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks, we will certainly check them out – appreciate the heads up 🙂

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