Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog

where to source free images for your blog

where to source free images for your blogBlogging is a great way to promote your business and if you do-it-yourself it’s a marketing strategy that’s completely free.

However, what you save in monetary terms can be easily negated by the amount of time you spend getting that blog written, looking pretty, ensuring it’s SEO friendly and then finally, sharing with the world.

There are lots of tricks of the trade to help you save both time and money when blogging for business. One is to have a bank of image resources you can go to when you need to source the perfect picture to illustrate your blog. Even better if this bank is made up of free image resources!

Which resource you use most will depend on the style of your blog, who your market is and just what kind of vibe/look you want to show your audience.

In this article, I’ll look at 5 free image resource options although there are many more options out there. You may find some resources easier to use than others, some may match your brand’s look better than others – they’ll be some time to spend finding the right image resource for you (or a mixture of resources that suit) but when you do,  you’ll find image sourcing much simpler, quicker and cost effective!

A word of caution

Before we look at the resources, just a quick word of warning. It’s always a good idea to read the terms & conditions of use on each website & on each picture you download before publishing any free images.  If you don’t abide by the rules, you could be making an expensive mistake that could cause you problems later on. Read Blogger Beware: You can get sued for using photos you don’t own on your blog. 

The basic information you need to check is:

  1. Conditions of usage of the website
  2. Copyright info/credit information on individual photos

Once you’re clear on this information you shouldn’t fall foul of any copyright laws, but it always pays to be vigilant! (Keep reading,  I’ll be offering you a free download that will help you to keep track of the photos you use and where you sourced them).

5 free image resources for your blog

There are lots of places to find free photos online. Most offering free images tend to come under the ‘creative commons’ licence, which means that images downloaded from these sites can be used & shared without having to worry about copyright or paying a fee.

Double-check each image you download as some DO require an accreditation/copyright line for commercial use and others don’t.

The first three image resources listed here offer stock photography free of charge using the Creative Commons license:

1. Pixabay

www.pixabay.com provides a huge database of free images that don’t require any copyright information at all as pictures are released using a Creative Commons CCO.

You do need to register and create an account in order to download images. There is a wide selection of stock photography and illustrations to choose from.

2. Free Digitial Photos 

Another massive library of free photos.  Free Digital Photos offer smaller, low resolution images (that work well on web pages) for free, although a photo credit is required. If you need a bigger image or don’t want to feature a photo credit then you can pay for individual pictures at a reasonable price.

You can get an email sent to you with each download confirming the copyright information you need to display.

Registration is not required but if you do register, it will save details of photos you’ve downloaded. Useful if you need the details again in the future.

3. Freerange Stock Photos

Ideally, you should include a accreditation to any images downloaded via Freerange Stock Photos and link the image back to their website.  You’ll also need to register before you can download anything.


The next 2 resources listed don’t use generic stock photos and tend to offer higher quality, more design-led images.
However, unless you pay for the PRO accounts you won’t have the whole library at your fingertips whenever you need it.  So these sites aren’t as useful if you need an image quickly, but you can use them to build up an extensive image library (containing some stunning photos) over an extended period time.

4. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock photo is a great website for building up your own image library. Sign up and each month you’ll be emailed a pack of photos. The theme varies from subjects such as working from home, energy & serenity, streets of London etc. Just download from the email each month and save into your own personal library.

5. Magdeleine

A beautiful collection of hand-picked photos. You can download one high-res photo each day, check the info on the photos to see if you need to feature copyright details. (If you use an image from Magdeleine, make sure that you edit the image and compress it for use on a website. Uploading a high-res image to your website could take up valuable bandwidth and slow your site down.)

This is just a small selection of the hundreds of sites and resources that are out there.  You may end up trying a few to find out which ones are best for you and your business.

If you’d like a longer list of resources check this article 20 Sites with Free Images for Your Blog or Social Media Posts


 

FREE TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD

Keeping track of where blog images are sourced

It’s important to keep a record of where you got your blog image from as well as any copyright information. This process will ensure you check correct usage rights, but it will also make your life much easier if a year down the line, a photographer questions your use of their images and demands payment. If you can prove you downloaded it from a free resource and followed the rules, then crisis should be diverted.

I’ve created this handy Blog Calendar and Image Information template to make this easy for you. Download it now (free of charge, no email required)   – all you need to do is click on the button.

Download Blog Calendar and Image Information Template

 


-I've got a few blog ideas, but find it hard writing a full blog post

Sound familiar? If you’re not Blogging for Business you’re missing a chance to promote your business and build your audience.

Imagine just handing someone your draft blogs, then getting them back edited and SEO-friendly, published with an image, posted on social media AND included in a lovely content bank with 5 alternative descriptions ready to recycle/copy/paste on social media in the future.

How much time would that save you and would could you do with that time?  Find out more at Blogging the Easy Way

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Five Ways to Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

5 Tips To Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

5 Tips To Make Your Blog SEO-friendlyBlogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Blogging regularly will help Google & other search engines to find your site, index more of your pages and increase your chances of making it to page 1 of search results.

