An author blog post without an image is like the first day of school without new sharpened pencils.
You just have to have them.
Images serve several purposes on blogs. First, they make each post much more attractive and readable. They draw the visitor’s eye to your content and, with long posts, break up the text so it’s less overwhelming.
In addition, they help your blog post get found by search engines when you have the right keywords in the image title and the “alt text.” The “alt text” option in WordPress gives you another opportunity to add the keywords to your image.
They also draw more attention to your post when you and others share links to your content on social media.
Your images won’t help if they aren’t top quality, though. And I say that knowing that the best-known stock photography sites charge more than the typical author wants to spend on blog post images.
Fortunately, several sites offer quality stock images for free. I only discovered them when my favorite paid image source, DollarPhotoClub.com, went out of business. I started researching affordable alternatives, fully intending to pay for access, when I stumbled upon several sources of top quality free images.
Why pay $100 or more a year when there are so many quality options that don’t charge?
Free stock image sources
Here are a few of the best free stock image sources. Use the search box on each site to search for the types of images you should be using in your blog posts (for example, I typed “books” into each search box). That will help you determine which site might be the best for your blogging and social media image needs.
Photographer Ryan McGuire adds new photos every week but with just one photographer, the selection is more limited than it is on other sites.
This free photo site has a particularly impressive selection of images for a wide range of topics. The home page alone inspires me to find and use more images.
I found Pexels.com when a service I write for recommended it as an image source. I like that it prompts me every once in awhile to donate to the photographers via PayPal. I’ve been using this site the most but I’m about to try Kaboompics next to see if there are more image options.
Photographer Viktor Hanasek lets you search his vast library of free images, opt for premium membership ,or even purchase the All in One Pack of every image from the site. An email subscription will get a selection of new photos sent to your inbox weekly.
When searching on this site, use the search box in the upper right of the screen. Don’t use the DepositPhotos.com search box if you want free images — that search box will take you to a paid image site.
Pixabay offers photos plus illustrations and videos, which makes it even more useful. You can also filter search results by type, color, category, size, and more.
With more than 50,000 free images, you’ll have plenty of options here. You can also subscribe to get an inspirational collection in your email each month.
While these free stock image sites offer all types of photos, you can also use a search engine to find sites that provide photos for specific niches that include food and travel.
4 tips for using images in your blog posts
These six sites will help you find exactly what you need for your blog. Before you start downloading images, though, make note of these tips for using them effectively. (These are the kinds of things nobody tells you when you start blogging.)
- Read this helpful guest post on this site, “How to pick the right images for your blog posts.“
- Check the rules on the image sites to make sure you understand the terms. For example, some might require you to provide source attribution.
- Resize the images. Big images cause pages to load slowly. You can resize in Microsoft Paint (a standard accessory on Windows computers) or with the tools at online sites that include BeFunky.com.
- Keep your author brand in mind when selecting and editing images. The mood evoked by images should match your website’s mood. And, when adding text, use colors that are compatible with your site colors.
Before you start adding quality images to your blog posts, check your Google Analytics account to see how many people are visiting your site. Check again a couple of months after you’ve started adding images. It’s quite likely that you’ll see an increase in traffic.
You will probably see a boost in your social media shares, as well.
What’s more, you might even enjoy the process of searching for — and finding! — just the right image for each post. I know I do.
What are you doing that’s working for your blog? Please tell us in a comment.
Tip of the Month
This month it’s the free “Build Book Buzz Book Marketing Plan Template” you can download and use immediately.
This easy-to-use fill-in-the-blanks template comes with complete instructions for filling it out. Available in PDF format, this document has everything you need to create your blueprint for book marketing success.
Plan ahead for your book’s success by downloading and using your free “Build Book Buzz Book Marketing Plan Template” immediately.
Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!