Is an image worth a thousand words?

Images for your blog

When I read a magazine, I often find myself just flicking  through looking at the pictures.

If I see an interesting image I’ll probably take a closer look at the associated feature.
You’re blog post is much the same – without an image, it presents itself as a bleak, barren landscape.

Images not only look nice, they draw people’s attention and, in the modern world where getting traffic is so important,
an image really is worth a thousand words.

So, adding an image or a graphic will break up that monotonous sea of text that spans your page and can be the perfect way to highlight the key point carried in your post.

In this post I’m taking a look at;

  • Where to find the right images
  • How to avoid copyright issues
  • How an image helps drive traffic

Do free images with no copyright exist?

In a nutshell – No
From the time it is created,  every photo or other image is automatically protected by copyright.
What most people really want to know is, where can they get images they can legally use for free?
There are images everywhere we look, but sadly they’re not all there for the taking.

Where’s the best place to find free images?

It’s become common practice for people to help themselves to any image they find on the net, places like Google images are very enticing when you’re looking for a nice new picture.

I wouldn’t recommend this as more and more cases are being brought against people who have dabbled in wholesale image theft. Copyright infringement can lead you into trouble.

So where can you get good images?

Use your own pictures. Take photographs or create your own graphics.
If they’re your own, you know you’re not breaking any rules.
Just be careful if you decide to wander up and down the high street taking photos of strangers – you need someone’s permission before you plaster their face all over the internet.

Google Images 

I know, I just told you not to grab all your pictures from Google – but they’re not all off limits.
Here’s a handy trick;
When searching in Google Images, click on the little cog in the top right.

google image search

Open up the options menu and click on ‘Advanced search’.
Then, down near the bottom you’ll find ‘usage rights:’

Google image advanced settings

From the drop down menu choose ‘Free to use, share or modify, even commercially’
Click the ‘Advanced Search’ button and the modified results will show images you can use.
I’m no lawyer, but I think you’ll be fine using these images. If you’re not sure, check with someone sensible.

Categories you can search for include:

  • Free to use or share
    Your results will only include content that is either labelled as public domain or carry a license that allows you to copy or redistribute its content, as long as the content remains unchanged.
  • Free to use, share, or modify
    Your results will only include content that is labelled with a license that allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license.
  • If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select the appropriate option containing the term commercially.

If you find a picture you like on the main Google Images page that isn’t free to reuse, you could always try and approach the copyright holder and get permission to use it.

Flickr

A great source of millions of pictures, many of which are free for you to use on your own site.

Flickr and Getty Images have partnered to build a platform that enables the creation of a first class collection of royalty-free and rights-managed imagery.”

Like Google, you need to find photos that are safe to use.

Here’s what to do:

The easiest way to find photos you can use is to go to the “Advanced Search” page

Scroll to the bottom and check the box for
Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content

Then, if your blog has advertising or generates any income for you, you will need to also check
For commercial use

You must remember to give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license.
You can find Creative Commons images here: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

Wikimedia Commons

Almost all the content hosted on Wikimedia Commons may be freely reused subject to certain restrictions.

You do not need to obtain a specific statement of permission from the licensor unless you wish to use the work under different terms than the license states.

This means that:

  • Content under open content licenses may be reused without any need to contact the licensor, but
  • some licenses require that the original creator be attributed,
  • some licenses require that the specific license be identified when reusing (including, in some cases, stating or linking to the terms of the license),
  • some licenses require that if you modify the work, your modifications must also be similarly freely licensed.

Stock Images

These are images you can purchase royalty free allowing you certain rights to use them in print or online. There are certain rules regarding size and how they can be used which vary from site to site.

On my blog, many of the images are purchased from Istock Photo.
They have one of the biggest image databases and I find it one of the best places to find good images at a reasonable rate.

You can buy credits and then use them at your leisure to but photos for your blog.
I’ve managed to find voucher codes to get a bit of discount – just Google it and see what’s available at the time.

Other stock image sites I like include:

Shutterstock  You pay per image or buy a monthly / yearly licence.

Stock.XCHNG  Some images here are free, others aren’t! Just browse though and see what you can find.

Morgue File Some great free pics here

RGB Stock has a huge number of high quality free stock photos and graphics for illustrations, wallpapers and backgrounds.

Using images to improve your search engine rankings and subsequently generate more traffic

To boost your search engine ranking, rename the image to include your keyword.
Don’t forget to add the keyword as the ‘alt text ‘ whilst you’re there.

Pinterest

You can add a hover button to images to make it easy for visitors to share them on Pinterest .

Because people love sharing images, this is proving to be a great new source of traffic.
It’s easy to accomplish if you use WordPress or the Blogger platforms.
Just add the  plugin  ‘Pinterest Pin It Button For Images’ and activate.

To see the effect, hold your mouse over the image below..

Pinterest to share images

 

Remember, images can make a blog post stand out

Try and use eye catching images that have a relevance to the topic you’re writing about and avoid anything that will offend your audience.

If you know of any good sources for Royalty Free images, please share it in the comments below.

As examples in this post I used the following photos from Flickr by amira_a
The ReThinking Man http://www.flickr.com/photos/amira_a/7205089854/
Pass Kontrolle http://www.flickr.com/photos/amira_a/7120872431/

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