Do you struggle to find images to use in your blog posts that don't cost you an arm and a leg?
When it comes to putting my blog together, I am all about FREE! Almost everything I do on my website is free if I can manage it.
Many beginning bloggers are in the same boat. So I want to show you my 5 favorite, FREE sources for images. But before we go there, let's quickly cover WHY images are so important.
People are drawn to the visual much more quickly and powerfully than they are the written word. In fact, articles with images get 94% more total views.
On Facebook, images get 10% higher interaction than text only. Next to your headline, images are one of the top “lures” that draw people in to your post.
One more thing before we move on… when looking for images make sure you find good quality, relevant images. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a grainy, pixelated image, or one that has nothing to do with your topic. I sometimes take up to 30 minutes to find just the right image for my blog posts. It's that important!
My 5 favorite FREE places to get quality images.
It's a weird name, but a great site. Morguefile has a ton of entirely free, high quality pictures you can use – no strings attached and no attribution required.
The shadow photo I used here is a sample of what you can find on Morguefile (except that I added the text and image shadow myself, which I'll show you how to do in an upcoming post).
Flickr is similar to Morguefile, BUT you've got to make sure you only use images that have been released for use. The easy way to go about it is to go to Flickr Creative Commons search page to do your search.
The only catch with Flickr is that you have to give attribution (credit) to the person who provided the image. But don't sweat, it's pretty simple to do and you can find out EXACTLY how to do it in this excellent article.
#3: Wikimedia Commons
This site is like a warehouse for public images which may also requires attribution. But again, it's pretty easy to do. Go to the Wikimedia Commons site and search for the image you want. Once you find it, click on it and you'll see the following screen. Notice the red arrow I've placed on the image. When you click that link you'll receive exact instructions on the various ways you need to attribute the image. It's that simple.
Quick note: Many of the images on Wikimedia Commons are in the public domain. These images can be used without limitation and without attribution. All of that info is found beneath the image on the page.
#4: Your own computer screen!
That's right, you can use your own computer to get some great images, especially when doing tutorials or “how to” articles.
There is a built-in app on modern versions of windows (included in Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Experience Pack for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005) called “Snipping Tool” that you can use to take screenshots of any size.
The image to the right is an example of what can be done.
For Apple users using the Mac OSX, there are various shortcut keys you can use, but many Mac users prefer a third party app. There are many to choose from, each providing a different line up of features.
#5: Your cell phone or digital camera
I have to admit that I often forget that I'm walking around every day with a great digital camera right in my pocket! There are opportunities every day to get great shots using your cell phone or digital camera… and the images you get that way are 100% original!
You can easily use photo editing software or other apps to add text, logos, shadows, and all kinds of other graphics to make your photos stand out! It takes a bit longer to transfer them to your computer, but the extra time it takes will benefit you by giving you a unique, powerful image to enhance your blog post.
Which of these 5 FREE ways will you be using next? Let me know in the comments below!