Spruce Up Your Blog with Stock Photos
After updating the theme to my WordPress blog (see An Essential WordPress Plugin for Writers) I noticed that my new theme was picture intensive. With each new blog post I had the option to set a featured image that would show up in the blog feed as well as in the post itself. Of course, I didn't have to use this option and I could even turn this feature off, but then I began to realize the additional appeal my posts might have both on my blog and on social media if there was an image attached to the text.
In the past I had always been hesitant to use images in my blog posts for fear of copyright infringement. There seemed like ways around this:
1. Get Permission from the copyright holder.
This is often more difficult than it sounds. Assuming you can actually get a hold of the person he might not give permission, might charge you, or might not even be the original copyright holder and let's face it I'm not some major publication. I'm just writing a blog and am one person. I don't have time for this.
2. Credit the website where I'd gotten the image.
I did this a few times to assuage my guilt, but this isn't exactly the best way to go about things. Admittedly, borrowing is much more commonplace on the internet and a backlink to a person's webpage is helpful for SEO rankings, but this isn't necessarily legitimate.
3. Create the images myself.
To begin with this seemed like a great idea. I even bought a digital camera to assist me, but then I soon realized that I am not a photographer and despite having photoshop I am not a graphic designer either.
4. Cross my fingers and hope there weren't ramifications.
Sadly, more often than not, this was the option I went with. My blog garnered very little attention and it seemed the quickest if not the smartest option.
So, here I was again facing the same dilemmas with using images in my blog posts. All the same, I decided to update some of my older posts. The first one I tried was, Laziness -- Guilt-Free, so I did a google image search for, "lazy, relaxing," and found the perfect image.
It even looks a bit like me, don't you think?
Well, I'd found the perfect image for my post and figured I should do my due diligence for sourcing the picture, so I visited the webpage it belonged to. As it turns out it was a site for stock photos.
Finally, for a small fee I could include a picture in my post, guilt-free (pun intended). I decided to create an account. For this particular site you put money into your site account and get credits in exchange. I received 40 credits for the 38 dollar package I chose but like most pay sites the more money you throw into your account the better value you receive.
Every image I've purchased the use of has a website/blog license included in the purchase, meaning once I buy the use of it, I can use it on my blog and website as much as I want indefinitely. Also since I'm not using these images for high resolution printing reasons, the cheapest option is all I need, so every image I've gotten has only cost me one credit!
123RF has 44,364,489 royalty free stock photos and an excellent search engine to find that perfect photo for your blog post. I haven't had a problem finding a suitable photo for any blog post and now I have peace of mind when I supplement my writing with an image.
I know that stock photos are nothing new. I guess I just never realized how affordable of an option they could be. Also if you are like me, you might have reservations about spending money. You might think, I'm already writing all of these blog posts for free, why should I spend money, even a dollar on something that has no immediate return investment? I can only say that including images in your posts makes them more pleasing to people that peruse your blog. It also makes your links on Facebook and Twitter stand out. I am very happy with my purchase.
So do you use stock images in your blog posts? If so, what company do you use for your images? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.