Keeping up a blog, at least on somewhat of a consistent basis, can be an incredible challenge. Coming up with ideas, maintaining brand voice, creating and curating engaging blog post photos, and hitting deadlines are just a few things to contend with when maintaining a blog.
Part of creating great blog content means laying it out in a way so that it’s easily read by visitors to your site and incorporating visuals where possible. But unless you’re relying on a compelling infographic to captivate your audience, it’s easy to forget to add several images to break out your content and improve the overall appeal of the post.
Knowing where to look for images will ultimately simplify your creation process, so here are a couple of ideas on how to get it done.
Find Inspiration Around You
Unless your industry is one of a lewd nature, you should always be thinking about how to use images of your world since your blog content will probably be of a related nature. We at Direct Online Marketing may love fantasy football, but it’s safe to say we don’t want to become a leading authority on fantasy football league strategies.
Smartphone cameras are only getting better, so unless you have the extra cash to drop on a decent photographer, your own business or office may be one of the best places to get your own stock photos. You probably don’t go very far without your mobile device, so always keep an open mind about how pictures around the office, industry events, or miscellaneous times around your team that can be incorporated into future blog posts. Chances are that these images will be more relevant than others since they’re pictures you actually took.
Get Friendly With Canva & Pablo
There are times when a good looking thumbnail preview image can be the difference between people clicking on your link or skimming on by when your blog post pops up in their social news feed. If you have an in-house designer that can whip up something custom like clockwork, then you’re ahead of most site owners. But you may not have a dedicated creative person on hand, which may lead you to believe that there’s no other choice than to rely on stock photos to act as your custom hero image. Fortunately, there’s a couple of free tools out there that allow you to do a whole lot with creating custom graphics.
First, there’s Canva, the best quick, free, and efficient alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator. This web application allows you to upload your own images, apply customized filters, and choose from a wide selection of engaging font types to lay over the image.
(For a little context, the graphic at the top of this blog post was made with Canva.)
With an option to upgrade to include your brand’s fonts, logos, and colors, Canva may be your go-to choice for graphics if you’re churning out content with high frequency.
The other free graphic creation tool is Pablo by Buffer, the highly popular social media management software. Pablo doesn’t have nearly as many tools as Canva, but it’s still a good alternative because of its simplicity to create interesting graphics.
Build up a Stockpile
Touching on an earlier point, you should always be thinking about building up a good base of stock photos. Whether it’s by taking pictures nonstop around the office or taking advantage of free photo compilations online, you should always have a good stockpile to fall back on when time is short and you need to publish something quick.
The best way to build up a stockpile is to take advantage of free packs of stock photos. Websites and other companies offer free stock photos all the time. Here are three of the best places to look for collections of royalty-free stock photos that you can download today:
Both Death to the Stock Photo and StockSnap.io are great places to find really exquisite stock photos, but Hubspot has hundreds of generic photos that have slightly broader utility. The first two have really good looking images but they may not be appropriate enough for your brand or blog topic. Sometimes, bland is a good thing when you’re just looking to build up your stockpile. On the other hand, signing up for Death to the Stock Photo’s email newsletter will send you new photo libraries every few weeks.
Image Sharing Sites & Paid Stock Photo Services
If you need a photo that none of your stockpiles will satisfy, there are tons of image sharing websites that you can take advantage of to find something a little more specific. Here are three image sharing sites that have great search features:
The image sharing platform once preferred by the entire community of reddit, Imgur has grown into one of the most popular platforms for sharing images. They’ve somehow created their own community despite efforts from reddit to phase them out as the default image sharing platform. This is typically the best place to find interesting, weird, or culture specific images. For example, Imgur probably has the best collection of memes on the web. These images are free, but to be on the safe side, make sure the original user is credited for the upload.
When it comes to free, searchable stock photos, Pixabay is one of the best places to go. An image aggregator from multiple stock photo sites, these are typically royalty-free and do not require attribution to the original source. Again, erring on the side of caution, try to credit if you’re unsure it’s OK to use in your content.
Purchased by Yahoo back in 2005, Flickr is an “OG” amongst image sharing sites. The upside of it having one of the largest image databases on the web outside of Google search is that the site is full of high-quality images from photographers of all skill and experience levels. With tons of options to search based on usage rights and image sizes, Flickr has a lot to offer. Be wary since many of the images will probably indicate 3rd party usage, so credit where credit is required.
Another free collection of images, GoodFreePhotos specializes in images of national/state parks, historic locations, and landmarks. They also have business, tech, animal, plant, and food photos as well. All photos are free to use for any purpose.
For those out there willing to spend just a little bit more on sourcing images, there are also tons of options to choose from. If you’re going to fork over the money for stock photos as opposed to finding free ones, try to stick to reliable sources like Getty Images.
Additional Resources – Attribution
Finding imagery is no simple task since you’ll always run the risk of using an image that you didn’t have authorization to use in the first place. It’s important to understand how to utilize creative commons licenses and crediting the image creators to avoid running into trouble. If you’re unsure about how to use creative commons attribution, here’s a fantastic infographic from Mashable to help out:
Additional Resources – Piktochart Infographics
Infographics are a fantastic way of communicating complex information in a visual and easily digestible form. Creating them requires a little bit of design know-how; consult a graphic designer if you need something custom. However, Piktochart is a fantastic online infographic template tool that can help make beautiful infographics in no time at all.
Take The Time To Make Your Content Look Great
After regular upkeep of a blog, you’ll have more challenges than just finding images to compliment your hard work. Finding images can be easy, just have the willingness and spend some time to go out and find those images.
If you find that you still need more inspiration, be sure to check out our digital marketing blog, where we are sure to apply all of our good advice!