Why Use Images in Blog Posts and Where to Find Them

by Linda Stacy May 10th, 2011 

While the text content is the most important component of a typical blog post, these days it's almost expected that posts will contain at least an image or two. Taking the time to select, place, and properly code your images will provide a better reader experience and add a little extra on-page SEO.

blog-post-images

Why use blog images?

Eye Candy
Appealing images can help dress up a post, attract readers' attention to the copy, and encourage them to stick around to read the post.

Headings
Images can be used to break up long blocks of text and act as headings that direct the eye to the main points.

Information
Graphics help illustrate a point and can provide or clarify data.

SEO
With the proper use of the alt tag and a keyword file name images can be optimized for search engines to add another on-page SEO element to your post.

Search
Images provide another avenue for being listed in search results. This Google Webmaster Tools article provides tips on getting your images returned in search results.

photographers

Where to Find Images to Use in Blog Posts

If you have the time and talent you can create your own blog post images. With a digital camera, a decent eye, and an image editor you can shoot and use your own photographs. Or how about drawing and scanning few images or using a computer graphing or drawing program to make illustrations to accompany your text? Screen shots are a very informative addition to how-to posts. Another option is to turn a blog of text or list of words into a graphic using a word cloud generating service like Wordle.net.

infographic

If like me, you lack the artistic ability to create your own blog images, you can use any of the free and inexpensive sources for quality photographs and artwork.

One of my favorite sources for free blog images is Flickr.com where a wide variety of images are made available through creative commons licenses. For an explanation of the different types of licenses and tips on searching Flickr for blog post images check out A Complete Guide to Finding and Using Incredible Flickr Images.

In Google images advanced search you can choose to search by image rights to find photographs that are available for personal and commercial reuse.

image-search

Other often recommended sources for free blog post images include FreeFoto.com and SXC.hu. You might also find images that are available because the copyright has expired, or that are in the public domain because they were created by a US federal government employee during the course of his or her work. And finally, if you come across a photograph that would be perfect for your post but isn't offered for reuse, contact the artist and ask permission to use it. You'll often get an enthusiastic yes response.

When using free image sources be sure to understand and comply with the licensing requirements. Often the terms of use require that you attribute the image to the artist and link back to the source.

If you don't find a suitable image through free sources, there are a number of affordable paid resources. istockPhoto.com is one of the more well-known sites, and my favorite resource for purchased images is Fotolia.com. Both offer pay-as-you-go and subscription services. Other paid sources include GettyImages.com, Veer.com, and 123rf.com.

The biggest problem I've have with using images in blog posts is that I tend to spend far too much time searching for that perfect photo, or sometimes I just get caught up in looking at great photographs. While it's beneficial to include images in your blog posts, don't let it consume too much of your time. I've now restricted myself to a specific time limit for finding the right image for a post, and when time is up I use what's good enough rather than continuing to search for perfection. And yes, it is still acceptable to make a text only blog post.

Whether they are your own or someone else's, including interesting photos and graphics in your blog posts can help attract and retain blog readers.

    "Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." –Walt Disney
Linda Stacy

Since 2002, Linda Stacy has been helping direct sales consultants market their opportunities online. She also writes about PLR sources.

LindaStacy.com

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15 Responses to “Why Use Images in Blog Posts and Where to Find Them”

  1. Eren Mckay says:

    I`ve been using images for quite a while now blogging and I didn`t know that we could use Google`s advanced search to find images by right to use. That is awesome. Also didn`t know about Freefoto.com.
    Excellent post!
    All the best,
    Eren

    • Linda Stacy says:

      I just recently found Google's advanced image search myself. And this morning I realized there's a "sort by subject" choice in the left hand column of the results page makes it a little quicker for me to find the right image. (It helps to look around a page from time to time LOL!)

  2. Paul says:

    Like Eren above I never thought about the advanced search in Google, nice tip.

    Ditto for Freefoto.com and for sxc.hu (who I see Getty Images now own).

    dreamstime.com are worth a look over too. As well as cheap high res images they have 190,000 free photos etc.

  3. Jane says:

    Finding a picture for the blog post was always a problem for me. I was thinking about shooting or making pictures in Photoshop, but it takes so much time. I never can find the right time to do it ;) .
    I use SXC.hu and I like it very much. You can find different categories and many high quality pictures. Of course it takes time to find the good one, but it's you choice – money or time. There is nothing free ;) . Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Linda Stacy says:

      Hi Jane. I've tried to use my own photos too. Problem is, I'm not a very good photographer. LOL! I keep saying I'm going to carry my camera in the car all the time, because more often than not I see great blog post photo ops when I don't have my camera with me.

  4. Linda, thank you for this very helpful blog. I too didn't know about Google's advanced search options. I have just about exhausted the entire Creative Commons photo library at Flickr.

    I value pictures in blogs, they definitely add to the message in the ways you listed, but finding the right ones has been a challenge. Thank you for providing these resources. I agree with you about searching endlessly for "just the right picture." The sense of satisfaction upon making that discovery is huge, which is why I spend too much time in that pursuit. I need to realize not every blog needs to have THE perfect picture, though it's hard to let go of that ideal.

  5. It seems images that are optimized (right click and edit image properties before uploading) rank higher in image searches. I wonder if it carries over to the page it appears on.

  6. [...] and where to find free and inexpensive images to add to your blog. Check it out and please comment. Why Use Images in Blog Posts and Where to Find Them. Newly released PLR articles and reports [...]

  7. Mark says:

    Hi Linda, I found this post via a tweet from Mr Dale. I just wanted to say many thanks for the advanced search in Google tip. This is a new one on me. Like you, I have limited ability behind the camera and even less with photo editing software.

    I'll be adding this to our list of tools for gathering images.

    Cheers

    Mark

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  10. jay says:

    I have been adding images to my blogs for a long time now.
    I agree photos attracts readers and makes reading the post not boring.
    Also some photos says it all :) , makes easier for commenting.

    I have mix photos on my blogs, some are my own shots others i get on the net, im careful where i get them though, always careful on copyrights.

    i have also recently learned to put keywords on my pics.

    thanks for this helpful post, im bookmarking this for later reading, will check on your other links.