Writing a regular blog will give you content to share with your network on social media and making your blog SEO-friendly will also help it to stand out in news feeds and catch the eye of potential readers.

But if you’re new to blogging, it can be hard to know where to start. Follow this basic advice to get you going and to develop good habits for following best blog-writing practice.

5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly:

1. Blog Title

Your blog title will be more effective if it includes your keywords or phrases. It will help the search engines and potential customers find you and make it clear what the content of your blog is about.

I’ll use a blog I wrote for www.smartbags.co.uk as an example. Smartbags produce made-to-order ecobags. The introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge in Scotland provided a sales & marketing opportunity for their business. They wanted to show up in search results when retailers searched for information on the subject.

I created a blog called ‘Single-use Carrier Bag Charge Coming to Scotland Soon’.  The blog appeared on page 1 soon after publishing. It was key to rank highly in the search results a few months before the charge launched as Smartbags have a 2-3 month lead time and they needed to be visible early so they could generate orders.

The blog helped Smartbags get found by Scottish retailers and they saw a rise in inquiries.  Once the bag charge launch date got closer there were a lot more news and posts from other sources and the blog moved down the rankings a little, but it was at the top of page 1 when it was most needed.

As an extra bonus, because the title includes the right keywords and is a really useful article for Scottish retailers, it got picked up by the Scottish Grocer and they quoted it in their blog post on making the best of the bag charge. Result!

Choosing Keywords

If you’re not sure what your keywords should be, think about your customer. What are they searching for? How can your blog help them? Here’s a great article from HubSpot about ‘How to do Keyword Research’

2. Blog URL

Reinforce the keywords and phrases you’ve included in your page title by adding them into the blog’s URL too. It’s easy to forget this step as often a URL is auto-generated when you start drafting your blog, so you must remember to go back and change it before you publish!

Continuing from the Smartbags example above – here’s a screenshot showing the URL and the page title. Notice that they are repeated to improve keyword density.

Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

 3. Images

If you’re uploading images to your blog without editing the images data, then you need to change that immediately! All images should be optimized to reinforce your keywords and ensure that the search engines know what your images are about.

  • Alt Text/Tag:  This is the data the Search Engines use for indexing images so it’s important to provide this data.  Make sure you reinforce your keywords and the title of your blog in the Alt Text.
  • Image Name/Title: This is not needed for Google, but it’s useful for your visitors. It’s still worth getting some keywords in there too to reinforce what the article is about and should Google decide to start indexing this data in the future.
  • File Name: Before you upload your blog images, make sure the file name includes your keywords. If your image comes up in an image search, it will look much better in the results if the file name matches your keywords/phrases, rather than have a random file name like IMG12345.jpg.

4. Headers

It’s important to structure your blog in such a way that is easy for the Search Engines AND your visitors to read.

Google uses information found under the Heading 1, Heading 2 etc. sections to find out what your blog is about and rank the information in order of it’s importance. That way, they can return a relevant results page to their users.

This tactic also makes your blog easy for people to read in real-life. It gives your blog a clear structure, makes it easier to skim-read for the key points and also make it’s easier on the eye (and therefore to read on screen).

For an example of how this works, let’s look at how I’ve structured this blog:

  • Header 1: The Header 1 is ‘5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly.’ This reinforces the title & page URL and is the main topic of the blog
  • Header 2: Each of the numbered tips are formatted as a Header 2 (i.e – Blog Title, Blog URL, Images, Headers and Internal Links). Both Google and your readers can then easily see what the 5 tips are about. No need to wade through the text for this information, it can be seen clearly with a quick scroll down the page.  It reinforces what the important points of the blog are to both Google and your readers.
  • Header 3-6: I haven’t used any other headers in this blog, but you can continue up to Header 6 if you wish. That would depend on the length of the blog and the subject matter.

By ordering your blogs in this way you make it easier for Google to index them, improve how they appear in the search results, thereby increasing click-through rates.

 5. Internal Links

Where possible, try to link to other pages on your website. If your blog relates to another blog post on your site, link them. If you are trying to sell a service, link to that service page.

The purpose of this is to keep visitors on your site for longer. It’s also a way to show Google that you are authority on that particular subject and have more than one blog/page on that subject.

It’s such a simple step but worth doing. If you have no other blog posts or pages on that subject do some lateral thinking!

This is my first blog post about blogging, so I don’t have any others to link too. But I can link to my services page for my retainer service, Blogging The Easy Way and my Blogging Blast Package. That way, Google can see I have other pages about blogging and I also get the chance to let my blog readers know about my services.

So, there you have it – 5 ways to help make your blog more SEO-friendly and to help potential readers & customers to find you.  Get into the habit of following these tips and you should start to see results from your organic visits. 

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Need help with blogging for your business? Check out my Blogging the Easy Way package to help you save time & hassle and get your business blog running like clockwork.

 

 

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net